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I'm less comfortable doing so in my home town, though sometimes it's exactly what I want.  I don't much care what strangers think about my dining alone, but I don't want to have to explain if I run into friends or colleagues.

Forgive me if this is being argumentative, but to my mind, I'm not sure I see what there'd be to explain. Wouldn't it just mean that you didn't feel like cooking that night?

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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Years ago, I never would have considered dining alone.

Now, being in my 40's and caring less and less what other

people think :laugh: , I don't give it a second thought.

On another note: I see that some of you do some writing while dining out.

I am a part-time mystery shopper, and I wonder how many

establishments wonder if you are a shopper and taking notes for

the shop - LOL (which is a no-no, but some silly souls do it anyway).

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I have no problem dining alone. I have travelled frequently for business since I was in my (very) early 20's and while it was daunting the first time or two, I have enjoyed it ever since. So many times I've toured the kitchen, or tried something special just by talking to the waiter and showing an interest in the restaurant. Many times when I've been out of town the waiter/bartender/maitre d' have graciously given pointers and advice for the rest of my stay in their city.

Whether in my own city, or away, I don't care what anyone else thinks about my dining alone.....it just isn't an issue.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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I've had some fantastic meals alone at fantastic places while travelling, often after long, stressful days at work. Since my jobs have always had significant, and often anxious, social components, eating alone has been a singular pleasure, allowing me to concentrate on the food, the environment, the staff. I don't do it often but enjoy it when I do.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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It's highly frustrating in Korea, and I'm hoping the attitudes here will change. There are many places -- most places with a grill or any really good food -- where they WILL NOT serve solo diners. I think it's an economics thing because the only way to justify the cost of all the side dishes they put out is if at least two people are ordering.

I hate to say this, but this was one of the first things I thought about when considering moving in with my girlfriend -- "Ooh, I'll have someone to eat dinner with!"

<a href='http://www.zenkimchi.com/FoodJournal' target='_blank'>ZenKimchi Korean Food Journal</a> - The longest running Korean food blog

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I've never minded doing things on my own- and my line of thinking was that if where ever I wanted to go would not serve me solo then that was somewhere I did not wish to spend my money. I can honestly say I have never had that happen but if it did I would have no problem going elsewhere.

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Well that's just it. There *ISN'T* anywhere else to go if you want to eat grilled meat on your own. If you're by yourself, you have to settle for a bowl of soup for your dinner. Or kimbap.

I guess that's why I've lost so much weight.

<a href='http://www.zenkimchi.com/FoodJournal' target='_blank'>ZenKimchi Korean Food Journal</a> - The longest running Korean food blog

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I've enjoyed eating alone while traveling on business. I get to go to the restaurant I want to eat at without having to consider where others want to eat. I usually take a book or a magazine. I'll usually eat at the bar. Since I'm female the reading material is useful to avoid unwanted conversation. Especially when I pull out my reading glasses! It's a a nice time to relax.

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I hate to admit it, but I hate dining alone. I am sure it is some psychological thing, but I feel so uncomfortable dining alone. I always feel like people are staring at me and wondering why I am dining alone. It always reminds of the scene in "The Jerk", when Steve Martin goes into high class restaurant and says to the maitre'd, "Table for one." and a spotlight follows him to the table. This is exactly how I feel. :unsure:

I know it is silly. I really don't know how to change this feeling.

If it's any consolation, I usually make up very romantic stories (in my head, of course) about solo diners and their fantastic lives and why they're dining alone!! :wink:

"Many people believe the names of In 'n Out and Steak 'n Shake perfectly describe the contrast in bedroom techniques between the coast and the heartland." ~Roger Ebert

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I adore my own company, and so, I relish eating alone. Especially in a restaurant with good food, and comfortable seating. I can eat and giggle with myself, people watch, and read a book. Write a bit, eat some more. All by myself. Yay! I'm a very social creature, my friends can't believe that I go out of my way to eat out by myself. But, hey, I'm my very oldest, closest and best friend! My second favorite alone outing is the cinema, or a lecture.

