In many international cities, a table for one is hardly an unusual request. But Los Angeles, home of The Violet Files, is a notable exception: Spotting anyone savoring a steak alone is as rare an occurrence as Leo dating a regular human. But, as Audrey Hepburn proved over her breakfast at Tiffany’s, eating alone can be an elegant, not to mention practical, occupation (and a preferred coping strategy during your in-laws’ month-long holiday visit). Herewith our favorite LA destinations for solo dining, and ideal apps or activities to occupy you at each (although people-watching is always recommended). You may soon find little need for company—after all, the best table in the house is always the one at which you’re seated.
A West Hollywood staple for more than 50 years (an incensed Richard Burton complained on The Tonight Show about being turned away, only to discover it was Johnny Carson’s favorite joint), Dan Tana’s is smack in the middle of the action on Santa Monica Boulevard. A perch at the bar provides an ideal viewpoint for people-watching and observing the old-school charm of the waitstaff. Order up a martini and the off-menu chicken piccata and settle in for an evening of star-spotting.
To do: Troll for a vintage bar cart on Everything But The House, an attractive site for estate sale finds. 9071 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069 | ebth.com
If you’ve ever been to Japan, you may have noticed that the Japanese take their ramen very seriously, and slurping alone is widely practiced, even encouraged. Tsujita Annex, in Sawtelle Japantown, is known for one of the best bowls in town, particularly the tsukemen—a richer, thicker version of the standard broth, served with the noodles in a separate bowl. There’s usually a long wait, so coming alone can definitely speed the process along.
To do: It’s all business here (down to the brisk but ultra-speedy service), so stay in work mode and use Zero to whittle your inbox down to that magic number. 2050 Sawtelle Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025; (310) 231-0222 | zeroapp.email
If we didn’t enter through a strip mall, we’d swear this classic French bistro was in the middle of Le Marais, not Highland Avenue in Hollywood. Manned by Frenchman Ludo Lefebvre and with just 22 counter-side seats available on a first-come, first-served basis, Petit Trois is the perfect venue for steak frites and a glass of red Burgundy, which you’ll get to faster without company. It’s all about the classics—think French onion soup, bouillabaisse, and the best escargots in town.
To do: With a white Carrara marble counter, the venue lends itself to highly likeable food shots. Make sure photos are Instagram-ready with the VIOLET GREY art department’s editing tool of choice, Afterlight, and tweak between courses. 718 North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038; (323) 468-8916 | afterlight.us
Coffee shops may be the standard solo dining choice, but this Larchmont Village go-to stands apart from the pack. Along with excellent coffee, they have a tiny kitchen serving up soft scrambled eggs, biscuits, waffles, and an array of sweet treats. Although it is sometimes a bit of a scene, snag a spot outside for a little quiet time and pie—always leave room for pie.
To do: Download Longform and lose yourself in some hard-hitting journalism and storytelling, best paired with a macchiato. 230 North Larchmont Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90004; (323) 380-5359 | longform.com
This isn’t exactly the place to stop on the way home from the office, but it’s well worth taking a drive out to The Old Place, a rustic hotspot (not an oxymoron—trust us) above the hills of Malibu. The tiny space has a handful of booths and tables, but the real action is at the bar, where wait times plummet and it’s par for the course to make friends with the regulars.
To do: Let’s be honest: You’re probably going to be chatting up the bohemian Malibu old-timers next to you, so why not pull out Astrology Zone and compare horoscopes? 29983 Mulholland Highway, Cornell, CA 91301; (818) 706-9001 | astrologyzone.com
On an otherwise chain restaurant–filled strip of Wilshire Boulevard in West LA sits Sasabune, an under-the-radar sushi joint serving up an omakase (chef’s choice) menu that rivals some of the heavier hitters in the city. Get a spot at the sushi bar, chat up your chef, and watch as fish is carefully sliced and rice is meticulously packed.
To do: You’re going to want to focus on the sushi, but if you need some distraction, try Dots—a simple, yet pretty and strangely soothing, connect-the-dots game. 11917 Wilshire Boulevard, West Los Angeles, CA 90049; (310) 478-3596 | weplaydots.com
Bestia is (still) one of the hottest reservations in town, so snagging one of the few counter spots on a solo outing can spare you the four-week wait for a table. The only downside is you’re unlikely to be able to sample all the pasta dishes on the menu by your lonesome. But you can always try.
To do: Bestia is always full of beautiful (and carb-loving) people. Get out dating app Bumble and start swiping—maybe next time you’ll have someone with whom to split a pizza. 2121 East 7th Place, Los Angeles, CA 90021; (213) 514-5724 | bumble.com
This Westside bakery can be bustling at times, but pick the right moment (late morning on a weekday, if you can make it work) and Huckleberry can be a tranquil spot for breakfast or lunch. The green eggs & ham are justifiably popular, but don’t skip owner and chef Zoe Nathan’s baked goods, best enjoyed with a cappuccino and table in the corner.
To do: Put down the phone and pick up a good book. The Violet Files recommends: Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest, an instantly best-selling tale of the squabbling Plum siblings. 1014 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90401; (310) 451-1322
VIOLET GREY has a file on everything from
the genius of Pat McGrath to
the best eyelash curler in the world.
The ultimate elegant meal for one in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Prep for your solo night out with a 20-minute lip treatment courtesy of KNC Beauty.