Washingtonian Recommends: The Best Restaurants in DC to Dine Solo

The top tasting menus and casual meals for a party of one.
Washingtonian Recommends: The Best Restaurants in DC to Dine Solo
The best seat at Bad Saint gives solo diners a front-row view of the wok action. Photo by Scott Suchman.
Washingtonian Recommends

Our Washingtonian Recommends lists bring you the best places to eat, drink, and be entertained—all selected by Washingtonian editors.

Forget whatever stigma you might have about dining solo. You don’t need friends or a date to enjoy some of DC’s best restaurants. In fact, many places welcome single diners like VIPs. Here are a few top spots to treat yo’ self.

Bad Saint
3226 11th St., NW

With only 24 seats and long lines, this modern Filipino restaurant can be a pain to get into. But here’s a little secret: it’s a little easier if you’re a party of one. Not only that, but the best seat in the house is a single stool so close to the kitchen you’re practically in it. It’s the perfect perch to catch some wok action as you dig into chef Tom Cunanan’s funky, transportive cooking.

Daikaya
705 6th St., NW

Eating ramen really should be a solo activity. You don’t want any distractions for those first few bites when the noodles still have the perfect chew. It’s no wonder that one of the most popular ramen chains in Japan, Ichiran, lets diners eat in partitioned cubbies with minimal human contact. Daikaya, on the other hand, is more lively than isolating, but it is a great place to devote your full attention to the springy noodles and nuanced 16-hour stock.

The Red Hen
1822 1st St., NW

The best place to sit at Bloomingdale’s go-to Italian-ish restaurant is the U-shaped bar that dominates the dining room. It also happens to be an excellent place to post up when you don’t want to share your pasta. Our go-to order is a glass of orange wine or bitter-leaning cocktail with a bowl of the classic rigatoni with fennel-sausage ragu.

Donburi
2438 18th St., NW; 1134 19th St., NW

Grab a counter stool for a view of the kitchen at this restaurant specializing in Japanese rice bowls. We love the thick slices of fatty salmon sashimi accompanied by pickles and fresh wasabi, but the expert frying tempts us to the miso and soy-marinated chicken karaage or panko-coated shrimp. It’s a quick meal but worth lingering for some sparkling sake at the Adams Morgan location, or frozen sake in Dupont.

Pineapple and Pearls
715 8th St., SE

Can’t find a dining companion willing to throw down a couple hundred bucks on a blow-out meal? No problem at Aaron Silverman‘s fine-dining mecca. One of Washington’s best restaurants is more than accommodating to solo diners with ticketed reservations at the bar for $225—including tax and tip but excluding drinks. (It gets around 16 solo diners per month.) The whimsical tasting menu and engaging staff provide all the entertainment you’ll need.

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Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.