Eating for One: Where to Dine Solo in Auckland
Dining out alone can sometimes feel like a daunting experience - we assure you, it shouldn’t have to be! Some (lucky) people have no hesitations about doing so, but for the rest of us, feeling comfortable might be a work in progress.
The eatery itself plays a huge role in how individuals will feel about eating there - certain places are definitely better at creating environments perfect for a party of one. Whether it be the seating style, table arrangement or simply the location itself, each plays an important role in making diners feel at home.
Words by: Nicole Mudgway
Photos by: Nancy Zhou & Supplied
Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau in particular tends to be pretty in tune with solo diners - to the extent that you won’t even miss having someone else to talk to. Plenty of restaurants offer seating at the bar to watch the chefs work their magic or meet new people; window seating for those who want to shamelessly people-watch or corner nooks for those who want to hide from the world. Feel liberated after working your way through our guide to eating out alone - and soon enough, eating out solo will never have felt so easy! Table for one? Yes, please.
86 Federal Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland
Given its proximity to the Sky Tower and several nearby hotels, it should come as no surprise that Depot is commonly frequented by tourists and diners visiting Auckland. With plentiful high tables, bar seating and a blanket ‘no’ on reservations, it’s the perfect place for those eating alone to squeeze in and watch the world (and its tourists) go by. Although the menu is designed to share, everything is still equally delicious when consumed by one - especially when paired with a glass of vino from the carefully curated wine list.
Ozone Coffee Roasters
1/18 Westmoreland Street West, Grey Lynn
Ozone Coffee Roasters is one of Auckland’s favourite brunch spots, and thanks to the enormous mainstay bar seating, solo diners should never have a problem nabbing a seat.
Centred around an open kitchen, the bar seats at Ozone are some of the best in the house - and certainly primed for catching the chefs hard at work. Watch the magic happen as the masters flip pancakes, whip up omelettes and plate meals with an impressively sophisticated touch. On weekdays, there is an abundance of choices (both inside and outside) for pulling out a laptop and doing some work or simply enjoying some peace and quiet.
Photo by: Alex Mcvinnie
Food courts are often busy places and when said food court is surrounded by multi-storied corporate buildings, there is definitely no exception. The stylish food court housed in Commercial Bay is frequently donned by city-slickers seeking easy meals and with the huge range of dining options available it’s not hard to see why. Catering to different budgets, tastes, dietaries and cuisine preferences, Commercial Bay is a one-stop shop for hungry bellies. There are also a whole bunch of seating options - so no two visits need ever feel the same.
1210 Great North Road, Point Chevalier (and other locations)
Featuring a mixture of teeny tables and large communal ones, it’s easy to feel right at home when you're eating alone in Daily Bread.
Daily Bread offers a particularly enticing cabinet crammed with freshly baked pastries, as well as mouth watering pies and some of the city’s best bread - made daily, of course. It’s one of the best cafés Auckland-wide to pull up a seat and do some work (if you’re that way inclined), with a wide assortment of goodies to keep you caffeinated and satisfied. Trust us, you won’t be the only one.
5 Fort Lane, Auckland
Tucked away in the city centre is Cassia, an innovative restaurant offering Indian food with a contemporary twist. Forever lively, it’s wise to visit with a booking - unless you are a party of one and can slot right in at the bar (and as an added bonus, you can’t reserve the bar seating). The dim lighting adds to the atmosphere whilst retaining an air of fun. Order from the a la carte menu, or hand over all decision making by opting for the five-course tasting degustation menu. The fresh flavours pair well with any of the handcrafted cocktails if you also fancy a tipple.
Photo by: Jerome Warburton
409 Mount Eden Road
The front of Pasta Cuore may be discrete, but inside you’ll find a relaxed, homely atmosphere with a quaint courtyard out back. The flavours are anything but discrete: as the name suggests, pasta is its claim to fame. Dining alone at Pasta Cuore is just like going to nonna’s house - welcoming, indulgent and you’ll never want to leave. Transport yourself to northern Italy in the leafy courtyard with a novel and glass of limoncello, or hide away inside, cosying up with the aroma of freshly made pasta. It’s not just pasta that gives this place its good name: all we can say is save room for dessert!
Photo: Stock image
Ponsonby Food Court
Tucked away upstairs on Ponsonby Road is the international Food Court, a melting pot of incredible cuisines from around the world. Entirely affordable, informal and extremely spacious, it’s one of the city's most obvious options for solo diners - especially those who may be feeling a little self conscious about doing so. It couldn’t be any more inconspicuous. Whether you want Vietnamese, Japanese, Malaysian or Thai (or something else entirely) you can take your time perusing your options and enjoying your meal, with the comfort of knowing that you won’t be hustled out for the next diners.
Photo: Stock image
405 Mount Eden Road
What better place to dine alone than at a ramen joint? Zool Zool is a little Mount Eden hideaway that conveniently offers some of the best bowls of noodles Auckland has to offer. It also happens to be the younger, more chilled sister to Auckland’s mouthwatering Kazuya. Watch the world go by as you slurp noodles from a perch in the window, or sit back with your thoughts as you sip some fine Japanese whisky or sake. While ramen is the obvious choice on the menu, for something a little different, opt for the ‘zoolmen’, featuring noodles in a reduced broth with vegetables (less liquid basically).
Photo: Stock image
319B Queen Street, Auckland CBD
One of Queen Street’s gems, Tanuki’s Cave is easy to miss but well worth the find. It’s cosy, fun and has delicious food, what more could you ever want? Tanuki’s Cave is perfect for solo diners, with wrap-around bar seating and a menu specialising in yakitori (assorted meat grilled on skewers) and kushiage (deep fried breadcrumbed skewers). Each dish comes out with two skewers, as it’s ready, so solo diners can enjoy building their own meal at a relatively reasonable price. Another restaurant that doesn’t accept bookings, the wrap-around bar means it’s easy for individuals to scooch their way in and potentially even make a new friend.
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