Foodie's Guide To Travelling Solo | Gourmand & Gourmet | Gourmand and Gourmet

A foodie’s guide to travelling solo

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Just because your dining out budget is generous enough to include flights to Europe, it doesn’t mean your pals can afford more than the occasional Uber trip to the city…

Why let your broke friends press pause on your dreams of eating your way across the world? Solo travel is on the up, meaning it’s easier than ever to venture into the unknown and make new friends along the way. Or don’t make friends, and make the most of not having to share a single bite at our top destinations for going it alone…

Tulum

Tulum is one of those destinations that people plan to visit for two weeks but somehow find themselves in one months later… Thanks to this strange phenomenon, you’ll meet plenty of friendly free-spirited travellers willing to start up a conversation at the many hip beach bars and delicious taco spots in the chilled Mexican beach town. With about seven kilometres worth of beachside bars, restaurants and hotels to hop between (preferably by bike) from the uber-luxe Papaya Playa Project resort to tiny taco stands like Charly’s Vegan Tacos, you won’t have time between bites to feel alone.

London

It pays to be a lone diner in London, and not just because you won’t have to share dessert! Going it solo usually means being able to skip the mammoth queues at the city’s most popular restaurants (none of which take bookings – it’s a thing) and getting a seat while everyone else waits outside in the rain. Swan past the shivering couples and eat bulk pasta at Padella, watch the chefs flame-grill sizzling meat at Temper or treat yourself at The Barbary, with bar seating and friendly staff who’ll fill in for a date with plenty of cheesy banter. For lunch? Delicious street food markets are a seven-day a week affair across London, so you can hit up a different borough for a walk-and-eat meal any day of the week.

Tokyo, Japan

Duck into a restaurant for a solo lunch or dinner in this mega city and you definitely won’t be the only person dining alone. In fact, you’ll be one of many. Here, solo dining is so prolific that many eateries have long counters dedicated to those who just wish to eat and run–who needs a date when you’ve got a big bowl of ramen to dedicate all your attention to anyway? If you need to ease yourself into it, start with a meal at Ichiran Ramen, a popular noodle spot where dividers between seats mean no one will see you staring lovingly at your food (or dribbling soup down your shirt). Eating isn’t the only thing to do alone either; the bars of Golden Gai in Shinjuku are so tiny that you’d be pressed to fit friends in anyways!

New York

For all the foodies out there who eschew conversation to focus entirely on eating as soon as the food arrives, New York is for you. Requesting a table for one won’t get you too many strange looks here, especially at lunchtime when you can join the ranks of diners who plant a phone or a book in front of them. Chow down on a sandwich at the bar at Sauvage, slurp noodles at Momofuku or explore Peruvian fare at Llama Inn for the least lonesome experience, or, if it’s a sunny day, just take your deli order to the nearest park. When you’re done, there’s plenty of dessert spots where being alone is a bonus – who wants to give up a bite of their ice cream tacos anyway?

Amsterdam

The thought of dining out alone can be slightly daunting, but in a city where ‘coffee’ shops and sex museums are the norm, who’s going to look twice at you just because you’re wining and dining solo? There’s no shortage of bar tours, bike tours, day tours or walking tours to join in the canal-side city, so if you want a bit of company, it won’t be hard to find some. If not, between eating your weight in stroopwafels and Instagramming avocado burgers at The Avocado Show, there are enough galleries, museums and boutique shops to keep you busy.

Bologna

Forget battling honeymooners for gondola rides in Venice, if all you want is carb-loading, Bologna is the place to do it–no significant other necessary. Considered the foodie capital of the entire country, you’ll find centuries-old producers of prosciutto, parmesan, and balsamic vinegar (just a few of our favourite things), all within or nearby the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site city. Do a different food tour every morning, wander the multiple produce markets in the city, and make sure you spend at least a day at the Italian food theme park, Eataly World.

Havana

It’s easy to make friends when the rum is cheap! Combined with a total lack of wifi, amazing tapas restaurants and a happening night life, Havana the best solo travel destination ever. Where else are you going to get the chance to drink $3 mojitos in buzzing bars where people have to actually talk to each other instead of scrolling Facebook? In between group tours out to Vinales, Varadero and Trinidad, eat and drink your way through the colourful city (our guide here will help with that), making new lifelong friends with chatty North American tourists along the way.

BRB, just booking flights for one…

Words by Ranyhyn Laine from @acoffeeandapassport
- the gourmand who doesn’t like having to share her cheese anyway