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Dining for introverts

Ten favorite places near Madison to eat as an introvert, other than at home - offering peaceful surroundings and good food to share with a small group, or to enjoy alone:

  1. Barrique's
  2. Bradbury's (counter)
  3. Cart lunch, on a bench
  4. Cooper's (if you can get the snug)
  5. Culver's (fast food/"speedy service" restaurants are the most socially acceptable venues for eating alone - what this says about modern views of introversion we leave up to you, dear reader)
  6. Indie Coffee
  7. Kennedy Manor
  8. Laredo's (basically fast food)
  9. Ma-Cha
  10. Quivey's Grove

Where do you like to eat solo, or quietly with a good friend?

Flat white, OJ and scone

Next up: Dining for extroverts.

(Thanks to EC for the inspiration.)


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Ah, Bradbury's is far and away my FAVORITE solo dining spot.

Bradbury's doesn't want people to converse or eat together, being social isn't post hipster enough for them.

Porta Alba is a good spot to eat solo, especially if you go earlyish. According to me (an admittedly big eater), the pizzas are perfectly sized for one person. One time I went to Fleming's alone because I had a gift certificate that was expiring. Not a great solo spot!

With a smartphone to keep you company, any place can be fine for solo dining. Post reviews or plan your next meal on your phone while you eat!

Any place with a counter or bar can be an enjoyable spot for dining alone. At a bar, a good bartender or barista provides a hint of company, and often a counter spot will overlook a busy kitchen, the bartender's arena, or a window with a street view. Even during the dinner rush, there are often one or two seats open, and bar seating is usually exempt from whatever reservation list a restaurant may keep.

One of my favorite places to eat alone is Taqueria Guadalajara on Park St. The service is super fast and friendly. Sitting at the counter you can munch on some great chips and salsa while watching the action behind the counter as the cooks prepare your meal along with others. The prices are more than reasonable and after a few short minutes you will be presented with some of the best Mexican food in town.

You can eat alone at Bennett's too :)Good Bar seating for that. Although, you might make a friend :)

I like to eat alone at Sardine, up at the bar with the NY Times. Oysters, specifically.

I also like to eat alone at Natt Spil while I wait for the bus. They have an exceptional wine list. I learned the hard way that I can order either the shumai OR the hummus/red pepper dip/pita thing, but not both.

I frequently eat alone at Crema Cafe (GRITS) and I like the "bar" at Madison Sourdough. When I'm by myself downtown, I take myself out to Fresco (for the view), Barriques (for the discount) or Nostrano (for the friendly bartender).

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