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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. Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

20 Restaurants Perfect for a Solo Meal in NYC

One is never the loneliest number at these spots

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A lack of dining companions should never be an impediment to enjoying good food at any restaurant, anywhere in the city. The establishments on this list, however, are particularly well-suited toward solo diners, whether at the bar or at a table for one. From omakase menus to arepas, hot pots to dry-aged steaks, there’s something to fit every mood and budget. It’s a proper incentive to skip delivery and treat one very important person to a night out.

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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, including the chewy alcapurrias, tender pernil, starchy mofongo, crisp chicharrones, and bouncy, cilantro-laced blood sausages. 

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 sans company. 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.
A spicy dry pot.
Gary He/Eater

Teranga

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Thanks in part to the arrival of restaurants like Diana Tandia’s Berber Street Food and JJ Johnson’s FieldTrip, African cuisines have been getting some overdue limelight in recent years. For his restaurant, Teranga, in the Africa Center, Senegalese chef Pierre Thiam offers fast casual bowls that might include yassa chicken with caramelized onions, tomato-lace jollof rice, and roasted sweet plantains.

A yellow table has a white bowl with rice in it, while a hand lifts some with a fork.
A bowl from Teranga.
Cole Wilson [Official Photo]

Guantanamera

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At this proudly unhip Cuban restaurant in Midtown West, the mojitos are stiff, the band is loud, and the joint is popping on an average weeknight. Guantanamera, opened in 2005, is not the place for fussy craft cocktails — it is, however, very much the place for plates of vaca frita, shredded skirt steak tossed with tangy mojo, and textbook cubano sandwiches. Come early and talk to strangers.

A Cuban sandwich lies on a white plate on the left, while a plate of vaca frita lies on the right at Guantanamera
A Cubano sandwich and other dishes.
Nick Solares/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 designed by Raphael Gustavino 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.

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

Arepa Lady

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Former judge Maria Cano’s legendary Arepa Lady has been serving arepas in Queens ever since she fled bloodshed in Colombia more than three decades ago. After a developer razed her first brick-and-mortar restaurant, she opened a new one with her son Alejandro Osorio in Jackson Heights. Loaded with cheese, carne asada, and other toppings, these hearty arepas are definitely fork-and-knife food. There’s also a location in the Dekalb Market food hall in Brooklyn.

Sushi On Me

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This $89, cash-only omakase spot on the border of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst is an ideal solo diner spot because it guarantees you access to a one-hour, all-you-can-drink party. Servers refill your sake glasses the second they’re emptied, while chefs hand you piece after piece of chef Atip “Palm” Tangjantuk’s omakase nigiri. Particularly impressive is a slice of oily white tuna with chile garlic sauce. 

A row of patrons seated on one side of the sushi bar are show toasting and drinking sake with chefs, who are standing on the opposite side of the counter.
The bar at Sushi on Me.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Hawksmoor NYC

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One of the key features of this British steakhouse chain is the availability of appropriately-sized and moderately-priced cuts for solo diners. Consider the $28 rump, an impressively bronzed steak with a wonderful heft and subtle, dry-aged aromas. Or try the $26 lamb T-bones, juicy and mint-studded chops packed with mutton-y funk. Pair those cuts or the pricier ones with excellent sides — like beef fat fries or mashed potatoes and gravy — and don’t miss the excellent desserts, like the light and tart lemon meringue bomb. Keep in mind that Hawksmoor is also excellent as a standalone cocktail bar.

The charred rump steak sits on a white plate.
The rump steak at Hawksmoor.
Hawksmoor

Nami Nori

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Three Masa veterans are behind this temaki-focused West Village spot, which opened in 2019 to rave reviews. While an omakase experience at their previous employer’s restaurant costs a cool $650, handrolls here start at just $6 and spotlight top-notch seafood. At $28, the chef’s set of five is one of the best sushi deals in the city, though premium rolls with uni or tempura lobster can quickly drive up the price.

