The Best Time To Visit A Restaurant When Dining Solo

Most of us enjoy the festive feeling of eating out with a large group of friends, or the romantic intimacy that comes with sharing plates with a partner. But few pleasures compare to the experience of dining solo, a practice that has become much more commonplace in recent years. However, while you may not get a second glance from the host, waitstaff, or even fellow diners when requesting a table for one, you should still consider some of the best practices to make the most of your experience visiting a restaurant on your own — starting with the time you arrive.

To ensure the best possible service, it would be wise to arrive at the eatery outside of peak dining hours. While your chosen destination is likely perfectly equipped to accommodate a lone guest, busier hours may make it harder to obtain a coveted two-top table, as many of them may be reserved. And if you do manage to snag one, you might expect a rushed service and pressure to pay the check as the staff waits to seat another couple or use the table for a larger party.

If you're looking to enjoy a relaxed and unhurried solo dinner, the earlier in the evening you visit, the better. In addition to being able to snag a better seat, you'll also have an opportunity to interact with the restaurant staff, as they won't be as busy and frazzled as they are when the restaurant is packed.

Why you should embrace the joys of solo dining

According to data collected by restaurant reservation platforms OpenTable and Resy, more and more diners seem to be dipping their toes into the act (and, dare we say, art) of solo dining lately. And it's no wonder why. Not only is it a wonderful way to savor some alone time, especially in the midst of hectic social calendars or busy work weeks, but it's also the perfect excuse to truly savor your food. Without the distraction of dinner conversation or the outside influence of a companion, you can feel free to order exactly what you wish off the menu and really focus on enjoying the meal at hand.

Other perks of the practice? You don't have to worry about sharing your food with someone who has the tendency to pick off your plate, nor must you engage in a rousing game of "How should we split the bill?" as you do with bigger groups. Simply put, it's your dining experience, on your terms. And it's totally worth the indulgence.

If you are, however, open to conversing with fellow restaurant-goers when you're out on your own or want to bask in the lively atmosphere during peak dining hours, we suggest sidling up to the bar. You're less likely to be rushed from your perch and, chances are, you won't be the only solo diner there. Whether or not you and your neighbors choose to chat, you'll all enjoy dining alone, together.