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Rotisserie chicken with white rice, tostones, chopped pieces of chicharron Dominicano, and a white morir soñando drink are photographed overhead on a white tabletop.
Chicken and sides at 188 Bakery Cuchifritos. The Caribbean lunch counter is a nice option for a quick meal alone.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

The Best Places to Eat Alone in NYC

One is never the loneliest number at these restaurants

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Chicken and sides at 188 Bakery Cuchifritos. The Caribbean lunch counter is a nice option for a quick meal alone.
| Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Dining out alone is not a lonely activity: If done right it can be one of the most luxurious ways to experience New York. The right spot is about more than food, though. The restaurants on this list meet certain criteria: a dining room or counter, where you can slip right in; other solo diners; and portions fit for an individual, not a group.

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188 Bakery Cuchifritos

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Jose Coto’s Caribbean lunch counter remains a fantastically porky establishment for a quick, affordable bite in Fordham Heights. Literally order anything: the chewy alcapurrias, tender pernil, starchy mofongo, crisp chicharrones, or bouncy blood sausages with cilantro. 

Nuggets of chicharron Dominicano sit next to yucca on a white plate with pickles
Nuggets of chicharron Dominicano.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

108 Food Dried Hot Pot

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A bubbling cauldron of Sichuan hot pot is a communal affair, but the dry hot pots at this Upper West Side restaurant are an incendiary pleasure that can be enjoyed alone. Join the throngs of Columbia students at 108 Food Dried Hot Pot in the evening and compose a bowl from 50 different ingredients. Chicken gizzards, tofu skins, squid, fish balls, and cabbage all are equally tasty when doused in the custom blend of oil tinted scarlet from dried chiles and medicinal herbs.

A bamboo bowl is filled with spicy dry pot.
Dry pot at 108 Food Dried Hot Pot.
Gary He/Eater NY

8090 Taiwan Cuisine at New York Food Court

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At this under-the-radar food court, find around two dozen stalls, mostly Chinese and Taiwanese businesses whose prices are affordable and whose menus are only sometimes translated into English. 8090 Taiwan, specializing in grilled meats, is one of the best options for solo diners. Its most popular item, a Taiwan-style steak, is drenched in black pepper sauce and served over noodles with corn kernels, eggs, and a salad on the side. It’s a full meal.

A brightly lit food hall with stalls on either side and tables in the middle.
8090 Taiwan is one of two dozen stalls in the New York Food Court.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant

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A fixture in the dining scene since 1913, the Grand Central Oyster Bar is one of those rare New York tourist institutions that merits multiple visits. The people-watching in the grand, vaulted dining room is great, as is the classic oyster pan roast. The recipe for the creamy dish with six Blue Point oysters hasn’t changed over the last century. It’s worth arriving well before your train to savor a plate with a strong martini. Note: the business is currently closed on Saturday and Sunday.

Grand Central Oyster Bar’s dining room with high ceiling arches
Grand Central Oyster Bar’s dining room.
Eater NY

The 40-foot counter at S&P Lunch makes it an ideal option for a meal alone. Pull up a chair, where customers dine elbow-to-elbow alone and in pairs, and pick from an old-school menu with affordable pastrami, egg creams, and peanut butter and bacon sandwiches. The restaurant is surprisingly affordable for the area.

A hairy hand passes a plate with a ham and cheese sandwich on white bread.
A sandwich at S&P.
Melanie Landsman/Eater NY

Lou Yau Kee Chicken Rice

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A food hall is one of the best places you can eat alone: Almost everyone is dining solo, and those who aren’t (colleagues or classmates) probably wish that they were. Lou Yau Kee, which specializes in Hainan chicken rice, is one of the best options at the Urbanspace food hall in Union Square. A large portion of poached chicken over rice costs about $15.

An overhead photograph of a white tray of poached chicken with greens and cucumber.
The poached chicken at Lou Yau Kee.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

What started as an ice cream pop-up in the pandemic has blossomed into a boozy ice cream bar with plenty of savory snacks. Given that most of the seats in this tiny spot are bar stools, it’s best as a decadent solo afternoon snack: order one of Caleta’s small plates, like its chicken liver mousse, with a glass of wine. Finish the meal off with one of its rotating flavors of Bad Habit’s ice cream sundae. It’s an order-at-the-counter situation, so nothing about it feels fussy.

