Dining solo can be a genuinely enjoyable experience. Whether you’re visiting town alone or whether you’re just not in the mood to talk or share a bite off your plate, Houston has many restaurants where you can enjoy a good meal unaccompanied. Here are some suggestions.
Food halls are a solo diner’s dream. Not only do they offer a variety of food options and drinks under one roof, they offer an abundance of counter and communal seating perfect to enjoy a meal alone. Plus, their casual vibe will make you feel welcome. Finn Hall in Downtown Houston has 10 independently owned restaurants, including local favorites like Dish Society, Craft Burger and Goode Co Taqueria, and a bar. It’s open until 9 p.m. on weekdays, 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 8 p.m. on Sundays.
Sushi bars are perfect spots for solo dining, and at the stunning MF Sushi in the Museum District, you’d be hard pressed not to ditch your phone to focus on appreciating the craftsmanship of the sushi chef behind the bar. Treat yourself to chef Chris Kinjo’s omakase tasting for an unforgettable experience or enjoy MF’s prepared dishes, which include shrimp tempura and tuna tataki.
For a delicious breakfast or lunch surrounded by beauty, head over to The Dunlavy in Buffalo Bayou Park. Chef Jane Wild’s menu focuses on seasonal and housemade ingredients. Order the market salad, a short-rib sandwich or a breakfast bowl and grab a seat in the restaurant’s patio overlooking the park. We can’t think of a better place to have a meal alone enjoying the scenery or in the company of a good book. The Dunlavy is open every day from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sitting alone in bustling café can be a pleasurable experience. May we suggest you consider Bobby Heugel and Justin Yu’s new all-day cafe and wine bar, Penny Quarter? The beautifully designed café has ample bar seating, a communal table and comfortable chairs to enjoy a glass of wine or an Irish coffee. But this isn’t just a coffee house. Penny Quarter serves breakfast and lunch until 3 p.m. when the dinner menu kicks in. If you’re in the mood for a snack, try the hard-boiled eggs with mayo and caviar or the sweet pea and chorizo fritters from the dinner menu. Hungry for more? Try the fried chicken sandwich or the bistro steak.
Who says you can enjoy a good craft beer alone? At Buffalo Bayou Brewing’s new three-story location, you can enjoy a good brew and good grub. The brewery’s second floor is a restaurant, where you can get a seat at the high top tables or on the small balcony overlooking Houston’s downtown without feeling awkward. What’s best is that chef Arash Kharat is dishing out some tasty wings, salads, burgers and 72-hour fermented pizzas that you must try. The brewery recently added lunch service starting every day at 11 a.m.
With seating at the bar tucked away in the back of the restaurant where you can slurp your noodles in peace, Jinya Ramen in Midtown is a good choice for a solo meal. Enjoy eating that steaming bowl of soup without having to utter a word to anyone but your friendly server with the buzz of a bustling restaurant as perfect background noise. Slurp, slurp. If not in the mood for noodles, Jinya also offers rice bowls and curries, and it has several other locations in Houston, including one in the Houston Heights.
Yes, chef Ryan Pera’s seasonal Italian cooking is ideal to enjoy with a friend or two, but you don’t need company to have a good meal at Coltivare – and it may make it easier for you to find a seat). The cozy atmosphere and variety of dish sizes (two small dishes make a great meal for one) make it easy to satisfy your cravings. The tiny bar can feel a little cramped but it’s a good spot to enjoy your solo meal. Make sure you get there early or be prepared to wait since the restaurant doesn’t take reservations. If the bar is too busy, a table for one on the patio is also a good choice.
We already talked about why chef halls make a good choice for solo dining, and if you’re in the mood to treat yourself to an upscale culinary experience, Bravery Chef Hall has some killer options. The chef-driven hall has nine restaurants, including The Blind Goat by chef TKTKT, chef Richard Knight’s Atlas Diner, and Cherry Block by Felix Flores and chef Jess Desham Timmons. With a wine bar, a cocktail bar and a patio bar, you can also treat yourself to a drink.