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The Five Best Places to Dine Alone in Chicago

In this season of celebrating coupling up, here’s where to find pleasure in solo eating.

Same Day Cafe   Photos: Jeff Marini
For when you need a lunch that’s not a sad salad

H Mart

711 W. Jackson Blvd., West Loop

This giant East Asian supermarket’s outstanding food court seems like it was designed for single diners: Cutting through it is a long table just wide enough to sit with strangers but not feel cramped. You can also choose a spot at counters overlooking the sidewalk or, if you really want to avoid eye contact, a brick wall. All the better to focus on your bubbling bowl of soondubu, a Korean tofu stew, as good as any you’ll get in the city.

For when you feel like holing up for the afternoon

Same Day Cafe

2651 N. Kedzie Ave., Logan Square

When the only companion you need is a book, head to this cozy sandwich shop. Its servers are so accommodating that they’ll even let you bring in your own vinyl to play on Wednesday evenings. Claim a table near the window and linger — first over a grilled cheese on pillowy housemade bread (douse it with vinegary hot sauce), then over a refreshing raspberry-rose soda and scoop of ice cream.

For when you’re sick of talking to your houseplants

The Delta

1745 W. North Ave., Wicker Park

If you’re in a chatty mood, there are few better perches than the bar at this Wicker Park storefront, where the hip-hop soundtrack is expertly curated, the crowd is impeccably dressed, and the talk is constantly flowing. The throngs of guests at all hours keep you in close quarters with your neighbors, making spirited, red-hot-tamale-fueled conversations all but inevitable.

For when you want dinner and a show

Monteverde

1020 W. Madison St., West Loop

It may be the best mealtime spectacle in town: Diners seated at the restaurant’s pasta bar can consume their cacio e pepe while watching dough get rolled, cut, and shaped to order. An antique mirror angled above enhances the viewing. “Shortly after opening, our guests began calling it Pasta TV,” says chef Sarah Grueneberg.

Goosefoot
Goosefoot
For when you deserve a special dinner

Goosefoot

2656 W. Lawrence Ave., Ravenswood

A tasting menu doesn’t seem like the kind of thing you’d want to face as a companionless diner. But most tasting menu spots are not like Goosefoot: Owners Chris and Nina Nugent are a constant, endearing presence in the intimate 24-seat dining room, happy to hold court as you sip on mushroom soup. Plus, it’s BYOB — you can drink something wonderful with dinner and take the rest of the bottle home to polish off in the bathtub tomorrow night.

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