Table for One: The Joy of Eating Alone as a Solo Woman Traveller

by | Oct 1, 2019

Three long tables with dinners chatting and eating outside
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Last updated on April 21st, 2024

Dining alone as a solo woman traveller doesn’t have to be lonely

By Nancy Simpson, Guest Writer

Eating alone as a solo woman traveller is not my idea of fun. I would often order room service or hide behind a newspaper in a trendy restaurant. But there comes a time when you just have to get out of your comfort zone.

I now know that eating alone doesn’t have to be lonesome. After retiring at age 55, I set out on a journey to try something new each week for an entire year. This included eating on my own! I have come to like eating alone and starting conversations. Nervous at first, I now feel comfortable. When you actually take the time to chat with people, you realize that everyone has a story to tell. I particularly enjoy talking to millennials, listening to their points of view on our world today and tomorrow.

Three ways to feel comfortable eating alone

Here are three ways I’ve found inspiration for eating alone when dining solo:

1. EatWith

One of my highlights in 2016 was discovering EatWith. My daughter told me about this unique opportunity to dine in a local home with guests from around the world. EatWith was started by two enterprising entrepreneurs in 2014, and today there are thousands of people who host on EatWith.

My first experience was at an Italian dinner on the Lower East Side of New York City. Among the eight of us around the table: A young model from Paris, a visitor from Argentina, two colleagues from CNN and two friends celebrating a 21st birthday! Feeling like the older matriarch at the table at first, I quickly relaxed. Everybody has a story, and once you realize that, chatting is fluid and fun. My EatWith experience roster now includes stops in Barcelona, Prague and Salzburg.

2. Quinta do Conde

There are many companies that follow a similar formula to EatWith for solo travelers.

A highlight of my summer this year: A farm-to-table event in Prince Edward County (Ontario, Canada) at Quinta do Conde, which hosts several dinners throughout the year. The experience: 25 guests exploring the farm, breaking bread together in the old barn, sitting on mismatched antique dining chairs at long tables, and enjoying an in-season, farm-fresh meal

Diners sitting at a long table outside under the trees

For solo women, finding a restaurant with communal tables can help  / Photo credit Qunita de Conde

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3. Communal Dining Tables

If you’re not into booking a seat for dinner ahead of time, there are restaurants around the world that are now designed with communal harvest tables, often referred to as “family style” dining. You can also take a spot at any restaurant bar.

When visiting New Orleans this summer, I found myself hopping on a bar stool at Boil Seafood in the Garden District to join other solo diners, sharing vacation stories. In any case, you’ll be seated with others with the idea that you will be able to spark a conversation with the person next to you. Try it – eating alone gets easier as you go along!


More Food and Drink to Savour

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