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Dining room of La Bonne Table, with an intimate bar, tables and bright interior.
Dining room of La Bonne Table.
La Bonne Table

Where to Dine Solo in San Diego

Eat a meal by yourself in comfortable bars and quiet dining rooms

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Dining room of La Bonne Table.
| La Bonne Table

When it comes to creating a true solo dining experience, some places are better than others. It’s gotta feel right. (You can’t be made to feel weird about it or like you’re taking up too much space or like your date ghosted you.) It’s gotta look right. (We’re leaving out places where you can dine alone and highlighting places where you should dine alone because they’re just lovely.) And it’s gotta taste right.

So whether you’re sitting down for a midweek lunch or taking yourself out for a special-occasion dinner, here’s where to enjoy a fabulous meal in your own company.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Lobster West

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765 S Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760) 634-1684
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Lobster roll lovers know that when the craving hits, it doesn’t matter if you’re alone or in a group of 20: You just need to make a beeline for the nearest source. This shaded spot in Encinitas is in the middle of one of San Diego’s more charming strip malls, but Lobster West operates another location in Coronado.

The exterior of Lobster West in Encinitas, with steps leading to a patio covered by a white roof. The door leading inside is in the background.
The exterior of Lobster West in Encinitas.
Lobster West

2. NINE-TEN Restaurant & Bar

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910 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA 92037
(858) 964-5400
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Whether you’re a tourist in the area or a local who wants to savor a well-crafted meal in an elegant setting, NINE-TEN delivers. Gracious bar seating is one option, but its tables for two are actually sized just right for one. Recent offerings include Japanese sweet potato agnolotti with thyme-roasted Bosc pear, Point Reyes blue cheese, and crispy Brussels sprout leaves, a roasted cauliflower steak with pine nuts, mint, parsley, raisins, cipollini onion, sprouting cauliflower, and a romesco yogurt sauce, and eight house cocktails.

Halibut with summer squash, zucchini and corn, displayed on a plate, photographed from above. The food is colorful and the plate is a dark slate.
Halibut with summer squash, zucchini and corn.
NINE-TEN

3. Taegukgi Korean BBQ

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7655 Clairemont Mesa Blvd #501
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 277-1554
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It’s hard to find an AYCE Korean barbecue spot that allows solo diners, but Taegukgi plays by different rules. So here, lone barbecue hunters can have it all: a spacious and bright dining room, friendly staff, and all the glorious sirloin, pork belly, and octopus they can devour (within the two-hour time limit).

4. Palmys Cafe

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976 Felspar St
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 886-7111
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This tranquil corner coffee shop and restaurant in Pacific Beach has always been a haven for solo diners, students, and bohemian souls, whether it was Cafe 976 back in the day, or any of its more recent reincarnations. This freshly updated, Aussie-inspired restaurant and cafe has tables scattered around its ample shaded garden. Grab a menu, grab a book, and commence your perfect afternoon.

Lucianna McIntosh

5. Woody's Breakfast & Burgers

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4111 Ocean Blvd
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 273-9663
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This unfussy beachfront eatery is the perfect spot to grab a simple, reassuring bite (breakfast burrito, yogurt bowl, chicken fingers, and more) and feast on the view.

6. Bleu Bohème

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4090 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 255-4167
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French comfort food, friendly staff, classic French mixed drinks, a covered patio, and a long bar that seems plucked out of a village in the Dordogne make this a lovely locale for a relaxed, indulgent meal.

Bleu Bohème’s long bar, with bottles of liquor on one side and tables on another. Above are wooded ceiling beams.
The bar at Bleu Bohème.
Bleu Bohème

7. Tajima Ramen North Park

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3015 Adams Ave #102b
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 756-7517
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Pair its from-scratch ramen (which comes in both classic and creative takes) with a seat at the bar or a communal table and you are set. Tajima’s locations around North Park, East Village, and a few other spots ensure that within central San Diego, ramen is just a bike ride or quick drive away.

8. Fort Oak

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1011 Fort Stockton Dr
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 722-3398
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This bustling Mission Hills restaurant is perfectly suited to people feasting alone. Find a perch at the bar, where you can survey the whole scene, inside and out, while savoring the creativity of chef Brad Wise.

The whimsical yet cool bar at Fort Oak, has tile floors, blue paneling and vintage industrial chairs.
The bar.
Fort Oak

9. Sushi Deli 1

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228 W Washington St
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 231-9597
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This casual sushi restaurant (with another location in Kearny Mesa) draws crowds for miles, and especially if you’re traveling light — solo, that is — it’s an easy spot to pop in, devour a roll or two, and take off.

10. La Bonne Table

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3696 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 260-8039
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For someone eating alone, this tiny gem of a French restaurant in Hillcrest might just feel like the hug you didn’t know you needed. Friendly staff, well-executed French standards, and a petite dining room scaled for intimacy (and eavesdropping, shh) all give this place its warm, welcoming aura.

11. Underbelly North Park

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3000 Upas St
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 487-9909
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One key advantage to dining solo at Underbelly: It will be a lot easier to find a table at this North Park hot spot, where lines at peak dining times can reach down the block. At off times, it’s a peaceful spot to grab a bowl of warm, silky goodness and take in the fresh air and the action on 30th Street.

