Dining out alone. Some people do it with not a care in the world. Some would never dream of it. And some of us would love to eat out more but find ourselves in a strange city or surrounded by unenthusiastic, non-foodie friends (we hear rumours they do exist, kind of like those strange creatures who aren't into music). This list is for the latter folk. If we were in L.A. there would be an app for that: one that organises nightly dinners among strangers at communal tables. But here in Melbourne, we simply have to be content with places where you can feel at home alone or be suitably occupied in-between courses. For times when the thought of instant tom yum for one—again—is too much to bear, here are 8 of the best Melbourne eateries in which to go solo.
1. The modern trend of bars that do great food and restaurants that are equally drinks-focussed has been a boon for the solo diner due to a plethora of perfect-for-the-singleton stools and their casual vibe. Melbourne restaurant, Waterslide has these plus an interactive menu to keep one distracted! It's like an activity book for adults with sections to scribble on and personalise. Order the hand harvested sardines with crusty bread and glass of Artadi Estate Tempranillo for a mini-Spanish feast.
2. The guilty pleasure is often enjoyed by oneself. Milk the Cow's individual fondue pots are the perfect portion for one. You won't want to share or even to go through the motions of feigning politeness by offering your companion a bite. Do go for their ultimate fondue with three types of cheese melted with cognac, sparkling wine and truffled honey. Oh yeah, you won't care what anybody else is thinking of you eating that.
3. Dress up a little. Catch an Uber. Treat yo'self. Choose a Melbourne restaurant that’s a bit classic or glam, sidle up to the counter and pretend that you are some mysterious stranger in an old movie. Make everyone wonder, not "where are your friends?" but rather, "how can I become one?" Mediterranean joints like Pellegrini's, Movida or Bar Di Stasio seem to encapsulate this vibe best. After a couple glasses of vino and the attentions of the waitstaff you'll believe it yourself.
4. In today's shared plate culture, being wasteful or blowing the budget can be problematic when seated at a table for one. Happily, places like Gazi, Supernormal or Feast of Merit do half serves of some of their dishes. Single people deserve that banquet feeling too you know.
5. Sure you can always chat to your waiter, but why not go one further and trade banter with your chef? The very open kitchen of Wasshoi's Sumibi bar allows just that as you wait for your grilled meat treats and an icy Japanese beer or sake. Surrounded by Prahran Market, there's plenty of colour, movement and buzz to keep one occupied.
6. And if you still can't get over your perceived stigma of dining alone you can always do it in the dark. Cinema Nova offers high tea at the movies so you can nibble away in seclusion. Pimm's and dainty sandwiches for the win!
Looking for a group dining experience? Check out Melbourne's Best Venues For Private Partying.
Image credit: Gazi by Jenna Fahey White for The Urban List