Food

The Ten Best NYC Restaurants for Dining Alone

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Sometimes you just want to be alone, ya know? And in a city teeming with people — where rent prices often necessitate roommates — that can be a tall order. Take solace in one of New York City’s restaurants, some of which are well set up to accommodate single diners. Fork in the Road contributors are divulging our favorite spots for a solo meal — these are the ten best restaurants in the city for dining alone.

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Osteria Morini (218 Lafayette Street; 212-965-8777) Upscale Italian may sit high on the list of date-night favorites, but sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself to a sensuous night, solo. On the more casual side of Michael White’s Altamarea empire, Osteria Morini offers elegant albeit soulful fare inspired by Emilia-Romagna, the region known as the breadbasket of Italy. The food is impeccable and the atmosphere is just right. With friendly staff and an informal air, the large wooden bar is the ideal place to grab a negroni, some antipasti, and saddle up for the night. — Sara Ventiera

Bill’s Bar and Burger (22 Ninth Avenue; 212-414-3003; additional locations) Whenever you’re in the mood to stuff your face, shuffle into Bill’s Bar and Burger in the meatpacking district and grab a stool. Any place that uses the word “fat” when naming a burger means serious business, and the handy wet-naps are a sign Bill expects you to eat with your hands. Classic American comfort food, beers, and milkshakes are a recipe to ensure your solo dining adventure is one you needn’t share with anyone except the voices in your head, which will probably be lulled into a lovely food coma. — Billy Lyons

J.G. Melon (1291 Third Avenue, 212-744-0585) When dining solo, we often seek comfort food, which makes us feel happy and at ease. That’s what you’ll find at J.G. Melon, where you can sit at the wooden bar and enjoy an outstanding hamburger and blood mary. J.G. is cozy and casual, and no one here will bother you. — Kevin Kessler [

Gramercy Tavern (42 East 20th Street, 212-477-0777) Restaurants with great bars are often the choicest places to dine alone, and the venerable Gramercy Tavern features one of the best bars in the city. Long and L-shaped, there always seems to be an open seat here, and the bartenders — long trained in Danny Meyer hospitality — are never far from reach. They refill glasses quickly, and give you that slightly coddled feeling that feels so nice when dining solo. This is an experience that is relaxing and never too loud, exactly what you want on an evening for one. — Kevin Kessler

Ippudo (65 Fourth Avenue, 212-388-0088) Here’s a rare bird: You’re actually at an advantage at Ippudo if you’re there alone, for your wait will undoubtedly be shorter than the parties milling around the bar, steeled for the hours-long hold. Occasionally, there’s been an odd stool out at the dining bar, and we’ve skipped the line entirely. From this perch, you can watch the soup masters make magic over the stove while you slurp, which is entertaining enough to forestall any conversation, anyway. — Laura Shunk

Lincoln Ristorante (142 West 65th Street, 212-359-6500) Lincoln’s bar quiets down once the curtain’s up at the opera, and all the small touches, from the amuse and bread service to the caramels before the check, appear even if you’re only popping in for a negroni and bowl of agnolotti. And while the glassed-in kitchen looks like a silent ballet to the dining room, perched on a stool, you can feel the bustle behind the bar. — Adam Robb

Balthazar (80 Spring Street, 212-965-1414) Grab a stool at this Soho-landmark French brasserie, preferably at one of the extreme ends of the bar. Order one of their burgers, the coq au vin, or the steak frites, and pair it with either a beer or a selection from their ample wine list. Then sit back and enjoy the show. You’ll be in the presence of numerous couples at various stages of romantic entanglement, many of whom who will be attempting to subtly parse the body language of their companion. Observe, pause, smirk, sip, and repeat. — John Luong [

Diner (85 Broadway, Brooklyn; 718-486- 3077) Even-keeled, straightforward, and sincere, this place is Williamsburg’s old reliable. The food is simple yet surprising, with selections ranging from a kickass burger to grilled turnips and seared amberjack. And the vibe is totally laid-back: dim lighting, long bar, a hint of vintage diner kitsch. Sure, you could bring a friend, but with ample seats and amicable staff, you might even make a new one by the time you’re done throwing back that Black Manhattan. — Sara Ventiera

Sparrow Tavern (24-01 29th Street, Astoria; 718-606-2260) Across the street from the always boisterous Bohemian Beer Garden, the Sparrow Tavern offers a low-key, approachable vibe. The bar is an ideal spot for solo diners to hunker down and enjoy elevated pub food — like the swiss chard quesadilla, or a grass-fed beef burger and herbed fries — and cocktails from the drinks menu, which changes seasonally. And singles won’t be stuck with only their smartphones for company. The friendly staff engages customers in conversation, and occasionally something more elaborate, like Sparrow’s very own short-film-making contest, with rules that change with each competition. — Alanna Schubach

Fort Defiance (365 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn; 347-453-6672) Fort Defiance serves as a neighborhood gathering place, so you’ll see solo diners here at all hours of the day. In the daytime, they’re often posted up with a book and a sandwich (like the muffuletta, for which the restaurant is famous); by night, they sip cocktails, slurp oysters, and dig in to burgers. Whether you want to be left alone with your thoughts or engaged by a bartender, you’ll find space here to have the kind of meal you want. — Laura Shunk