The empty interior of a restaurant with stools lined up against bars for eating
The dining room at Nami Nori.
Sebastian Lucrecio [Official]

MáLà Project

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Amelie Kang’s Sichuan dry-pot restaurants are ideal places for solo diners to sample scores of Chinese meats and vegetables in modestly-sized portions. Build your spicy, wok-fried bowls out of any number of ingredients, including spam, beef tongue, sliced lamb, crab sticks, tofu skin, wood ear mushrooms, and rice cakes.

Spicy peanuts and Milk Drink at MáLà Project
Spicy peanuts and a milk drink at MáLà Project.
Anthony Bui/Eater NY

Chez Ma Tante

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Made with crunchy romaine and Treviso showered with shaved Parmesan and anchovy-buttered bread crumbs, the Caesar salad at this Greenpoint French-Canadian bistro is what every other Caesar salad wants to be. The same could be said of the steak tartare, charcuterie, pancakes, and just about everything else on the menu. Chez Ma Tante has gotten increasingly popular since opening in 2018, but wait staff will still make solitary diners feel welcome through a leisurely dinner. In the winter months, the inside is a cozy, Quebecois-inspired haven, while the sidewalk tables under fairy lights are just right in summer.

Chez Ma Tante’s spare dining room with dark wood tables and bar
The dining room at Chez Ma Tante.
Stephen Yang/Eater NY

Sushi on Jones

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Omakase dinners free from deep-pocketed sushi bros and under $100 are becoming a rarity these days. That’s why the timed 45-minute menu at Sushi on Jones is so refreshing. Owner Derek Feldman opened the small al fresco space in the Bowery Market food court in 2016 and has since expanded to the West Village and Hell’s Kitchen. At all locations, diners can dig into 12 pieces of high-quality seafood or Wagyu beef nigiri for $58.

Sushi on Jones’s exterior has big windows, showing people inside.
Sushi on Jones.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Ho Foods

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Few things are more soul-soothing than a bowl of 24-hour-simmered, marrow-slicked bone broth swimming with toothsome noodles and braised beef shanks. There used to be little else on the menu at Ho Foods, and that was fine because you didn’t need much else with Taiwanese beef noodles this good, but the tiny restaurant now also offers zha jiang noodles, sesame noodles, pork chops with rice, wonderfully fatty lu rou fan, and Taiwanese breakfast on the weekends. Snagging more than one of the 10 seats at peak times can be a challenge, making this ideal for an unaccompanied diner. Ho Foods also offers takeout.

Beef noodles soup, with noodles artfully wrapped around chopsticks, from Ho Foods
Noodle Soup at Ho Foods.
Dan Ahn via Ho Foods [Official Photo]

Trapizzino

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Although the New York slice is arguably the perfect meal for one, these trapizzini make for a welcome change of pace. Pizzaiolo Stefano Callegari invented the street snack in Rome in 2008, then brought it to the Lower East Side at Trapizzino in 2017. In lieu of a thin crust pie with roni cups, picture an airy sourdough pizza bianca made with stuffed oxtail ragú and other homey Roman recipes.

A trapizzino stuffed with eggplant
A trapizzino stuffed with eggplant.
Nitzan Rubin

Cocoron

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Husband-and-wife duo Mika Ohie and Yoshihito Kida preside over several Japanese restaurants in New York, including Shabushabu Macoron. Cocoron, opened in 2011, remains a jewel in their small Manhattan empire. The earthy, ethereal soba noodles here are rolled out in-house daily and make for extremely enjoyable slurping at one of the communal tables. Served in a sesame broth with minced chicken, the signature mera mera soba is next-level comfort food.

