Federal Delicatessen. Photo / David Rowland

The Best Places To Dine Solo In Auckland

Whatever your reason for dining alone, these Auckland restaurants ensure it’s a pleasure, not a pain

There are a few key ingredients for ensuring dining solo is an experience to relish rather than avoid. We’d like to preface this by saying there is nothing wrong with a table for one. In fact, sometimes there’s nothing better than enjoying a meal at one’s own pace shrouded in beautiful silence, free from the shackles of small talk.

However, some restaurants make this experience more enjoyable than others. Having a great bar at which you can prop yourself is key. A warm and bustling vibe is another welcome addition. Here are 8 Auckland eateries you can confidently stroll into solo.

The Fed
Fed Deli has the art of dining solo down pat. This American-style diner is busy and loud and has plenty of seating options for the lone diner. It even has the day’s newspapers on offer at the entry in anticipation of your arrival. We recommended a spot at the bar or at the counter in front of chefs (try to avoid the hot rotisseries section if you can) where you can read the paper and have your bottomless filter coffee refilled while working your way through the excellent sandwich selection. Don’t leave without getting a slice of pie. 86 Federal Street, Auckland City

Amano. Photo / Fiona Goodall

Amano
Amano is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving rustic Italian food in a beautiful, bustling environment. Its location next to the harbour in the heart of Britomart means its clientele is a mix of locals and tourists, none of whom will pay you much mind, and the restaurant is always lively and full. We recommend getting a seat at one of two marble bars that span the restaurant. Here you can perch up and watch the staff at work while you enjoy small plates of hand-crafted pasta (with flour milled on site), sustainably caught local seafood, organic meat and locally grown produce. Best enjoyed with a spritz of some description. 66-68 Tyler St, Britomart

Hello Beasty. Photos / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

Hello Beasty
Dining at the Viaduct can be tricky. It’s either the all-out extravagance of Soul or Euro, or the regrettable chain options of Portofino or Sushi Train. Asian Fusion restaurant Hello Beasty is setting a new standard for dining in downtown Auckland, with contemporary New Zealand plates that celebrate the cuisines of Japan, Korea and China, run by chef-to-watch Stuart Rogan. “The kitchen is busy and open,” says Viva restaurant reviewer Jesse Mulligan. “You can watch the chefs from a ringside stool, and what a great place to eat by yourself.” Don’t miss the brisket, served cold with crispy radish, chilli oil and Japanese black vinegar; and for dessert, a miso flavoured soft serve cone with strawberries. 95-97 Custom St West, Viaduct

Chop Chop
Located in Ponsonby Central, Chop Chop can be found behind long, black velvet curtains which open to unveil a tall bar at which people happily down bowls of ramen, fried chicken and fluffy Chinese pork buns. This place isn’t a traditional ramen restaurant, drawing inspiration for its décor and vibe from a mish-mash of old school kung fu movies and cowboy westerns (the waiters are often wearing cowboy hats while country music is blasting on the speakers). The menu is a mish-mash too, with ramen from Japan, Korean-style fried chicken and Chinese pork buns, plus a whiskey offering to satiate all those cowboys. It’s a strange concept, but it works, especially on a gloomy Monday when you’re in need of a restorative bowl of noodles and a cold beer. Ponsonby Central, 140 Ponsonby Rd

Depot. Photo / Dean Purcell

Depot
Depot is a great place for people-watching over a tray of oysters and a glass of New Zealand methode. It’s been at the top of locals and visitors’ dining lists since it opened in 2011, meaning it’s always busy, and usually filled with interesting diners. Rocking up alone is beneficial in several ways — you’re more likely to get a table at the bar, you can eavesdrop on the next table while eating all three fish sliders (on what’s usually considered a sharing plate), and the staff here are so cool they’ll make you feel like you’ve made a new friend in no time. 86 Federal St, Auckland

Gusto
Located on the ground floor of the Sky City Hotel, Gusto is the ideal spot for the solo diner. Hotels are always full of lone travellers, so it’s perfectly acceptable to see someone enjoying a solitary aperitivo in the lush lounge chairs just outside the Italian-inspired restaurant (Gusto offers aperitivo from 5pm-7pm, which is a free Italian bite when you buy a drink). If a table inside the restaurant is your preference, pay no mind to the “sharing style” menu and order a plate of pasta for one. The puttanesca is too good to share anyway. 90 Federal St, central city

Zool Zool. Photo / Babiche Martens

Zool Zool
In Japan, some ramen restaurants celebrate the art of solo dining so much that they’re filled with private booths for one. Diners fill out their order on a form and their noodles appear before them with the flick of a sliding screen. While they don’t go this far at Zool Zool in Mt Eden Village, its cosy neighbourhood vibe is warm and inviting and there’s a counter at the window that’s ideal for watching the world go by over a steaming bowl of noods. 405 Mount Eden Rd, Mount Eden

Lowbrow. Photos / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

Lowbrow
When you’re taking yourself out for dinner, sometimes you want something down, dirty and quick. Lowbrow (little sister restaurant of Culprit) has it covered. This fast-food restaurant in Queens Rise celebrates life’s guilty pleasures with a menu of feel-good classics like spicy chicken wings, hot fish sandwiches and birthday cake-topped soft serve sundaes. Its location in a lively up-scale food court means there’s plenty to keep you occupied while you enjoy a white bread taco or a bowl of fries. Try and snare the window seat; it’s the perfect spot for single diners. Queens Rise, 125 Queen St

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