We did a straw poll amongst our friends and family and unsurprisingly established that there are two types of people when it comes to eating alone; those who love the peace and solitude and would happily luxuriate for hours at a table for one, and those who see it as an introvert’s nightmare, only to be undertaken when necessity (i.e. extreme hunger) dictates. Eating alone has some up-sides though; you’re more likely to nab a space without a reservation, you can spend as long as you want staring at your phone, and you get to order exactly what you want. Any restaurant can accommodate a solo diner (how willing they are is another story), but some are that bit more suited to eating alone than others, whether because of the layout of the room, the menu, or the seating options. These are some of our favourites.
Little Mike’s, Mount Merrion
One of our favourite things to do while eating alone is to sit on a high stool, and watch the world around us, and the counters at Little Mike’s offers views out onto the street or into the kitchen to see the chefs at work. The menu features small and big plates so you’ll plenty to suit all appetites, there’s a decent choice of wines by the glass, and you’ll be welcomed so warmly that you’ll feel like you’re amongst friends. Pro tip: get the seafood bowl. Rarely will you have the opportunity to save something so delicious all to yourself.
Gertrude, Pearse St
With a selection of books available for anyone to pore over while they eat, Gertrude is the perfect spot to take a bit of you-time. The big communal table along the middle is regularly occupied by individuals and small groups, and the menu comprises a mix of snacks and full meals so you’re covered whether you want a quick bite or something more substantial. Another big plus is the desserts, all priced at €6 or under and the perfect portion for one. They've stopped opening in the evenings (we're not sure if that will return at any point), so breakfast, brunch or lunch are your only options for this one. Read our Gertrude once over here.
Laine My Love, Talbot St
Laine My Love on Talbot Street features some of the most adorable tiny tables designed for you and you alone. Perfect for when you don’t want to feel in the way, but still want really great coffee and food. It’s also right near Connolly Station so ideal if you’re catching a train and can’t face a pre-packed sandwich.
Queen of Tarts, Dame Street and Cow’s Lane
Both Queen of Tarts locations have plenty of little nooks so you can retire to a quiet corner, or sit outside on the Cow’s Lane terrace to soak up some buzz on a sunny day. The soup option changes regularly, the salads are fresh, and the cakes are famously good. Just make sure you order enough for the whole table.
L. Mulligan Grocer, Stoneybatter
It seems the whole word is in love with Stoneybatter right now, with Timeout recently calling it Dublin's coolest neighbourhood. L. Mulligan Grocer has long been setting out the D7’s neighbourhood’s stall as a destination for Irish food, and dining alone will be no barrier. The vibe in LMG is laid back and friendly, with a carefully curated drinks menu, and lots of food and drink options. Have a scotch egg in the snug, or chat to the friendly bar staff if you want a bit of interaction and an education on all things beer.
Cirillo’s, Baggot Street
Cirillo’s is ticking a lot of boxes for us lately with their freshly made pasta and pizzas that are up there with the best in Dublin. We recently discovered that they also have a pizza menu for take-away, so if you’re home alone and heading over there to pick up a pie, we'd suggest sticking around and enjoying it from a counter perch overlooking Baggot Street instead.
Soup Ramen, Dún Laoghaire
Soup Ramen in Dún Laoghaire is ideal when you want something fast, casual but above all tasty. There’s always an eclectic mix of diners, long table seating by the huge windows or counter seats looking into the kitchen, lots of great food and interesting cocktail and kombucha choices. Best of all, if you go alone, you won’t have to share the deep-fried kimchi with anyone. Read our Soup Ramen once over here.
Loose Canon, Drury Street
You’re never alone when you have cheese, and adding a glass of wine pretty much makes it a party. Eating for one means you’re more likely to elbow some space at Loose Canon’s window, or grab the lovely bench outside on warmer days and watch Dublin stroll by. The vibes in here make it very conducive to making new friends.
Mister S, Camden Street
We love new arrival Mister S and would take any opportunity to go there and down a Fred Flintstone portion of the Angus shortrib without any help. Plus, we’re suckers for window seats and the ones here are some nicest in town. Read out Mister S once over here.
As One, City Quay
With a menu and space designed around wellbeing and gut-health, it’s no surprise that As One is the ideal place for you to sit back, relax and take your time over a bright plate of seasonal salads, or a hearty beef bone broth and think about what delightful company you really are.
777, South Great George’s Street
Dining alone but not in the mood for peace and quiet? Head to 777, get a seat at the bar, and tuck in to diverse Mexican dishes like pig's head carnitas and yellowfun tuna tostada's. Ask for the tequila list, strike up a conversation with your neighbours, and it could be the start of something special. Read our 777 once over here.
Etto, Merrion Row & Uno Mas, Aungier Street
No list on solo dining in Dublin would be complete without Etto, the go-to for many a solo diner over the years thanks to their lovely bar counter, excellent wine list, and great value. They’ve also replicated this in sister-restaurant Uno Mas on Aungier Street if you’re looking for a little Spanish flair.
Howth newcomer Mamó has only just opened its doors but one of the first things we spotted was the lovely counter wrapped around the bar. It's a pretty idyllic place to sit having a few small plates of cod taramasalata on confit potato chips and lobster croquettes, sipping on lovely wines and gazing out at the harbour.