Solo travel, which is increasingly popular, has plenty of advantages, but eating alone in restaurants is the single most common source of anxiety for solo travelers, according to surveys. Six ways to overcome this psychological challenge…
• Eat at food trucks or street food stands. In many cities, these are a great way to try interesting local foods for a very reasonable price—and because these are not sit-down restaurants and there probably will be other people just grabbing and eating, you won’t feel out of place or alone.
• Eat at restaurants with communal tables. To find restaurants that have large tables where patrons are supposed to dine together with strangers, search for the phrase “communal table” on foodie websites such as Yelp.com and Chowhound.com.
• Eat at coffee shops. Some coffee shops offer full menus. You’re unlikely to feel out of place dining alone there because most coffee shops are full of solo customers reading newspapers, typing away at their computers or staring at their smartphones.
• Eat at the bar. Dining alone at a restaurant’s bar doesn’t feel as odd as dining alone at a table because you’re not facing an empty chair. There sometimes are other patrons at the bar with whom you can chat…and if the bar is empty, the bartender might have time to chat.
• Sign up for a cooking class or food tour. You’ll do most or all of your eating with your classmates or tour group.
• Use the website/app VoulezVousDiner (VoulezVousDiner.com), the AirBnB of dining, to find residents in the area who invite guests into their homes for shared meals, typically for a reasonable price. These gatherings tend to be friendly, and the food often is excellent. This website is especially popular in the major cities of France, but it offers dining opportunities all around the globe.