Orange mussel toast.
Mussel toast at Caleta in the East Village.
Adam Friedlander/Eater NY

Ho Foods

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Few things are more comforting than a bowl of slow-cooked, marrow-slicked bone broth with chewy noodles and braised beef. There used to be little else on the menu at Ho Foods, and that was fine because you didn’t need much more than Taiwanese beef noodles this good, but the small restaurant now has zha jiang noodles, sesame noodles, pork chops with rice, lu rou fan, and Taiwanese breakfast on weekends. Getting more than one of the 10 seats at peak times can be a challenge, making this ideal for an unaccompanied diner.

Beef noodles soup, with noodles artfully wrapped around chopsticks, from Ho Foods
The beef noodle Soup at Ho Foods.
Dan Ahn/Ho Foods

Dashi Okume

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Dashi Okume, a dashi shop and grilled fish counter, is one of several Japanese businesses that operate out of the building at 50 Norman Avenue in Greenpoint. Salmon, mackerel, and other fish are imported from Japan’s Toyosu Fish Market and then grilled as part of set meals that come with miso soup, rice, and seasonal sides. There are only three tables, with more seats at a counter, but the restaurant feels lively thanks to customers milling about at other businesses in the space.

A grilled salmon set with soup, rice, tea, and sides.
The grilled salmon set at Dashi Okume.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Cocoron

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Husband-and-wife duo Mika Ohie and Yoshihito Kida have owned several Japanese restaurants in New York, including Shabushabu Macoron. Cocoron, which opened in 2011, remains a jewel in their small Manhattan constellation of businesses. The earthy, ethereal soba noodles here are rolled out in-house daily and make for extremely enjoyable slurping at one of the communal tables. The recently opened Cocoron Market over on Delancey offers takeout and has only eight seats — friendly to solo visitors.

A tray with soup and soba noodles
Soba noodles at Cocoron.
Cocoron

Davelle

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Equal parts coffee shop and cafe, Davelle opened in 2018, from the owner of Chinatown hotspot Dr. Clark. The space is quite small and casual, good for hanging out with a book, over black sesame cream cheese checkerboard toasts or chicken katsu curry. The team also runs a takeout spot next door.

Curry rice at Davelle on the Lower East Side.
The curry rice at Davelle.
Davelle

Shu Jiao Fu Zhou

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Shu Jiao Fu Zhou, in Manhattan’s Chinatown, is a solid option for a quick meal alone. Around dinner time, the dining room at this counter-service restaurant is usually full, with many customers sitting alone, or sharing larger tables with other solo diners. The restaurant’s most popular dish is an order of peanut noodles heaped onto a plastic plate; it costs just a few dollars.

An adult and a child enter a restaurant, Shu Jiao Fu Zhou, in Manhattan’s Chinatown at night.
Shu Jiao Fu Zhou is known for its peanut noodles.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Ichiran

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When Ichiran opened in Bushwick in 2016, it attracted hundreds of customers who waited in lines for its ramen, designed specifically for solo diners. The hype has died down, making it easy to grab a seat, but the experience remains largely the same. Sit at one of the sectioned-off booths designed for individuals to slurp on noodles alone, where orders are written down and sent to the kitchen via a button.

Win Son Bakery

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Making the most of a visit to Win Son means sharing an excessive number of dishes family-style around a lazy Susan. But when dining alone, head across the street — where the same team opened an all-day restaurant and bar in 2019. Order at the counter, then find a seat in the dining room, where customers sip cocktails and work on laptops side by side. Taiwanese American dishes like mochi doughnuts, fried chicken, and scallion pancakes have kept this restaurant sequel popular years after opening.

Assorted pastries, including mochi doughnuts and bright yellow custard toast, on two stainless steel trays alongside a cup of coffee, at Win Son Bakery
Pastries at Win Son bakery.
Gary He/Eater NY

With just a few counter seats and some outdoor tables, Syko is really more of a takeout restaurant. But squeeze in alone and saddle up for one of South Brooklyn’s most creative menus. Syrian and Korean flavors, reflective of the owners’ roots, are harmonious here. Don’t sleep on the “Fat Boy,” a burrito stuffed with bulgogi; if weather permits, it’s really best eaten alone — so no one can see it drip down your chin — in Prospect Park, a block away.

