Will That Be a Table for One?

Fast Company focuses on five restaurants where solo diners can go for more than a good meal.

When you're on the road, eating alone can be a terrible way to end your day. But thanks to the growing popularity of a glorious Old World tradition — the communal table — dining out in the new economy doesn't have to be a solo experience. The following table offers details on five restaurants where solo diners can enjoy both good food and lively conversation. Sit at the table of your choice.

Where Cuisine/Cost Specials Seating Scene
Asia de Cuba,
Morgans Hotel

New York City
212-726-7755

Asia de Cuba's Asian and Latino entrées range from $16 to $30 per plate. Featured items include an oxtail spring roll, Chino-Latino spiced chicken, and warm Asian pear cake. A 50-foot marble table that seats 32 people is the focal point of this stylish restaurant. The portions are designed to promote sharing. Asia de Cuba attracts a trendy New York crowd. So expect to see celebrities from the worlds of business and entertainment.
Bice, Grand
Bay Hotel

Coconut Grove,
Florida
305-860-0960

Bice's northern Italian luncheon offerings run from $13 to $17. Dinners range from $25 to $32. Start with the penne arrabbiata and osso buco. Finish with the tiramisu. At a "corporate-women's table," female travelers gather in a spot that overlooks palm trees and other tropical foliage. Conversation at the corporate-women's table can cross industries and borders, but it blends right in with Bice's quiet, elegant setting.
Cafe Pasqual's

Santa Fe,
New Mexico
505-983-9340

Cafe Pasqual's Mexican- and New Mexican-style breakfasts and lunches are a bargain. Dinner, however, can get expensive. The restaurant's huevos motuleños, New Mexico rack of lamb, and toasted piñon ice cream will meet your needs — morning, noon, and night. A table for 12 sits at the center of the restaurant. The mood is friendly. One couple who met there named their child Pasqual. A large mural and hand-painted Mexican tiles decorate the dining room, which is visited by tourists and business travelers alike.
Dan & Louis' Oyster Bar

Portland,
Oregon
503-227-5906

If you want to belly up to Dan & Louis' seafood and oyster bar, expect to shell out $7 for lunch and $14 for dinner. Anything with oysters! We recommend oyster stew, oysters on the half shell, and pan-fried oysters. Small tables line the perimeter of the bar. Tables that seat up to 10 diners each dominate the middle of the restaurant. Regulars often gather at the communal tables — which makes them a great place to get the inside scoop on the Portland scene.
Toulouse

Atlanta,
Georgia
404-351-9533

Toulouse adds a French flair to American-style cooking. Entrées range from $10 to $20. Favorite menu items include baked goat cheese in phyllo dough, sautéed sea bass, and flourless chocolate cake. The communal table seats up to 12 people. "You'll feel like you're at your grandma's," says manager Marcie Meirndorf. Toulouse draws lots of local connoisseurs, so plan on meeting diners who are interested in fine food and wine.

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