Exactly! Besides, if you want to try out new anything, what are you supposed to do? Wait until others decide "oh, okay, we guess we'll go"?? That's just crazy talk. (I used to go solo to opera performances years ago when I had access to such things.)

And I've never had even the slightest problem being treated as anything other than a paying customer. It's always been a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

"She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

--Flannery O'Connor, "A Good Man is Hard to Find"

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I'm less comfortable doing so in my home town, though sometimes it's exactly what I want.  I don't much care what strangers think about my dining alone, but I don't want to have to explain if I run into friends or colleagues.

Forgive me if this is being argumentative, but to my mind, I'm not sure I see what there'd be to explain. Wouldn't it just mean that you didn't feel like cooking that night?

Yes, if I'm someplace close to home or my office. Not a big deal, but speaking only for myself, somehow I'm more comfortable dining solo at a high-end or destination place if I'm away from home. No obligations to turn it into a social occasion.


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Besides, if you want to try out new anything, what are you supposed to do? Wait until others decide "oh, okay, we guess we'll go"?? That's just crazy talk. (I used to go solo to opera performances years ago when I had access to such things.)

Yes! This is how I am about movies, as well as restaurants. People think I'm odd for going by myself all the time...but if there's something I want to see, and a time when I want to see it, and no one to go with me, why wouldn't I?

As for restaurants, I'm usually more likely to find people who might want to join me, but with my most frequent restaurant companions traveling abroad a lot lately, and the other two having moved to Ohio, I'm going it alone more and more...and loving it, though in a different way from the way I love a good meal and good conversation.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Perhaps there are differences between men and women as to their comfort level about dining solo?

When I was younger, dining alone (even at table) was a gilt edged invitation for men to hit on me, and not politely, either. It tended to render the entire experience awful. It's very different now, but I can't say whether it's because I now live in NY, whether it's because I'm older, or whether social presumptions have changed. Could be a combo of all three.

My discomfort with the experience has since vanished, and I enjoy it now, a lot. Wish I'd always been able to do so. I'm with Megan - dining alone and seeing films alone can be a wonderful thing.

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I don't mind dining alone at all, but I also make it very clear to people that I am NOT open to strangers conversing with me (i don't consider waitstaff strangers). I try to always get the paper or bring a magazine. I don't like to bring books because I always manage to spill food on them! Dang!

But I keep my nose in my reading and i don't really look up. That seems to stem unwanted advances. Why is everyone so friendly on the west coast anyways? Jeez! :raz:

I would never consider this acceptable in a fine dining atmosphere, but especially when i am traveling for business, if i am in a small cafe or some taqueria or pho joint i will whip out my computer and either do work or play games (or surf if there is a hotspot). Is that rude? I'm not so sure if there is any etiquette for that kind of stuff (does waitstaff hate it as much as if i were talking on my cell phone? I would never talk on my cell phone inside a restaurant).

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I don't mind sitting in a cafe with a book or newspaper. I just don't like to dine alone in a fine dining restaurant.

When I was single and living in Switzerland and Germany, I didn't mind talking to strangers at a cafe, if they looked interesting. :wink:

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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As someone who has, for the last thirty-six years, eaten 98% of his meals alone, I'm both amused and amazed by some of the posts on this thread. The notion that eating solo might inspire pity or hilarity has truly never entered my mind.

I love being able to sink into a good drink, a good book, and a good meal without distraction. It's an experience I relish several times a week, and if I ever won the Powerball, I'd do it every night. I don't not enjoy eating with friends, but having to talk, listen, and wear a pleasant expression makes for a different kind of experience.

Only once, in all these years, have I ever been denied seating because I was alone, and it was last year at Thanksgiving. I'd made a reservation at a restaurant in the East Village called Pylos, and two days before Thanksgiving the reservationist phoned to say that the restaurant's owner wouldn't accept a single diner. I was miffed, but found another restaurant, and vowed never to set foot in Pylos!

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