A person wearing a red sweater clutches a burrito overflowing with bulgogi.
The “fat boy”: a burrito with bulgogi.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

188 Bakery Cuchifritos

Jose Coto’s Caribbean lunch counter remains a fantastically porky establishment for a quick, affordable bite in Fordham Heights. Literally order anything: the chewy alcapurrias, tender pernil, starchy mofongo, crisp chicharrones, or bouncy blood sausages with cilantro. 

Nuggets of chicharron Dominicano sit next to yucca on a white plate with pickles
Nuggets of chicharron Dominicano.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

108 Food Dried Hot Pot

A bubbling cauldron of Sichuan hot pot is a communal affair, but the dry hot pots at this Upper West Side restaurant are an incendiary pleasure that can be enjoyed alone. Join the throngs of Columbia students at 108 Food Dried Hot Pot in the evening and compose a bowl from 50 different ingredients. Chicken gizzards, tofu skins, squid, fish balls, and cabbage all are equally tasty when doused in the custom blend of oil tinted scarlet from dried chiles and medicinal herbs.

A bamboo bowl is filled with spicy dry pot.
Dry pot at 108 Food Dried Hot Pot.
Gary He/Eater NY

8090 Taiwan Cuisine at New York Food Court

At this under-the-radar food court, find around two dozen stalls, mostly Chinese and Taiwanese businesses whose prices are affordable and whose menus are only sometimes translated into English. 8090 Taiwan, specializing in grilled meats, is one of the best options for solo diners. Its most popular item, a Taiwan-style steak, is drenched in black pepper sauce and served over noodles with corn kernels, eggs, and a salad on the side. It’s a full meal.

A brightly lit food hall with stalls on either side and tables in the middle.
8090 Taiwan is one of two dozen stalls in the New York Food Court.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant

A fixture in the dining scene since 1913, the Grand Central Oyster Bar is one of those rare New York tourist institutions that merits multiple visits. The people-watching in the grand, vaulted dining room is great, as is the classic oyster pan roast. The recipe for the creamy dish with six Blue Point oysters hasn’t changed over the last century. It’s worth arriving well before your train to savor a plate with a strong martini. Note: the business is currently closed on Saturday and Sunday.

Grand Central Oyster Bar’s dining room with high ceiling arches
Grand Central Oyster Bar’s dining room.
Eater NY

S&P

The 40-foot counter at S&P Lunch makes it an ideal option for a meal alone. Pull up a chair, where customers dine elbow-to-elbow alone and in pairs, and pick from an old-school menu with affordable pastrami, egg creams, and peanut butter and bacon sandwiches. The restaurant is surprisingly affordable for the area.

A hairy hand passes a plate with a ham and cheese sandwich on white bread.
A sandwich at S&P.
Melanie Landsman/Eater NY

Lou Yau Kee Chicken Rice

A food hall is one of the best places you can eat alone: Almost everyone is dining solo, and those who aren’t (colleagues or classmates) probably wish that they were. Lou Yau Kee, which specializes in Hainan chicken rice, is one of the best options at the Urbanspace food hall in Union Square. A large portion of poached chicken over rice costs about $15.

An overhead photograph of a white tray of poached chicken with greens and cucumber.
The poached chicken at Lou Yau Kee.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Caleta

What started as an ice cream pop-up in the pandemic has blossomed into a boozy ice cream bar with plenty of savory snacks. Given that most of the seats in this tiny spot are bar stools, it’s best as a decadent solo afternoon snack: order one of Caleta’s small plates, like its chicken liver mousse, with a glass of wine. Finish the meal off with one of its rotating flavors of Bad Habit’s ice cream sundae. It’s an order-at-the-counter situation, so nothing about it feels fussy.

