THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO SOLO DINING IN NYC

Grandlife guide

THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO SOLO DINING IN NYC

back to list

Dining solo is a beloved pastime in New York. Every night of the week, New Yorkers can be found at bar stools and sidewalk tables across the city, savoring the pleasure of time spent alone. Here are some of the most welcoming places in lower Manhattan for your next solo cocktail or meal.

Rintintin

This petit bistro on Spring Street in NoLIta is a neighborhood favorite for flavors of the Mediterranean. By day, outdoor tables are topped with light fare like baba ganoush, while by night, aromas of slow-roasted lamb tagine fill the space. Solo diners will be equally comfortable at a sidewalk table, the cozy L-shaped bar, or one of the small booths. This restaurant’s intimate size often results in conversations sparked between fellow diners and bartenders.

14 Spring St, New York, NY 10012; T. (646) 666-0114

Tetsu

Located on a quiet block in TriBeCa, Tetsu is the relaxed sibling of Chef Masayoshi Takayama’s renowned sushi restaurant, Masa. Instead of sushi, the focus here is the robata, or grill. Seats at the long bar face chefs at work in the open kitchen preparing grilled skewers (try the pork belly or coco curry shrimp) along with rice and noodle dishes (order the ink pasta with bottarga). Diners seeking an exclusive experience may want to make a reservation at the counter in the omakase-only basement, where Chef Masa is often cooking in the open kitchen.  

78 Leonard St, New York, NY 10013; T. (212) 207-2370

Via Carota

This West Village trattoria is the Italian restaurant every New Yorker wishes was on their doorstep. It’s an ideal blend of rustic and refined, with a menu for every type of craving. For lunch, watch the neighborhood walk by at one of the sidewalk tables over a glass of wine and grilled artichokes. The bar has a welcoming atmosphere and bartenders happily chat about the wine list, cocktails, and snacks (don’t miss the ‘Nduja Arancini). Open daily until midnight, it is one of the neighborhood’s coziest spots for a late solo dinner; try the tortelli with smoked ricotta.

51 Grove St, New York, NY 10014; E. ciao@viacarota.com

Smith & Mills

A converted carriage house is the setting for one of TriBeCa’s tiniest and most intimate restaurants, Smith & Mills. A handful of stools at the bar are prime positions for watching bartenders mix cocktails until 2am (3am on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday). A small but varied menu includes raw oysters, a decadent cheese plate, and steamed mussels with toasted miche. No reservations are accepted, so solo diners can often squeeze in at the bar. A few sidewalk tables add extra space during the warmer months.

71 N Moore St, New York, NY 10013; T. (212) 226-2515

Acme

Formerly a New Nordic restaurant, Acme has been reinvented as a New American bistro. That means thoughtful cocktails, quality bar snacks, and a main menu with everything from a kale Caesar salad to brick chicken with shitake mushrooms. This restaurant on Great Jones Street in NoHo is divided into two floors; there’s a bar on the bustling main floor that’s welcoming to solo diners, while those seeking a quieter experience can grab a stool at the intimate cocktail bar downstairs where additional small plates are on offer.

9 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012; T.  (212) 203-2121

Café Select

From an early breakfast to afternoon drinks to late night snacks, this Swiss-inspired café on Lafayette Street offers a casual retreat at any time of day. Swing by first thing in the morning to grab a sidewalk table and read the newspaper over coffee and croissants, or opt for a hearty lunch of croque monsieur with melted gruyere at the bar. A friendly atmosphere and talkative bartenders keep the café steadily buzzing until 2am; dinner is served until midnight (check out the spätzli with wild mushrooms).

212 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012; T. (212) 925-9322

Words Jessica Colley Clarke

You May Also Like

Downtown Vintage Treasure Troves

Downtown Vintage Treasure Troves

fashion
stories
Victorian blouses, sequined disco tops, perfectly worn 501s—these emporiums will sort out any gaps you might have. 
Get Lost in Chinatown

Get Lost in Chinatown

coffee & cafés
fashion
food & drink
reading
stories
From a family-run tofu shop to a private hair studio—our favorite under-the-radar spots.
Supporting Ukraine Through Its NYC Roots

Supporting Ukraine Through Its NYC Roots

art & design
bars & nightlife
coffee & cafés
food & drink
stories
Our favorite Ukrainian spots in a city that boasts the largest Ukrainian population in the country. 
On Show: New York Art World Icons Warhol & Basquiat

On Show: New York Art World Icons Warhol & Basquiat

art & design
stories
If you only catch a few exhibitions this spring, make sure it’s these ones...
Weekends in SoHo

Weekends in SoHo

art & design
bars & nightlife
fashion
food & drink
stories
Combining heritage with a new age of restaurants, bars, cafes, and boutiques, explore the neighborhood with this curated guide.
The Originals: NYC Institutions Still Worth a Visit

The Originals: NYC Institutions Still Worth a Visit

bars & nightlife
food & drink
stories
From an essential NYC Jewish deli to a chemist to a comedy club with anecdotes and fun facts from those who were—or still are—there.
Best in Class: NYC Concept Stores

Best in Class: NYC Concept Stores

fashion
shopping
stories
In typical New York fashion, a class of concept stores has raised the bar for what you can expect from a clothing boutique.
New York Spring Gardens Downtown Elizabeth Street Garden Gramercy Park Washington Square Park

Diggin' It: Downtown Garden Escapes

food & drink
stories
Lunch date, garden party, solo respite—these 5 outdoor spots have your alfresco needs covered this spring.
Best Rate Promise
Soho Grand Hotel

310 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013

(212) 965-3000
The Roxy Hotel New York

2 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10013

212.519.6600