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New England clam chowder in a fluffy bread bowl on a green plaid table cloth. Kirsten Gilliam

12 Houston Restaurants That Make Dining Alone Enjoyable

Table for one, right this way

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In a fast-evolving food town like Houston, dining out at the next great place need not always be a group outing. Sometimes, it can be more efficient (and enjoyable) to scope out a restaurant solo. With interesting restaurants peppered in neighborhoods across the city, there are plenty of places to explore during a lunch break, for happy hour, or a formal outing alone. Plus, after an extended period of eating takeout and delivery at home, it’s high time to enjoy the buzz and excitement of a bustling restaurant.

Whether it’s a comfy bar stool and knowledgeable bartender you seek out, or a spirited dining room with live entertainment, here are 13 restaurants well-suited for a solo night out.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

La Lucha

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Houston native Ford Fry pairs heaping platters of fried chicken with Gulf Coast gems at this lively Heights restaurant. The dining room features comfortable seating with nostalgic touches, but it’s the large square-shaped bar where solo diners often gather. The half-fried chicken touts four pieces with biscuits and pickles, and is a hearty meal for one, but if you’re still hungry, spring for the soft serve.

This 22-seat hand roll bar, reminiscent of tightly packed sushi restaurants in Japan, offers a communal dining experience where every guest gets a view of the sushi-stuffing action. Along with freshly made hand rolls, find hearty eats like beef skewers and wagyu gyoza, suitable for a single diner. While the restaurant is busy enough that even a single seat sometimes requires a wait, you can also find sustenance at the Kanpai Club, the restaurant’s equally charming bar hidden through a shared door.

Three handrolls stuffed with an assortment of ingredients, sitting atop a wooden plank.
Hando’s 22-seat bar with freshly made hand rolls is a perfect place to dine alone.
Al Torres Photography

Truth BBQ

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In a popular barbecue town like Houston, settling in with a tray of smoked meat and indulgent sides is practically a solo sport, and Truth BBQ is a popular place to play. It’s not uncommon to find single diners hovering over trays of tender barbecue chicken, stacks of pork ribs, picture-perfect pieces of lean brisket, and oversized slices of layer cake.

B.B. Lemon

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Mimicked after the small diners and cafes in New York, B.B. Lemon offers guests close-knit dining quarters with elevated comfort food and a well-crafted cocktail list. The bar, situated smack dab in the center of the dining room overlooking the patio, is the heart of the restaurant, and it’s impossible to feel alone here. Nostalgic plates are plentiful, but the New England clam chowder in a fluffy bread bowl is a must-not-miss.

POST Houston

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With its plethora of dining choices, large communal tables, and buzzy bars, food halls are a common choice for solo diners, and among the many in Houston, the Post Market reigns supreme. From settling in at the Eastside King counter for Japanese street bites to experiencing West African cuisine at ChopnBlok, there is plenty to tickle your palate. People watch while you eat, and then head to the rooftop sky lawn for unbeatable views of the Downtown skyline.

Common Bond Brasserie & Bakery

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Common Bond Brasserie is the ultra-popular coffee shop’s full-service counterpart and a solid choice for proper downtown dining. The bistro menu features dishes like steak frites and coq au vin, and with a prime location on the street level of the Bank of America Tower, it serves as a hot spot among the power-lunch crowd.

Hugo Ortega’s restaurant empire spans from Uptown to Downtown, and his trendy Oaxacan restaurant inside the Marriott Marquis hotel — steps from Discovery Green — is one of the liveliest places to dine for groups and singles alike. Behind the long, windy bar, bartenders shake up colorful mezcal cocktails and bubbly hot plates emerge from the wood-fired oven. Solo diners can also partake in the restaurant’s popular mole tasting without having to share any of the four varieties of house-made fried tortillas and beans. 

How to Survive on Land & Sea

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Buzzy conversation and the warm, crisp sound of vinyl records permeate through this moody establishment in the East End, where a seat at the U-shaped bar is prime real estate. Guests can talk and taste alongside other wine enthusiasts, and when hunger strikes, pay a visit to the walk-up window where Ghost Hand Pasta maintains residence. Run by a trio of hardcore horror movie fans, the shop slings fresh daily-made pasta, salad, and bread named after classic horror subject matter.

The Gypsy Poet

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This hip midtown hangout puts a twist on the traditional dinner and a show theme, offering visitors an up-close look at rehearsal sessions from local musicians while they dine on its famed pizza. The living-room-like setting allows guests to feel a part of the jam session, so kick back with a margherita pie and enjoy good food, good company, and good vibes.

Paulie's

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This Montrose neighborhood gem is best known for its hand-decorated shortbread cookies, but its saucy Italian plates, big salads, and weekly dinner specials aren’t too shabby either. Pasta is made in-house, and dishes like fusilli with pesto and bucatini puttanesca are available in small or large sizes, making them a perfect meal for one. As a bonus, guests can visit Camerata, the restaurant’s attached wine bar.

Truluck's

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This still buzzy Uptown institution is a haven for solo diners, and for good reason —the dimly lit lounge, set apart from the dining room, is a destination in and of itself. Guests who opt for bar seating can settle into one of the oversized banquettes while enjoying music from live entertainers. Furthermore, no company is needed when faced with Truluck’s famed stone crabs.