12. Liberty Public Market

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2820 Historic Decatur Rd
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 487-9346
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This market has a daily and weekly rhythm: quiet hours, meal time hustles, the tourist frenzy. When you’re flying solo, any of these moments is perfect. Alone, you can weave through the crowds faster, find seating more easily and make decisions on the fly. Burger, oysters, or beignets? Yes, please. (Dinner seekers, be alerted that it shuts down on the early side — at 7 p.m.)

13. CUCINA urbana

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505 Laurel St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 239-2222
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This Bankers Hill institution may be great for large groups, girls nights and date night, but it’s also ideal for solo dining at the bar when you want to do right by yourself. You could go dainty, with a small plate or two. Or go Italian (pizza, pasta, yum). Or go umami (e.g., their roasted carrot, beet, goat cheese, hazelnut, and pomegranate mostarda). Or you could go big, with a whole roasted fish, a side of foccacia, and a bottle of their finest gruner Veltliner. 

Cucina URBANA’s dining room, with two tables against a wall. On the far side is bench seating with pillows in warm, subdued colors, and on the near side there are two chairs.
Cucina URBANA’s dining room.
Cucina URBANA

14. Point Loma Seafoods

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2805 Emerson St
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 223-1109
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This venerable waterfront restaurant and market is now almost 50 years old — it opened in 1963. Order some sushi, a seafood plate, or a seafood salad, then head up to the broad terrace for views of the bay and seagulls duking it out over fallen French fries.

A pair of gloved hands are preparing raw swordfish. The meat is a rosy pink color and the gloves are bright blue.
Swordfish being prepped at Point Loma Seafoods.
Point Loma Seafoods.

15. Little Italy Food Hall

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550 W Date St Suite B
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 269-7187
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There are many great places to dine solo in Little Italy, from casual pizza by the slice to somewhat more formal restaurants. This elevated food court, with its oblong bar dropped in the middle of the action and several excellent dining options (from rice bowls to gelato), might be the most exciting in terms of people-watching.

The food hall has soaring ceilings. In the background is vendor Mein St. Asian Kitchen. On the right is the bar.
Interior of the food hall.
Littly Italy Food Hall

16. Westgate Dining Room Plaza Bar

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Civic Ctr Wy
San Diego, CA 92101

This upscale piano bar has a rotating roster of performers, such as jazz trumpet great Gilbert Castellanos and versatile jazz flutist Holly Hofmann. On the menu: seafood chowder, Kobe burger, a black truffle and leek quiche, and feeling like royalty (or James Bond).

1. Lobster West

765 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024
The exterior of Lobster West in Encinitas, with steps leading to a patio covered by a white roof. The door leading inside is in the background.
The exterior of Lobster West in Encinitas.
Lobster West

Lobster roll lovers know that when the craving hits, it doesn’t matter if you’re alone or in a group of 20: You just need to make a beeline for the nearest source. This shaded spot in Encinitas is in the middle of one of San Diego’s more charming strip malls, but Lobster West operates another location in Coronado.

765 S Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024

2. NINE-TEN Restaurant & Bar

910 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037
Halibut with summer squash, zucchini and corn, displayed on a plate, photographed from above. The food is colorful and the plate is a dark slate.
Halibut with summer squash, zucchini and corn.
NINE-TEN

Whether you’re a tourist in the area or a local who wants to savor a well-crafted meal in an elegant setting, NINE-TEN delivers. Gracious bar seating is one option, but its tables for two are actually sized just right for one. Recent offerings include Japanese sweet potato agnolotti with thyme-roasted Bosc pear, Point Reyes blue cheese, and crispy Brussels sprout leaves, a roasted cauliflower steak with pine nuts, mint, parsley, raisins, cipollini onion, sprouting cauliflower, and a romesco yogurt sauce, and eight house cocktails.

910 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA 92037

3. Taegukgi Korean BBQ

7655 Clairemont Mesa Blvd #501, San Diego, CA 92111

It’s hard to find an AYCE Korean barbecue spot that allows solo diners, but Taegukgi plays by different rules. So here, lone barbecue hunters can have it all: a spacious and bright dining room, friendly staff, and all the glorious sirloin, pork belly, and octopus they can devour (within the two-hour time limit).

7655 Clairemont Mesa Blvd #501
San Diego, CA 92111

4. Palmys Cafe

976 Felspar St, San Diego, CA 92109
Lucianna McIntosh

This tranquil corner coffee shop and restaurant in Pacific Beach has always been a haven for solo diners, students, and bohemian souls, whether it was Cafe 976 back in the day, or any of its more recent reincarnations. This freshly updated, Aussie-inspired restaurant and cafe has tables scattered around its ample shaded garden. Grab a menu, grab a book, and commence your perfect afternoon.

976 Felspar St
San Diego, CA 92109

5. Woody's Breakfast & Burgers

4111 Ocean Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109

This unfussy beachfront eatery is the perfect spot to grab a simple, reassuring bite (breakfast burrito, yogurt bowl, chicken fingers, and more) and feast on the view.

