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dining soloSolo travel can be reflective, rewarding and exhilarating, but it also presents challenges. For some, eating alone is an experience that takes getting used to. (See Terror at the Table for One.)

Luckily, the times may be changing for solo diners. At Eenmaal, a restaurant in Amsterdam, you can feel secure in asking for a table of one because that’s all that’s available; you and your fellow diners all are eating alone, together.

Hailed as the first one-person restaurant in the world, Eenmaal (which means “one time” as well as “one meal” in Dutch) describes itself as “an attractive place for temporary disconnection.” The solo eatery takes its form as a pop-up restaurant, only open during select times in select locations, and it’s far from depressing — it’s always sold out, according to its website.

Marina van Goor, the social designer and mastermind behind Eenmaal, sought to create the restaurant as a social experiment to confront the concept of loneliness in the Internet Age. The idea has not only gained widespread media attention but has led to a rash of emerging pop-up eateries for one worldwide.

Single Travel: Tips for Going Solo

The idea already exists in Japan, where space is limited but ideas for unique eateries are plenty. Take this restaurant where you can dine (alone?) with stuffed animals, for example.

As for myself, I generally forgo the fluff and face the plate without any companionship — teddy bear included — although I admit the urge to check my phone might reach an uncomfortable level. The one time I decided to go to a local brunch spot by myself, I came equipped with a book, a notebook, a pen and plenty of ways to look busy — and I wasn’t even abroad! However, I ended up enjoying my pot of tea without needing further distraction. In a world filled with constant stimulation, I found that to be an accomplishment.

Take a Bite Out of Solo Dining

Now that solo dining is “in,” we want to know: Is it still awkward? Have you dined independently, or would you try it? Share in the comments below.

— written by Brittany Chrusciel

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8 Responses to “Ditch Your Dinnermates — Eating Alone Is In”

  1. Caprice Kutz says:

    The reply link for the puzzler is broken so I am sending my answers here.

    South Africa
    Cote d’Ivoire

  2. Host Ciao says:

    Since I almost always travel alone, I also almost always dine alone too. I will admit that in most of the Italian cities I know, I have favorite restaurants too. At these I very happily eat alone. In fact at a couple in Rome, I am recognized even two or three years apart. And I also almost always have a book to read, which I think is fine for a solo traveler.
    A presto,
    Host Ciao

    • lee laurino says:

      i travel solo also and every year to italy…if you will share the names of the solo friendly places in Rome i would be grateful. i get tired of take away after a few days!

  3. As a widow I always travel alone. I have no problem eating solo. Even in my hometown when I go out to lunch or dinner it is usually sans company. I carry a book, ask for a table that is well lighted, and enjoy my meal. If being along causes any comment I am unaware of it.

  4. Desiree Young says:

    I eat out alone on a regular basis. Usually if I want dinner, I’m going to go eat at a restaurant. It took some getting used to, but I bring a book since I’m an avid reader, I’ve come to enjoy it.

  5. lee laurino says:

    how interesting that the comments so far are from other women…..

    I have to share this with my few readers on maturesolotravel.com………..

    thanks for telling the thousands of solo travelers there is hope!ev

  6. lee says:

    I have been traveling solo for more than 20 years, now writing about Italy and eating solo is ALWAYS the only difficult part of my trips

    THIS IS THE BEST IDEA EVER FOR SOLO TRAVELERS, and it is a good place for anyone who needs some time away from the endless demands of job, friends and family.

    i hope you expand to other cities and the trend grows.

    recently i started a solomaturetravel blog to share any promotions where solo travelers are not charged MORE than couples or just 2 travelers traveling together. this will be great news to other solo traveler

  7. Nadia says:

    Having a job and always being on the run, I usually have to dine alone. I actually really enjoy it because it allows me to have time to sit by myself and enjoy my food without having to talk the whole time. Granted, there have been times that I was on the phone the whole time so people could see that I have friends, but it has always been more enjoyable without my phone by my side.

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