Table For One: 11 Restaurants Suitable For Eating Solo

Truth: Just because you choose to dine solo does not mean you can't find a date. Sometimes, you may just want to enjoy a meal without making casual conversation — Hallmark holidays included. Because not only is it convenient, but it's empowering, too. But if a table for one feels daunting, we've got a few tips from life coach Betsy Sobiech of Tiara Coaching to take the edge off.
"First, feel proud knowing you are a confident, grounded, urban woman [or man] who really does do what she [or he] wants. Second, choose a restaurant where you'll be satisfied by the environment, as well as the food. Third, be open, aware, and accepting of how you're feeling and the environment around you. You might feel a few different emotions, which is normal," she says.
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With Sobiech's tips in mind, click through to see the list of amazing eateries where no one would bat an eyelash at your single status.
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Fish Bar

The majority of seating at this restaurant/bar is made up of bar stools, so it creates a super-casual and laid-back atmosphere to grab a quick oyster po’ sandwich and a frosty beverage. Long John Silver’s this is not.

Fish Bar, 2956 North Sheffield Avenue (between Oakdale and Wellington avenues); 773-687-8177.

Photo: Courtesy of Fish Bar
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Bistro Zinc

People dine solo at bistros in Paris all the time, so grab your paper, book, or Kindle and tap into your inner Coco Chanel at this charming Gold Coast eatery. You can feel comfortable eating anywhere here, but the zinc bar (hence the name) is where you’ll find almost all solo diners noshing on bistro faves like steak frites and escargot.

Bistro Zinc, 1131 North State Street (at Elm Street); 312-337-1131.

Photo: Courtesy of Bistro Zinc
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Lula Café

The friendly neighborhood vibe at Lula makes it a surefire winner when it comes to dining alone. Whether you choose to snack at the bar with a cheese plate and a glass of wine, or settle into one of the small tables with a plate of comfort food such as the slow-roasted pork shoulder, you’ll always feel welcome.

Lula Café, 2537 North Kedzie Boulevard (between Linden Place and Albany Avenue); 773-489-9554.

Photo: Courtesy of Lula Café
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Little Market Brasserie

We’ve quickly fallen in love with this brand-new Gold Coast eatery, and thanks to its small, intimate seating configurations, you don’t have to wait for a date to check it out. And considering it's also attached to the Talbot hotel, there are already plenty of other single travelers hanging out.

The menu spans everything from hearty egg dishes, salads, and soups to pastas and heartier mains. Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, you’re covered no matter when you feel like turning off the stove and heading out for a bite.

Little Market Brasserie, 10 East Delaware (between Wabash Avenue and State Street); 312-640-8141.

Photo: Courtesy of Little Market
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Avec

Thanks to the communal seating at this evergreen hot spot, it’s easy to blend into the crowd. But if swapping commentary with your neighbor about your shared passion for those amazing chorizo-stuffed medjool dates isn’t your thing, the solo bar stool seating on the opposite wall is your best bet.

Avec, 615 West Randolph Street (at Jefferson); 312-377-2002.

Photo: Courtesy of Avec
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Oysy

Thanks to its proximity to the Mag Mile, this bustling sushi bar attracts everyone from area workers to tourists. It’s not uncommon to see solo diners enjoying plates of sushi anywhere from the sushi bar (our pick!) to one of the sleek wooden booths. You’ll also find a great selection of reasonably priced small plates to conquer your craving for everything from chicken teriyaki to an amazing soy-miso cod.

Oysy, 50 East Grand Avenue (between Wabash Avenue and Rush Street); 312-670-6750.

Photo: Courtesy of Oysy
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Hopleaf Bar

If you’ve got beer on the brain, then you can beat the vast selection over at Hopleaf. But the food isn’t exactly secondary either. In fact, peeps flock to this bar for its amazing mussels, steamed in either beer or wine and served with a side of crispy frites. Now that we’ve figured out what you’re going to have, all you have to do is show up and grab one of the small tables and dig in. You’re welcome!

Hopleaf Bar, 5148 North Clark Street (between Winona Street and United States Highway 41); 773-334-9851.

Photo: Courtesy of Hopleaf Bar
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Pierrot Gourmet at the Peninsula Chicago Hotel

Located within the luxurious Peninsula hotel, solo diners are a hearty part of the customer base at this adorable little café. While the outdoor patio is the place to be in the summertime with a crisp Alsatian wine (hello, people watching!), the cozy interior — complete with Edith Piaf belting from the sound system — is a great spot to nosh on a buttery croissant while sipping a café au lait and fantasizing about that vacation to Paris.

Pierrot Gourmet at the Peninsula Chicago Hotel, 108 East Superior Street (at Rush Street); 312-573-6749.

Photo: Courtesy of Pierrot Gourmet
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Urban Vegan

This small vegan spot serves up tasty Thai dishes in casual atmosphere, perfect for those days when you’re not in the mood to get gussied up to get your pad Thai fix. Lunch and dinner combinations (priced at $9.95 and $11.95, respectively) make this spot a bargain, so you can save that coin for a bigger night out on the town.

Urban Vegan, 1605 West Montrose Avenue (between Ashland Avenue and Paulina Street); 773-404-1109.

Photo: Courtesy of Urban Vegan
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Library at Public Chicago

Slipping into a couch at this sexy hotel bar/lounge is like hanging out at a hip friend’s pad. By day, it’s a coffee bar, by night, a bustling lounge. We prefer the afternoon hours to grab a bite like a whole-wheat flat bread made with mushrooms, three cheeses, spinach, and a farm egg. And thanks to free Wi-Fi, you can be productive while you nosh, too.

Library at Public Chicago, 1301 North State Parkway (between Goethe and Banks streets); 312-787-3700.

Photo: Courtesy of Library of Public Chicago
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Bar Pastoral

From picking up a fresh sammie at the Chicago French Market outpost to shopping the storefront for a special bottle of vino, there’s more than one reason to love Pastoral. And its newest concept, Bar Pastoral goes together with the single diner like wine and cheese.

Sit at the bar and you’ll have the undivided attention of the staff, making it feel kinda like a one-on-one wine tasting. Almost everything on the menu is sized as either a small or a snack plate, so you need not worry about over-ordering or feeling uncomfortable sitting solo with a monstrous pile of food in front of you.

Bar Pastoral, 2947 North Broadway Avenue (between Oakdale and Wellington avenues); 773-472-4781.

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