Orange mussel toast.
Mussel toast at Caleta in the East Village.
Adam Friedlander/Eater NY

Ho Foods

Few things are more comforting than a bowl of slow-cooked, marrow-slicked bone broth with chewy noodles and braised beef. There used to be little else on the menu at Ho Foods, and that was fine because you didn’t need much more than Taiwanese beef noodles this good, but the small restaurant now has zha jiang noodles, sesame noodles, pork chops with rice, lu rou fan, and Taiwanese breakfast on weekends. Getting more than one of the 10 seats at peak times can be a challenge, making this ideal for an unaccompanied diner.

Beef noodles soup, with noodles artfully wrapped around chopsticks, from Ho Foods
The beef noodle Soup at Ho Foods.
Dan Ahn/Ho Foods

Dashi Okume

Dashi Okume, a dashi shop and grilled fish counter, is one of several Japanese businesses that operate out of the building at 50 Norman Avenue in Greenpoint. Salmon, mackerel, and other fish are imported from Japan’s Toyosu Fish Market and then grilled as part of set meals that come with miso soup, rice, and seasonal sides. There are only three tables, with more seats at a counter, but the restaurant feels lively thanks to customers milling about at other businesses in the space.

A grilled salmon set with soup, rice, tea, and sides.
The grilled salmon set at Dashi Okume.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Cocoron

Husband-and-wife duo Mika Ohie and Yoshihito Kida have owned several Japanese restaurants in New York, including Shabushabu Macoron. Cocoron, which opened in 2011, remains a jewel in their small Manhattan constellation of businesses. The earthy, ethereal soba noodles here are rolled out in-house daily and make for extremely enjoyable slurping at one of the communal tables. The recently opened Cocoron Market over on Delancey offers takeout and has only eight seats — friendly to solo visitors.

A tray with soup and soba noodles
Soba noodles at Cocoron.
Cocoron

Davelle

Equal parts coffee shop and cafe, Davelle opened in 2018, from the owner of Chinatown hotspot Dr. Clark. The space is quite small and casual, good for hanging out with a book, over black sesame cream cheese checkerboard toasts or chicken katsu curry. The team also runs a takeout spot next door.

Curry rice at Davelle on the Lower East Side.
The curry rice at Davelle.
Davelle

Shu Jiao Fu Zhou

Shu Jiao Fu Zhou, in Manhattan’s Chinatown, is a solid option for a quick meal alone. Around dinner time, the dining room at this counter-service restaurant is usually full, with many customers sitting alone, or sharing larger tables with other solo diners. The restaurant’s most popular dish is an order of peanut noodles heaped onto a plastic plate; it costs just a few dollars.

An adult and a child enter a restaurant, Shu Jiao Fu Zhou, in Manhattan’s Chinatown at night.
Shu Jiao Fu Zhou is known for its peanut noodles.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Ichiran

When Ichiran opened in Bushwick in 2016, it attracted hundreds of customers who waited in lines for its ramen, designed specifically for solo diners. The hype has died down, making it easy to grab a seat, but the experience remains largely the same. Sit at one of the sectioned-off booths designed for individuals to slurp on noodles alone, where orders are written down and sent to the kitchen via a button.

Win Son Bakery

Making the most of a visit to Win Son means sharing an excessive number of dishes family-style around a lazy Susan. But when dining alone, head across the street — where the same team opened an all-day restaurant and bar in 2019. Order at the counter, then find a seat in the dining room, where customers sip cocktails and work on laptops side by side. Taiwanese American dishes like mochi doughnuts, fried chicken, and scallion pancakes have kept this restaurant sequel popular years after opening.

Assorted pastries, including mochi doughnuts and bright yellow custard toast, on two stainless steel trays alongside a cup of coffee, at Win Son Bakery
Pastries at Win Son bakery.
Gary He/Eater NY

SYKO

With just a few counter seats and some outdoor tables, Syko is really more of a takeout restaurant. But squeeze in alone and saddle up for one of South Brooklyn’s most creative menus. Syrian and Korean flavors, reflective of the owners’ roots, are harmonious here. Don’t sleep on the “Fat Boy,” a burrito stuffed with bulgogi; if weather permits, it’s really best eaten alone — so no one can see it drip down your chin — in Prospect Park, a block away.

A person wearing a red sweater clutches a burrito overflowing with bulgogi.
The “fat boy”: a burrito with bulgogi.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

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