Helmed by native Louisianan Drake Leonards, this upscale restaurant puts a modern twist on Cajun-Creole cuisine and lets diners get their fill of gumbo, shrimp etouffee, and raw Gulf oysters on the half shell. Coveted seats around the large horseshoe-shaped bar are often occupied by solo diners — many who are seeking solace from their offices in the attached PMRG Building.  

La Lucha

Houston native Ford Fry pairs heaping platters of fried chicken with Gulf Coast gems at this lively Heights restaurant. The dining room features comfortable seating with nostalgic touches, but it’s the large square-shaped bar where solo diners often gather. The half-fried chicken touts four pieces with biscuits and pickles, and is a hearty meal for one, but if you’re still hungry, spring for the soft serve.

Hando

Three handrolls stuffed with an assortment of ingredients, sitting atop a wooden plank.
Hando’s 22-seat bar with freshly made hand rolls is a perfect place to dine alone.
Al Torres Photography

This 22-seat hand roll bar, reminiscent of tightly packed sushi restaurants in Japan, offers a communal dining experience where every guest gets a view of the sushi-stuffing action. Along with freshly made hand rolls, find hearty eats like beef skewers and wagyu gyoza, suitable for a single diner. While the restaurant is busy enough that even a single seat sometimes requires a wait, you can also find sustenance at the Kanpai Club, the restaurant’s equally charming bar hidden through a shared door.

Three handrolls stuffed with an assortment of ingredients, sitting atop a wooden plank.
Hando’s 22-seat bar with freshly made hand rolls is a perfect place to dine alone.
Al Torres Photography

Truth BBQ

In a popular barbecue town like Houston, settling in with a tray of smoked meat and indulgent sides is practically a solo sport, and Truth BBQ is a popular place to play. It’s not uncommon to find single diners hovering over trays of tender barbecue chicken, stacks of pork ribs, picture-perfect pieces of lean brisket, and oversized slices of layer cake.

B.B. Lemon

Mimicked after the small diners and cafes in New York, B.B. Lemon offers guests close-knit dining quarters with elevated comfort food and a well-crafted cocktail list. The bar, situated smack dab in the center of the dining room overlooking the patio, is the heart of the restaurant, and it’s impossible to feel alone here. Nostalgic plates are plentiful, but the New England clam chowder in a fluffy bread bowl is a must-not-miss.

POST Houston

With its plethora of dining choices, large communal tables, and buzzy bars, food halls are a common choice for solo diners, and among the many in Houston, the Post Market reigns supreme. From settling in at the Eastside King counter for Japanese street bites to experiencing West African cuisine at ChopnBlok, there is plenty to tickle your palate. People watch while you eat, and then head to the rooftop sky lawn for unbeatable views of the Downtown skyline.

Common Bond Brasserie & Bakery

Common Bond Brasserie is the ultra-popular coffee shop’s full-service counterpart and a solid choice for proper downtown dining. The bistro menu features dishes like steak frites and coq au vin, and with a prime location on the street level of the Bank of America Tower, it serves as a hot spot among the power-lunch crowd.

Xochi

Hugo Ortega’s restaurant empire spans from Uptown to Downtown, and his trendy Oaxacan restaurant inside the Marriott Marquis hotel — steps from Discovery Green — is one of the liveliest places to dine for groups and singles alike. Behind the long, windy bar, bartenders shake up colorful mezcal cocktails and bubbly hot plates emerge from the wood-fired oven. Solo diners can also partake in the restaurant’s popular mole tasting without having to share any of the four varieties of house-made fried tortillas and beans. 

How to Survive on Land & Sea

Buzzy conversation and the warm, crisp sound of vinyl records permeate through this moody establishment in the East End, where a seat at the U-shaped bar is prime real estate. Guests can talk and taste alongside other wine enthusiasts, and when hunger strikes, pay a visit to the walk-up window where Ghost Hand Pasta maintains residence. Run by a trio of hardcore horror movie fans, the shop slings fresh daily-made pasta, salad, and bread named after classic horror subject matter.

The Gypsy Poet

This hip midtown hangout puts a twist on the traditional dinner and a show theme, offering visitors an up-close look at rehearsal sessions from local musicians while they dine on its famed pizza. The living-room-like setting allows guests to feel a part of the jam session, so kick back with a margherita pie and enjoy good food, good company, and good vibes.

Paulie's

This Montrose neighborhood gem is best known for its hand-decorated shortbread cookies, but its saucy Italian plates, big salads, and weekly dinner specials aren’t too shabby either. Pasta is made in-house, and dishes like fusilli with pesto and bucatini puttanesca are available in small or large sizes, making them a perfect meal for one. As a bonus, guests can visit Camerata, the restaurant’s attached wine bar.

Truluck's

This still buzzy Uptown institution is a haven for solo diners, and for good reason —the dimly lit lounge, set apart from the dining room, is a destination in and of itself. Guests who opt for bar seating can settle into one of the oversized banquettes while enjoying music from live entertainers. Furthermore, no company is needed when faced with Truluck’s famed stone crabs.

Eunice

Helmed by native Louisianan Drake Leonards, this upscale restaurant puts a modern twist on Cajun-Creole cuisine and lets diners get their fill of gumbo, shrimp etouffee, and raw Gulf oysters on the half shell. Coveted seats around the large horseshoe-shaped bar are often occupied by solo diners — many who are seeking solace from their offices in the attached PMRG Building.  

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