San Francisco has plenty of bars and restaurants well-suited for those enjoying a solo meal. Whether due to the last-minute realization that you’re out of groceries or because your flaky friend ditched at the 11th hour or simply because sometimes the best company is no company aside from yourself, the bliss of enjoying a restaurant alone can be a true pleasure. Here are a dozen San Francisco restaurants worthy of your next night out on the town alone.Read More
12 Restaurants Perfect for a Solo Meal in San Francisco
Excellent breakfast, lunch, and dinner options for the solo diner
The Buena Vista
Yes, it’s a tourist destination often clogged with camera-wielding out-of-towners. But this San Francisco institution is also a neighborhood haunt and the bartenders often greet regulars with a friendly nod as they scoot up to a table or belly up to the bar. This bar and restaurant is much more than just a coffee cocktail innovator — though do make sure to try Buena Vista’s Irish coffee. It pairs well with the unfussy menu of breakfast, sandwiches, and entrees like corned beef and fish and chips.
The Brazen Head
It’s easy enough to slide into a booth and feel hidden away from the rest of the world at this cozy Cow Hollow staple, a favorite for post-shift dinner and drinks since the restaurant serves until midnight. It’s a meaty, comforting menu with options such as French onion gratinee and a number of steaks, but the pro move is to order the prime rib, which comes with a side of creamy spinach.
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For those seeking a place to be alone in the crowd, the bustling hallways of Japantown’s two malls make the perfect escape. After you peruse every aisle at Daiso, duck into the warm wood-wrapped dining room at Udon Mugizo for a bowl of heart-warming udon. The bouncy noodles are made on-site and are perfectly slurpable whether swimming in a rich tonkotsu broth or drenched in Parmesan cheese sauce.
Bodega is the kind of family establishment with plenty of love to share. There’s a love between the staff and love for the food, including bo tai chanh and drinks like Vietnamese iced coffee. Considered one of the best new restaurants in San Francisco, this Vietnamese restaurant’s rebirth comes after Matt Ho’s family closed its restaurant of the same name after 14 years in the Tenderloin. Yes, it’s a feel-good comeback story. And it’s a mighty enough tale to be enjoyed all on your own.
Pearl has been a gem of the Richmond District dining scene for years and remains that way for good reason; the menu starts with snacks such as oysters and marinated olives, perfect pairings for a glass of wine or as a preamble to fresh pasta and entrees such as sea bass with crispy potatoes. There are nine bar seats held for walk-ins, making it a little easier for a solo diner to pop in without having to wait.
The Anchovy Bar
The latest offering from the acclaimed State Bird Provisions team, Anchovy Bar indulges chef Stuart Brioza’s obsession with glittering little fish. It’s an itty bitty restaurant tucked around the corner from State Bird, but getting a seat on the parklet or in the dining room is just a smidge easier if you’re riding solo. And good news: because the menu is built around small plates of cured in-house fish and fresh oysters, even a single diner can get a taste of several items. Live it up with a glass of orange wine or a frothy spritz for the full experience.
The ultimate treat-yourself moment in San Francisco might be sauntering into two-Michelin-star Saison, which now accepts walk-ins at the bar Tuesday through Thursday. You can’t do a full tasting menu or a full meal, really, but you can dive into the extensive wine list or order a cocktail, along with the restaurant’s ultra-decadent uni toast. It’ll set you back $48 but this is, after all, an occasion to splurge.
The bartenders at A Mano are hip and knowledgeable and will talk about their favorite David Bowie songs while pouring glasses of Hibiki whiskey and red wine. The focaccia with tapenade is a lovely companion for an solo feast of pizza and pasta with a glass of good Italian wine.
The Nopa neighborhood continues to love this causal, high-ceilinged restaurant where the menu reflects whatever’s in season and dishes might be kissed by smoke from the kitchen’s wood grill. The burger is famous but a slew of smaller plates such as fried anchovies, baked lamb meatballs, and wood-baked gigante beans makes it easy to assemble a feast for one.
With all bar seating and a competitive scene to nab a reservation, gambling on walking in at Handroll Project might be a solo diner's best bet to squeeze in. It’s worth the trouble to eat your way through a 5 or 7-piece set of high-quality temaki. A sushi chef will craft each to order, so you can make the meal as quick or as leisurely as you please. There’s not a single flop in the mix but don’t skip the QR code menu of specials — that’s where you’ll find some of the best dishes on the list.
Outlerlands is a popular neighborhood haunt for brunch and dinner out by the beach. That means you can count on a motley crew of regulars filling the dining room at any time, a crowd you can easily blend into even if it’s your first time exploring the menu of unfussy, seasonal cuisine. For brunch, don’t skip the seasonal toast and sweet Dutch pancake; for dinner, a market salad and roasted chicken make for a filling meal — likely with leftovers to spare.
The team behind Flour + Water Pasta Shop didn’t just renovate the space for fun — they did so in part to create more seating for walk-ins and solo diners from adjacent restaurant Penny Roma. That means this is now a haven for parties of one looking to drop by for fresh pasta and crudo. There are bar seats with a view of the pasta-making action and a communal table if you crave a little unfamiliar company. You can’t go wrong with an order of tonnarelli cacio e pepe.
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