Dining alone, especially while in Paris, can be fantastic — as long as you find the right place to go.
Restaurants that have mostly tables of four, big groups, shared tables, long waitlists (how dare that one woman take up a three-person table!) — these are the conditions that make solo diners uncomfortable because their singularity is on display.
Next time you’re in Paris alone, head to one of these 9 restaurants for a good meal with a book, a notebook, or maybe just yourself. Sometimes that’s all the company you need.
In tourist-flooded Latin Quarter, few eateries feel truly authentic to the area. La Fourmi Ailée, a restaurant and tea salon, is an exception. Seated in a big open room of tables and worn, yellow booths, paintings and many floating bookshelves, and a ceiling painted to look like a sky, you will feel right at home. The menu is simple French food, offering dishes like quiche provençale, vegetarian lasagna with seasonal vegetables and various cuts of meat. Those with a sweet tooth or who prefer to come in for tea time will appreciate the selection of teas and tartes (we recommend the tarte au citron). Open from noon to midnight, it’s the kind of place you could spend an entire afternoon or evening.
Fringe mixes food, coffee and photography in an American-style coffee shop setting. Blonde wood tables, light fixtures like clouds, and carefully curated photographs decorate the small space, which seats less than 15 people (small enough to be cozy, but not so small you feel on display). Offering breakfast, lunch, baked goods and hot drinks, Fringe attracts expats, neighborhood locals, and creatives; you’re sure to see at least one other person dining alone. The food is made with seasonal, mostly organic and locally sourced ingredients. On the list of musts are their tartines, cinnamon buns and exceptional coffee.
The vegan and vegetarian health food cafe has become all the rage in Paris in recent years, and for good reason. It’s Los Angeles-meets-Paris ambiance is nothing but good. With plenty of two-person tables, a Parisian fast-casual dining vibe, and happy diners focused on themselves — intellectuals on a passion project, friends on their gossip — Wild & the Moon is ideal for solo travelers. A (delicious) granola or power bowl will set you back about 10€, as will a smoothie, and coffee drinks are 3€ to 6€.
L’Avant Comptoir de la Mer is the hidden seafood tapas bar of Comptoir, a restaurant with a month-long waitlist. Through the plastic flap doorway next to the seafood counter, you’ll find a long, narrow room with a bar, two high-top tables and a wall of wine. Sit at the bar and a server will immediately offer a glass of wine and bring a small mountain of butter with a basket of bread. The menu hangs on cards from the ceiling and specials are scrawled on a chalkboard, featuring options like Coquilles Saint-Jacques, ceviche de pistou, and chaud-froid de moules . Select three or four for yourself and enjoy the waiters’ banter and the exquisite food.
An old haunt of Paris’ theatrical crowd, Le Loir dans la Théière has developed a more touristy vibe over the years, but it is still undeniably perfect for eating alone. Lines to get in often form around lunch time, so it’s best to go on the earlier or later side, or else for afternoon tea. The eclectic seating — a couch here, a two-person table there — provides plenty of options. Be warned, the café has a no-cellphone policy, so pack a notebook, book or a few postcards and a pen to keep yourself occupied. And whatever you do, save room for the best and biggest piece of tarte citron you could dream of.
As suggested by the name, Hana Bento offers bento boxes and other Japanese Fare. At the Paradis location, enter on the first floor and order a bento box, donburi, udon or poké (all are 12€ to 14€). Take your number and head upstairs where you’ll find two-person seating in a room with minimalist Japanese decor. The food is good, the service is fast, and the space is cozy and comfortable to be alone in.
A food hall run by the Italian restaurant group Big Mamma, La Felicita is the largest restaurant in Europe. Such an enormous space might seem intimidating to eat alone in, but it’s actually perfect. There’s plenty of seating for a solo diner, from comfy chairs to tables for two to bar seating, and there are so many people doing their own thing, no one will have their eyes on you. Boasting fresh roasted coffee, homemade pasta and pizza, and an impressive drinks list, the dining experience, though on the pricier side, doesn’t disappoint. Wifi is free and the building remains open even when there’s no food service, so you’re welcome to sit and read and plan your next adventure. (Pro tip: check out the restrooms, trust us.)