Dining solo Manhatten

Hey FTC people! I am going to be traveling to NYC end of December. I won’t be alone for all meals but there might be a night or two that I will be dining solo. I am staying on the upper east side but really willing to go anywhere for great food. I am from Los Angeles and really enjoy some great food and wine. I am young adult (23) but feel 45. So not looking for a coat and tie place but just some really excellent food and drinks (wine,craft cocktails.) So bottom line looking for places that I won’t feel totally uncomfortable eating alone. Used to ask on chowhound but since I can’t figure out how to use that site anymore thought I would try here. Any help or advice for lunch and dinner would be great. Not picky on cuisine. Thanks so much. Price range is fairly open just graduated college so going on a celebratory trip (and employed). Open to all price ranges to be honest!

Well, first of all, welcome to FTC.

As to your question.

It might help if you gave us some budget parameters.

For example, I’m a big fan of dining solo at the bar at Marea, but can be pricey. Other good solo spots in the same vein as Marea that I enjoy are The Nomad Bar, Gotham Bar and Grill, The Modern, Wolfgang’s and Keens.

For something more casual and laid back, Totto Ramen, Heidi’s House, Danji, Her Name is Han, Take 31, Cha An, Black Ant, Box Kite (dinner only tasting menu), and probably many many places I’m forgetting.

Hope that helps.

Thanks for the suggestions! I added my price range which is pretty open. I knew I should have mentioned that after reading so many posts. At Marea could I enjoy the dinner menu at the bar do you know?


Also, not sure when you are going, but take a hard look at Box Kite. It’s a coffee shop by day, pop-up tasting menu restaurant at night. Reservations required, and usually need 30 days advance notice.

Enjoy the trip!

The following are all places you could eat at the bar (which is what I generally prefer to do as a solo diner).

Momofuku Ssam Bar

I’m heading there myself in a month.

Momofuku Ssam Bar is excellent and you’ll fit right in sitting at the counter

Sushi Yasuda at the sushi bar for lunch or dinner would work well.

I second Marea. I always save one of my lunches for Marea. It’s close to Central Park and a straight shot to Times Square/Broadway shows.

Sounds good. Thanks for the suggestions. I think Marea will be at the top of my list too. I looked into Ssam Bar that seems like one of the better Momofuku restaurants.

Pearl Oyster Bar
Momofuku Ssam Bar
Grand Central Oyster Bar
Eat and drink along the High Line…Bill’s Bar for one of the best burgers evah.

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I just remembered a perfect place for a solo diner in Manhattan looking to explore and experience something a little different, and not found in LA.

Try Donostia in the East Village. A restaurant built on the Basque tradition of the pinxtos taverna. Some of the food is more assembly than cooking (think charcuterie board or sushi rolls), but whether cooked or merely assembled, all of the pinxtos are interesting and worthwhile. And there’s an extensive Spanish wine list, as well as Sherry-inspired cocktails.

Ssam for sure.

Bar area at Nougatine

Dough (I know not a meal, or maybe…)

Maialino (cacio de pepe)

I have very little concept of what a meal would be likely to cost at Donostia, based on their menu. Any insight? Also, any favorite dishes?

Well it seems Ssam Bar is the most popular suggestions will for sure hit this up. Any recs for the lunch and dinner menus?

duck buns
sardines toast
rotisserie duck
corn ice cream pie (might be seasonal)

Depending on one’s appetite, you can easily have a very good meal for about $25/person, before alcohol tax/tip.

As to favorites, I enjoy the montaditos and the tortillas. The menu (to me, anyway) can be challenging to navigate and I would simply suggest asking the waiter or bartender for pointers.

I forgot to mention they also have a nice variety of Spanish craft ciders. Who knew.

Oh nice! I have a friend who was just in Asturias and enjoyed hanging out in sidrerias (cider bars) there. I think that region produces more cider than any other.

Second to Gotham. We had dinner there last night. Don’t be fooled by the name “Bar and Grill”. I was wearing nice black jeans and we were initially seated to a small table in high traffic right next to the bar. Dead giveaway that we’re from West Coast. I politely asked for a better table and they did move us away from traffic. They have fun cocktail menu. I liked “Absinthe Minded”. For an appetizer, Globe Artichoke tortellini is a must have. We also had Red Shrimp Risotto which was excellent. I was disappointed with Miso marinated Black Codd. i did not taste any miso. Also the presentation was rather boring. And sticky rice was sitting in very vinegary soy sauce and turning to gooey mush. Surprisingly for a Michellin starred restaurant. Hopefully it was a one-off mishap. Overall we liked this restaurant.