The best restaurants for dining alone
The Market at Isetan The Japan Store
The gorgeous Isetan The Japan Store in Lot 10 is breaking new grounds in the local shopping scene with its refreshing take on store design, product selection and food courts. Located on the lower ground floor, The Market features multiple food zones, each specialising in a different type of Japanese food, such as tempura, soba, sushi and sashimi, yakiniku, and chazuke (a Japanese dish where you pour hot green tea or dashi over rice topped with condiments).
The best part is, the space is mostly counter seating where you get to watch the chefs prepare your food, much like how you’d dine in Tokyo, which is perfect for solo diners. The point is not to linger; you can always move on to the dessert bar (run by Tsujiri) or get a Hitachino Nest beer at the Japanese craft beer bar – both located on the same floor as well.
Lot 10, 50 Jalan Sultan Ismail, KL (03 2141 7777/ thejapanstore.mistore.jp/my). Daily, 11am-9pm.
The best thing about Ekkamai’s counter seats is that they’re located at the far end of the restaurant, so you don’t have to sit amid a sea of Thai green curry lovers. Ekkamai’s à la carte options are elaborate, featuring pad Thai with tamarind sauce, duck and lychee curry, and the fit-for-one spicy tom yum. The energy escalates to a high during lunchtime thanks to affordable set lunches – the bustling atmosphere will easily help you forget you’re alone.
8 Jalan Batai, Bukit Damansara, KL (03 2095 2772/ekkamai.com.my). Mon-Sat, 11.30am-1.30am; Sun, 11.30am-12midnight.
Mikey’s Original New York Pizza
Pizzas are communal food, but at Mikey’s, you can dine on pizza all by yourself without looking like a glutton. Here, pizzas are available by the slice as well, and they are huge slices at that – it’s New York-style pizza after all. Selections include BBQ Chicken, Meatball, Classic New York, Mama’s Wild Mushroom (vegetarian), and of course the 9-1-1 Pizza, dubbed the spiciest in Asia as it’s completely covered with cili padi. Otherwise, go for the pastas, heroes (the New York term for ‘sub’), waffle fries or the boneless buffalo chicken, and finish your meal with an A&W Root Beer Float.
Various outlets including Bangsar, Mid Valley Megamall and Publika (mikeyspizza.com.my).
You don’t have to subsist on bento boxes if you’re dining alone (there’s absolutely no shame in eating a curry katsu don all by yourself). Sushi bars are practically made for solo diners but to treat yourself even better, we definitely suggest a meal at the revered Oribe. The open kitchen concept with counter seating affords you the perfect view of Chef Ori and his crew at work, sculpting nigiri like miniature gems. For a less drawn-out Japanese affair, opt for the quick Seto lunch menu which consists of an appetiser, steamed egg custard, eight pieces of sushi, a sushi roll, miso soup and dessert.
Ground floor, Block C-1, Vipod Residences, 6 Jalan Kia Peng, KL (03 2181 4099/oribe-sushi. com.my). Mon-Sat, lunch, 12noon-3pm; dinner, 6-11pm.
Like most Asian cuisines, Thai food is best enjoyed in a group. But you can very well eat out by yourself at Kompassion II, the pork-free sister outlet of popular Thai fusion restaurant Kompassion. At this casual TTDI offshoot, you get to choose from a menu of 20 individual meals, featuring a good mix of classic Thai dishes and the restaurant’s specialties – plus they each come with a side salad and a drink. Choices include tom yum chicken with rice; green curry laksa; fried belacan mee hoon with crispy fish fillet; linguine pad Thai with prawns; lemongrass chicken Thai salad; and more. If you’re feeling indecisive, you can’t go wrong with the generously portioned Kompassion II Nasi Campur Special, which gets you a selection of the restaurant’s best dishes – so really, you’re not missing out, even when eating alone.
15 Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 7, TTDI (03 7731 7016/fb.com/KompassionII.TamanTun). Tue-Sun, 11.30am-2.30pm; 6-10.30pm.
Dining at a communal bar with an open kitchen could also warrant an intimate educational experience, as demonstrated at Coquo. The most coveted seat in the restaurant is the tenseater counter area, where Chef Toni Valero turns dinner into theatre. Dining alone allows you to be fully immersed in the food preparation process without any distraction – the dish of ibérico pork tartare with charcoal mayonnaise and sweet sour yolk is a performance in its own as smoke billows from the cloche upon removal. Coquo’s sommelier Gustavo Arriaga will expand your wine knowledge should you ask.
D1-G4-6, Publika, 1 Jalan Dutamas 1, Solaris Dutamas, KL (03 6211 2822/coquokl.com). Tue-Sun, 6pm-12midnight.