A tray with soup and soba noodles
A tray with soup and soba noodles.
Cocoron [Official Photo]

Cervo's

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Seating is in short supply at this popular Iberian tapas joint, which the team behind Hart’s and the Fly opened in 2017. For larger groups, reservations at Cervo’s are essential, but single diners can often sidle right up to the bar for natural wines and seafood-centric small plates like Manila clams in vinho verde. Diners looking for a more substantial main course should opt for the grass-fed lamb burger or bomba rice with rock shrimp and bottarga.

Clams with vinho verde sit on a white plate next to  large, head-on shrimp on a separate plate in this overhead shot.
Clams with vinho verde.
Cervo’s [Official Photo]

St. Anselm

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Dinner at Keen’s, Peter Luger, or any of New York’s old-school steakhouses is a ritualistic affair. For those who just want a really great steak without the fuss, St. Anselm, opened in 2011 by Joe Carroll, is the way to go. The best seats in the house are by the open kitchen, and at $29, the butcher’s steak is better than most cuts of meat double the price. It needs no accompaniment, but those looking to gild the lily should order the pan-fried mashed potatoes and spinach gratin.

The wood-paneled dining room at St. Anselm sits empty.
The dining room at St. Anselm.
St. Anselm [Official]

Christopher Reyes and Gerardo Alcaraz have given New York one of its best and most ambitious Mexican restaurants since Cosme debuted in 2014. It’s also a great place for solo diners to enjoy the party-like atmosphere in the after hours; expect a late-night DJ at times and a well-dressed crowd ready to sip good mezcal. Menu highlights include stellar al pastor tacos made with pineapple-serrano gel, carrot-daikon tostadas laced with zippy levels of acidity, and a stellar vegan mole negro that you mop up with aromatic corn tortillas.

Black mole on a ceramic plate sits in the middle of the overhead shot; assorted other issues include an al pastor taco and a colorful tostada surround it
The vegan black mole at Aldama.
Gary He/Eater NY

Win Son Bakery

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Making the most of a visit to Win Son means sharing a truly excessive number of dishes family-style around a lazy Susan. Luckily for diners who don’t want to wait to assemble a group, the same crew opened Win Son Bakery right across the street in 2019. Umami-loaded Taiwanese-American dishes like a pillowy milk bun stuffed with fried calamari and lemon aioli make for a satisfying, self-contained meal. At breakfast, be sure to end with a chewy millet mochi doughnut or one of the other sweets.

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

Opened in 2017 by L’Artusi alumni restaurateur and sommelier Joe Campanale and chef Erin Shambura, Fausto ranks among Brooklyn’s finest Italian restaurants. Pastas like orecchiette with bitter greens and pork aim for simplicity and highlight stellar produce from Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket. Sit at the bar and allow the knowledgable staff be a guide through the thoughtfully chosen menu of French and Italian wines.

A straight-on view of tables set with wine glasses and wicker chairs
The dining room at Fausto.
Amber-Lynn Taber/Eater NY

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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, including the chewy alcapurrias, tender pernil, starchy mofongo, crisp chicharrones, and bouncy, cilantro-laced blood sausages. 

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 sans company. 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.
A spicy dry pot.
Gary He/Eater

Teranga

Thanks in part to the arrival of restaurants like Diana Tandia’s Berber Street Food and JJ Johnson’s FieldTrip, African cuisines have been getting some overdue limelight in recent years. For his restaurant, Teranga, in the Africa Center, Senegalese chef Pierre Thiam offers fast casual bowls that might include yassa chicken with caramelized onions, tomato-lace jollof rice, and roasted sweet plantains.

A yellow table has a white bowl with rice in it, while a hand lifts some with a fork.
A bowl from Teranga.
Cole Wilson [Official Photo]

Guantanamera

At this proudly unhip Cuban restaurant in Midtown West, the mojitos are stiff, the band is loud, and the joint is popping on an average weeknight. Guantanamera, opened in 2005, is not the place for fussy craft cocktails — it is, however, very much the place for plates of vaca frita, shredded skirt steak tossed with tangy mojo, and textbook cubano sandwiches. Come early and talk to strangers.

