Traveling alone means that sometimes you’re going to have to sit down at a restaurant alone. Sigh. The dreaded “table for one, please” line is enough to send even a strong, free-thinking independent (SFI) woman huddling off under her hotel room bed sheets, scouring away at a boring room service menu. But… let’s be real here, there’s only so many times you can eat room service before you start craving a decent glass of wine with the bustling sounds of the outside world. Sitting down to a table for one while traveling can be a daunting experience but there’s also some perks too: you get to order what you want, people watch locals, maybe catch up on some reading and just enjoy the peace of mind that comes with loving yourself enough to take YOU out.
Here’s a simple SFIWoman’s guide to sitting down at a table for one.
Just Do it
The actual idea of going out for a meal alone is pretty daunting itself and can sometimes be enough to make you change your mind, pick up some take out and stay indoors. But when you’re in a new city the last thing you want to do is be huddled away in a hotel room. As women, we care a lot about our image and what other people think of us so sitting down alone in a restaurant is sure to send a flurry of thoughts running through our mind. Honestly though? You’re in a new city! Nobody knows you and who cares what people think! I can almost guarantee you that 1) people are so wrapped up in their own lives and most likely won’t care that you’re alone and 2) if they do happen to glance in your direction, they’ll probably see a strong, free-thinking independent woman.
Choose a place
If you’re choosing a small taco place at the end of a dodgy district just because it has fewer patrons, you can almost be guaranteed sloppy food, poor service and an awful experience. The place you choose to eat out at can either make or break your table for one adventure. You don’t have to choose the busiest place in town rather choose a place based on what you want. Maybe they serve a particular dish you’ve been wanting to try or are known for their great city views and service. Perhaps you’ve been craving a night out when you get to dress up and have a great glass of wine. The place you choose will influence your solo culinary experience so chose something that makes you feel comfortable and brave and which you know you’ll enjoy.
Make a reservation
Sometimes having a reservation can make you feel a lot easier about dining out. Calling ahead to book a table for one means you can confidently walk in because they are already expecting you. This way you’ll draw less attention to yourself and won’t have to worry about standing in awkward queues with groups of people. Have some fun and maybe even use your second alias!
Learn the lingo
If you’re in a country where English is not the first language, take some time to learn the commonly used eating out phrases. Practice asking for a table, learn the names for popularly ordered food dishes and how to point at menu and ask for “this, please”.
Pick your seat
Once you’ve chosen your restaurant and made your reservation, the next thing is to pick the right seat. As a SFIWoman on a confident solo foodie experience, you don’t always have to choose the small corner table. You shouldn’t care about what other people think. Choose a seat where you feel comfortable and which will give you the best overall experience. Maybe you want a table out on the terrace, near a window overlooking the city views or in a quieter area so you can focus and work on your blog.
Order whatever you like
The best part about eating alone is that you can order whatever you like without anyone judging you – and if you think people at the next table are looking at you going crazy Georgia Byrd crazy (If you don’t get this reference, you need to watch The Last Holiday like right now…) then who cares! They don’t know you anyway!
Enjoy your company
If you’ve made it this far and you’re feeling confident and great, then I’ve got a secret to share with you – it’s about to start getting even better! It’s easy to dread this part because you’re thinking about being alone… but don’t look at it that way. The best part about sitting down at a table for one with a fabulous view and ordering what you like is that you get to enjoy yourself by yourself. Sit back, open a local newspaper and see what’s going on in the city’s daily life. Finish that chapter of the book you’ve been reading. Work on your blog. Take some pictures of the view. Revel in your thoughts. This is your time to just enjoy the ambiance of the city you’re visiting and do whatever you like.