4111 Ocean Blvd
San Diego, CA 92109

6. Bleu Bohème

4090 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
Bleu Bohème’s long bar, with bottles of liquor on one side and tables on another. Above are wooded ceiling beams.
The bar at Bleu Bohème.
Bleu Bohème

French comfort food, friendly staff, classic French mixed drinks, a covered patio, and a long bar that seems plucked out of a village in the Dordogne make this a lovely locale for a relaxed, indulgent meal.

4090 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116

7. Tajima Ramen North Park

3015 Adams Ave #102b, San Diego, CA 92116

Pair its from-scratch ramen (which comes in both classic and creative takes) with a seat at the bar or a communal table and you are set. Tajima’s locations around North Park, East Village, and a few other spots ensure that within central San Diego, ramen is just a bike ride or quick drive away.

3015 Adams Ave #102b
San Diego, CA 92116

8. Fort Oak

1011 Fort Stockton Dr, San Diego, CA 92103
The whimsical yet cool bar at Fort Oak, has tile floors, blue paneling and vintage industrial chairs.
The bar.
Fort Oak

This bustling Mission Hills restaurant is perfectly suited to people feasting alone. Find a perch at the bar, where you can survey the whole scene, inside and out, while savoring the creativity of chef Brad Wise.

1011 Fort Stockton Dr
San Diego, CA 92103

9. Sushi Deli 1

228 W Washington St, San Diego, CA 92103

This casual sushi restaurant (with another location in Kearny Mesa) draws crowds for miles, and especially if you’re traveling light — solo, that is — it’s an easy spot to pop in, devour a roll or two, and take off.

228 W Washington St
San Diego, CA 92103

10. La Bonne Table

3696 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

For someone eating alone, this tiny gem of a French restaurant in Hillcrest might just feel like the hug you didn’t know you needed. Friendly staff, well-executed French standards, and a petite dining room scaled for intimacy (and eavesdropping, shh) all give this place its warm, welcoming aura.

3696 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92103

11. Underbelly North Park

3000 Upas St, San Diego, CA 92104

One key advantage to dining solo at Underbelly: It will be a lot easier to find a table at this North Park hot spot, where lines at peak dining times can reach down the block. At off times, it’s a peaceful spot to grab a bowl of warm, silky goodness and take in the fresh air and the action on 30th Street.

3000 Upas St
San Diego, CA 92104

12. Liberty Public Market

2820 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106

This market has a daily and weekly rhythm: quiet hours, meal time hustles, the tourist frenzy. When you’re flying solo, any of these moments is perfect. Alone, you can weave through the crowds faster, find seating more easily and make decisions on the fly. Burger, oysters, or beignets? Yes, please. (Dinner seekers, be alerted that it shuts down on the early side — at 7 p.m.)

2820 Historic Decatur Rd
San Diego, CA 92106

13. CUCINA urbana

505 Laurel St, San Diego, CA 92101
Cucina URBANA’s dining room, with two tables against a wall. On the far side is bench seating with pillows in warm, subdued colors, and on the near side there are two chairs.
Cucina URBANA’s dining room.
Cucina URBANA

This Bankers Hill institution may be great for large groups, girls nights and date night, but it’s also ideal for solo dining at the bar when you want to do right by yourself. You could go dainty, with a small plate or two. Or go Italian (pizza, pasta, yum). Or go umami (e.g., their roasted carrot, beet, goat cheese, hazelnut, and pomegranate mostarda). Or you could go big, with a whole roasted fish, a side of foccacia, and a bottle of their finest gruner Veltliner. 

505 Laurel St
San Diego, CA 92101

14. Point Loma Seafoods

2805 Emerson St, San Diego, CA 92106
A pair of gloved hands are preparing raw swordfish. The meat is a rosy pink color and the gloves are bright blue.
Swordfish being prepped at Point Loma Seafoods.
Point Loma Seafoods.

This venerable waterfront restaurant and market is now almost 50 years old — it opened in 1963. Order some sushi, a seafood plate, or a seafood salad, then head up to the broad terrace for views of the bay and seagulls duking it out over fallen French fries.

2805 Emerson St
San Diego, CA 92106

15. Little Italy Food Hall

550 W Date St Suite B, San Diego, CA 92101
The food hall has soaring ceilings. In the background is vendor Mein St. Asian Kitchen. On the right is the bar.
Interior of the food hall.
Littly Italy Food Hall

There are many great places to dine solo in Little Italy, from casual pizza by the slice to somewhat more formal restaurants. This elevated food court, with its oblong bar dropped in the middle of the action and several excellent dining options (from rice bowls to gelato), might be the most exciting in terms of people-watching.

550 W Date St Suite B
San Diego, CA 92101

Related Maps

16. Westgate Dining Room Plaza Bar

Civic Ctr Wy, San Diego, CA 92101

This upscale piano bar has a rotating roster of performers, such as jazz trumpet great Gilbert Castellanos and versatile jazz flutist Holly Hofmann. On the menu: seafood chowder, Kobe burger, a black truffle and leek quiche, and feeling like royalty (or James Bond).

Civic Ctr Wy
San Diego, CA 92101

Related Maps