A Cuban sandwich lies on a white plate on the left, while a plate of vaca frita lies on the right at Guantanamera
A Cubano sandwich and other dishes.
Nick Solares/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 designed by Raphael Gustavino 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.

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

Arepa Lady

Former judge Maria Cano’s legendary Arepa Lady has been serving arepas in Queens ever since she fled bloodshed in Colombia more than three decades ago. After a developer razed her first brick-and-mortar restaurant, she opened a new one with her son Alejandro Osorio in Jackson Heights. Loaded with cheese, carne asada, and other toppings, these hearty arepas are definitely fork-and-knife food. There’s also a location in the Dekalb Market food hall in Brooklyn.

Sushi On Me

This $89, cash-only omakase spot on the border of Jackson Heights and Elmhurst is an ideal solo diner spot because it guarantees you access to a one-hour, all-you-can-drink party. Servers refill your sake glasses the second they’re emptied, while chefs hand you piece after piece of chef Atip “Palm” Tangjantuk’s omakase nigiri. Particularly impressive is a slice of oily white tuna with chile garlic sauce. 

A row of patrons seated on one side of the sushi bar are show toasting and drinking sake with chefs, who are standing on the opposite side of the counter.
The bar at Sushi on Me.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Hawksmoor NYC

One of the key features of this British steakhouse chain is the availability of appropriately-sized and moderately-priced cuts for solo diners. Consider the $28 rump, an impressively bronzed steak with a wonderful heft and subtle, dry-aged aromas. Or try the $26 lamb T-bones, juicy and mint-studded chops packed with mutton-y funk. Pair those cuts or the pricier ones with excellent sides — like beef fat fries or mashed potatoes and gravy — and don’t miss the excellent desserts, like the light and tart lemon meringue bomb. Keep in mind that Hawksmoor is also excellent as a standalone cocktail bar.

The charred rump steak sits on a white plate.
The rump steak at Hawksmoor.
Hawksmoor

Nami Nori

Three Masa veterans are behind this temaki-focused West Village spot, which opened in 2019 to rave reviews. While an omakase experience at their previous employer’s restaurant costs a cool $650, handrolls here start at just $6 and spotlight top-notch seafood. At $28, the chef’s set of five is one of the best sushi deals in the city, though premium rolls with uni or tempura lobster can quickly drive up the price.

The empty interior of a restaurant with stools lined up against bars for eating
The dining room at Nami Nori.
Sebastian Lucrecio [Official]

MáLà Project

Amelie Kang’s Sichuan dry-pot restaurants are ideal places for solo diners to sample scores of Chinese meats and vegetables in modestly-sized portions. Build your spicy, wok-fried bowls out of any number of ingredients, including spam, beef tongue, sliced lamb, crab sticks, tofu skin, wood ear mushrooms, and rice cakes.

Spicy peanuts and Milk Drink at MáLà Project
Spicy peanuts and a milk drink at MáLà Project.
Anthony Bui/Eater NY

Chez Ma Tante

Made with crunchy romaine and Treviso showered with shaved Parmesan and anchovy-buttered bread crumbs, the Caesar salad at this Greenpoint French-Canadian bistro is what every other Caesar salad wants to be. The same could be said of the steak tartare, charcuterie, pancakes, and just about everything else on the menu. Chez Ma Tante has gotten increasingly popular since opening in 2018, but wait staff will still make solitary diners feel welcome through a leisurely dinner. In the winter months, the inside is a cozy, Quebecois-inspired haven, while the sidewalk tables under fairy lights are just right in summer.

Chez Ma Tante’s spare dining room with dark wood tables and bar
The dining room at Chez Ma Tante.
Stephen Yang/Eater NY

Sushi on Jones

Omakase dinners free from deep-pocketed sushi bros and under $100 are becoming a rarity these days. That’s why the timed 45-minute menu at Sushi on Jones is so refreshing. Owner Derek Feldman opened the small al fresco space in the Bowery Market food court in 2016 and has since expanded to the West Village and Hell’s Kitchen. At all locations, diners can dig into 12 pieces of high-quality seafood or Wagyu beef nigiri for $58.

