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10 Great Places To Dine Alone in L.A.

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Fri, Feb 3, 2012 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge Alone at The Biltmore Hotel - JOSÉPHINE RUNNEBOOM/FLICKR
"A is for dining alone," M.F.K. Fisher wrote in An Alphabet for Gourmets, "...and so am I, if a choice must be made between most people I know and myself." We feel ya, Fisher.

Like Fisher, we would much rather dine alone, or not at all, if the alternative is being forced to indulge some twat droning on and on about their so-called life, or to endure that awkward moment when all diners' shared interests have been thoroughly hashed and it's not even dessert yet.

Poor Fisher found 1949 Los Angeles a bit hostile to the idea of a woman eating alone in a restaurant. While some restaurants today still aren't quite optimal for singles -- dishes served family-style, for example, or tables so uncomfortably big that you feel like Edith Ann -- Fisher nonetheless would have been in a good company of misanthropes, introverts, alone-but-not-lonelies who eat alone, and eat well, in the city. In no particular order, here are our favorite spots to dine alone. Comfortably. Happily. Shamelessly.

click to enlarge Brunch at The Bazaar - MYLASTBITE/FLICKR
10. The Bazaar

Don't bring a book with you to the Bazaar. Now, you have a perfect excuse to let your eyes wander and watch an NBA star try to eat foam off a tiny spoon. Yes, we know that the true Angeleno does not gawk at celebrities. But. If there is an exception to this rule, it's at The Bazaar, where even the name of the restaurant hints that everything inside is intended to be ogled. Any of the bars are comfortable, and if it's early enough, don't feel self-conscious about sitting at your own table. Surely there's too much going on for anyone to pay much attention to you watching them. 465 S. La Cienega Blvd.; Los Angeles; (310) 246-5555.

click to enlarge Olives at Lucques - JMR_PHOTOGRAPHY/FLICKR
9. Lucques

Sitting at the bar at Lucques has its perks: not only do you get to watch fantastic seasonal cocktails made from scratch, but you have access to the restaurant's full menu as well as a bar-only one that offers relatively simpler fare like spaghetti carbonara and a grilled cheese sandwich with roasted shallots. If you don't feel like chatting up the bartender, there's enough lighting here so you can read a book along with your meal. 8474 Melrose Ave. West Hollywood; (323) 655-6277.

click to enlarge Le Comptoir - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • Le Comptoir
8. Le Comptoir

Say for once you actually do feel like hanging out with people - just not the ones you already know. At Le Comptoir at Tiara Cafe, Chef Gary Menes focuses on the best of the season's ingredients and showcases it all in a five-course pre-fixe menu. Twelve seats in this pop-up are at the counter, so the entire night will feel like an informal, cozy din(n)er party with great conversation and even better food. You can make a reservation or walk in after 9:30. 127 E. 9th St. Los Angeles; (424) 571-3536.

click to enlarge Seared Diver Scallop at Providence - MUY YUM/FLICKR
7. Providence

Surely the culinary equivalent of buying yourself velvet slippers, cashmere socks, velvet pants, and a cashmere turtleneck on Treat Yourself Day is treating yourself to a meal at Providence. Grab a seat at the bar during dinner hours or get a table all for yourself during the restaurant's Friday-only lunch hours. Wherever you sit, the staff walks that fine line between attentiveness and overbearing. Treat. Yo. Self. 5955 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles; (323) 460-4170.

click to enlarge Sotto's pizza - RYAN TANAKA/SOTTO
  • Ryan Tanaka/Sotto
  • Sotto's pizza
6. Sotto

The atmosphere at Sotto is boisterous, loud, and relentlessly welcoming no matter how many people you are with (or without). Per usual, the best seat for just you is probably at the bar, where you can order pizzas, pastas, and an excellent porcetto sandwich from the full menu. As an added bonus, you are in the perfect place to watch excellent cocktails mixed, shaken, and stirred. 9575 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles; (310) 277-0210.

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