If you’d have told me two years back that one of my favourite things to do by myself is to take myself out on a date day, I’d have laughed at you. And yet here I am expressing my love for the humble, selfless days out by nobody but me, myself and I.
The thought of venturing out on a ‘me’ date is fine until the clock strikes lunchtime or dinnertime and you’re on the search for somewhere to dine in. Anxieties can run wild, it’s nerve-wracking, awkward but also a whole lot of fun! No longer do you have to share your favourite dish or mix and match on dishes you wouldn’t even think about going near if you were ordering for yourself.
Thankfully living in London, dining alone has never been easier, so challenge yourself to a date night with yourself and explore our favourite spots for solo dining in London.
If you’re itching to get your Japanese fix but don’t want to fork out silly bucks while dining alone, Soho hotspot ROBATA is the place to head for a no-fuss Japanese experience that’s affordable but doesn’t skimp on delivering big flavours.
Named after the ancient Japanese technique of grill charcoal cooking, ROBATA is the perfect izakaya-style restaurant that has quickly become renowned for its sake-based cocktails, robata plates and small tapas-style dishes. Dine alone and you won’t have to share their delicious bites. We’d recommend choosing a few plates to really soak up the full effect and powerful flavour punches.
56 Old Compton Street, Soho W1D 4UE
Grabbing yourself a table at London’s favourite pasta restaurant, Padella, is near impossible. Even post-lockdown we’re expecting Padella to have queues upon queues of hungry guests lining up outside, all socially distanced of course.
One good way of beating the queue is dining alone because there’s almost always a way that Padella will be able to squeeze you in first, or at least before that table of six comes waltzing through the doors. Order yourself a big ol’ bowl of their infamous pici cacio and pepe, and people watch the afternoon by.
6 Southwark Street, Borough Market SE1 1TQ | 1 Phipp Street, Shoreditch EC2A 4PS
Another day, another pasta restaurant. This time we’re headed to Lina Stores for an afternoon of fine food, authentic flavours and aesthetically pleasing interiors.
It’s no secret that London has fallen in love with Lina Stores’ story since arriving way back in 1944, and years later we’re all still intoxicated with their authenticity and charm. When their Soho and King’s Cross restaurants reopen again, you’ll sure know we’ll be dining their solo without feeling awkward or uncomfortable. You’ll find us tucking into their polpette de melanzane (aubergine polpette with San Marzano tomato) and slurping up their 30-egg tagliolini with vacca brunca, butter and black truffle. Indulgent and delicious.
51 Greek Street, Soho W1D 4EH | 20 Stable Street, King’s Cross N1C 4DR
Despite only opening last year, vegetarian health focused restaurant, Atis has become the go-to spot for many busy workers for a quick grab-and-go lunch break or a post-work no fuss catch up dinner.
Choose your salad bowl of choice (we’d recommend their new summer range. The ‘mezze me crazy’ is divine) and settle in for an hour of delicious food and watching the world go by at one of their little window seats.
The menu is entirely vegetarian, with all of the bowls able to be made plant based too. Plus, they’ve got the only healthy fizzy drink we’re interested in, kombucha, on tap.
145 City Road, Old Street EC1V 1AZ
Explore the best of Japanese cuisine when you take a stroll through the Japan Centre Ichiba. The London branch brings you the best local and artisan supplies from across Japan and brings these authentic flavours to our London doorstep.
From soba noodles to pretty poke bowls, fresh sushi to wagyu beef teriyaki, tuck into a feast next time you’re solo strolling in the area.
There’s only one place we love for bao and it’s the aptly named BAO restaurant franchise. Boasting several restaurants across the city, BAO has become the go-to spot for light, fluffy and delicious bao.
It’s the perfect place for a hassle free dining experience by yourself. All you need to do is choose your weapon of choice (we’d recommend getting a selection to try) and tuck in. The ‘Dan Dan Potato’ is an order necessity.
If you’re conscious of dining out alone, one place that’ll ease your anxieties is Market Hall. Now with three locations across London, Market Hall is a real foodies dream, boasting some of London’s best culinary minds, concepts and restaurants in small, street food vendor style hideouts. Market Hall is home to everyone from Butchies to Press Coffee, Monty’s Deli to Soft Serve Society. Choose your trader of choice and dine in while people watching, or venture from vendor to vendor and try a taste of everything.
Fulham | Victoria | West End
Following on a similar footing, Arcade Food Theatre opened its doors just last year and champions the very best of London’s foodie scene, possessing seven delicious eateries, including Pophams, Flat Iron Workshop, Le Bab and Chotto, as well as three conceptualised bars.
Aside from its culinary offerings, the food theatre is home to stellar interiors too, and is the perfect spot to stroll around, people watch and dive into divine dishes too.
103-105 New Oxford Street, West End WC1A 1DB
If you’re headed out alone this weekend, make a pitstop at Heddon Yokocho to check out their new Shuchu dining booths, designed with the solo diner in mind.
Located on Heddon Street, Heddon Yokocho is London’s answer to a retro-style ramen bar, home to vibrant Showa era decor and retro tastes nodding to 1970s Tokyo. The booths have been designed to help guests focus and soak up the true ramen experience, without having to worry about slurping their noodles too loudly. Head here for their Tonkotsu Ramen – you won’t regret it.
8 Heddon Street, Mayfair, W1B 4BU