Sushi on Jones’s exterior has big windows, showing people inside.
Sushi on Jones.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Ho Foods

Few things are more soul-soothing than a bowl of 24-hour-simmered, marrow-slicked bone broth swimming with toothsome noodles and braised beef shanks. There used to be little else on the menu at Ho Foods, and that was fine because you didn’t need much else with Taiwanese beef noodles this good, but the tiny restaurant now also offers zha jiang noodles, sesame noodles, pork chops with rice, wonderfully fatty lu rou fan, and Taiwanese breakfast on the weekends. Snagging more than one of the 10 seats at peak times can be a challenge, making this ideal for an unaccompanied diner. Ho Foods also offers takeout.

Beef noodles soup, with noodles artfully wrapped around chopsticks, from Ho Foods
Noodle Soup at Ho Foods.
Dan Ahn via Ho Foods [Official Photo]

Trapizzino

Although the New York slice is arguably the perfect meal for one, these trapizzini make for a welcome change of pace. Pizzaiolo Stefano Callegari invented the street snack in Rome in 2008, then brought it to the Lower East Side at Trapizzino in 2017. In lieu of a thin crust pie with roni cups, picture an airy sourdough pizza bianca made with stuffed oxtail ragú and other homey Roman recipes.

A trapizzino stuffed with eggplant
A trapizzino stuffed with eggplant.
Nitzan Rubin

Cocoron

Husband-and-wife duo Mika Ohie and Yoshihito Kida preside over several Japanese restaurants in New York, including Shabushabu Macoron. Cocoron, opened in 2011, remains a jewel in their small Manhattan empire. The earthy, ethereal soba noodles here are rolled out in-house daily and make for extremely enjoyable slurping at one of the communal tables. Served in a sesame broth with minced chicken, the signature mera mera soba is next-level comfort food.

A tray with soup and soba noodles
A tray with soup and soba noodles.
Cocoron [Official Photo]

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Cervo's

Seating is in short supply at this popular Iberian tapas joint, which the team behind Hart’s and the Fly opened in 2017. For larger groups, reservations at Cervo’s are essential, but single diners can often sidle right up to the bar for natural wines and seafood-centric small plates like Manila clams in vinho verde. Diners looking for a more substantial main course should opt for the grass-fed lamb burger or bomba rice with rock shrimp and bottarga.

Clams with vinho verde sit on a white plate next to  large, head-on shrimp on a separate plate in this overhead shot.
Clams with vinho verde.
Cervo’s [Official Photo]

St. Anselm

Dinner at Keen’s, Peter Luger, or any of New York’s old-school steakhouses is a ritualistic affair. For those who just want a really great steak without the fuss, St. Anselm, opened in 2011 by Joe Carroll, is the way to go. The best seats in the house are by the open kitchen, and at $29, the butcher’s steak is better than most cuts of meat double the price. It needs no accompaniment, but those looking to gild the lily should order the pan-fried mashed potatoes and spinach gratin.

The wood-paneled dining room at St. Anselm sits empty.
The dining room at St. Anselm.
St. Anselm [Official]

Aldama

Christopher Reyes and Gerardo Alcaraz have given New York one of its best and most ambitious Mexican restaurants since Cosme debuted in 2014. It’s also a great place for solo diners to enjoy the party-like atmosphere in the after hours; expect a late-night DJ at times and a well-dressed crowd ready to sip good mezcal. Menu highlights include stellar al pastor tacos made with pineapple-serrano gel, carrot-daikon tostadas laced with zippy levels of acidity, and a stellar vegan mole negro that you mop up with aromatic corn tortillas.