If you’re considering a solo trip to Las Vegas, one of your major concerns might be dining alone. Many people feel awkward eating alone in their home towns, and it’s no different for solo travelers. They’re afraid they’ll feel conspicuous, that people will stare at them with pity, or that waitstaff will treat them shabbily. Once upon a time, I was one of those people.
But no one in Las Vegas has ever made me feel like a second-class citizen for dining solo. On the contrary, I have found waitstaff in Las Vegas restaurants to be very attentive. Other diners don’t even bat an eye. Everyone is accustomed to seeing solo diners in this day and age—especially in this city, where so many people travel alone for business. If you think you might be uncomfortable eating alone, try these tips:
- Go to a buffet. Not only is there no awkward wait time between when you place your order and when the food arrives, but with so many people getting up from their seats all the time for more food, no one will be able to tell that you’re dining alone. Don’t assume that because it’s a buffet, you’re getting an inferior meal, either. Gourmet buffets are all the rage in Vegas these days.
- Ask to be seated at a table with a view. There are restaurants that have enviable views (such as Mon Ami Gabi’s view of the Bellagio fountains or Voodoo Steakhouse’s view of the Strip). But even those without patio dining or window views are often inside resorts and face a casino or a shopping area, both of which provide opportunities for people-watching.
- Eat at a restaurant that has a counter or a bar that serves food. At a counter or bar, you will be sitting next to other solo diners, where you won’t feel as conspicuous, and you might even strike up a friendly conversation with the person next to you or the barkeep. If there’s a TV behind the bar, you can watch that.
- Bring something to do while you wait for your food to arrive. Many people bring a book, magazine, or newspaper to read. I carry a small journal with me to restaurants and take notes on what I’ve seen and done during the day, or I review the photos I’ve taken on my digital camera.
- There’s always room service. If none of the above makes you feel comfortable eating alone in public, indulge yourself in the time-honored tradition of hotel vacationers everywhere. Personally, I hate room service; it’s more expensive and it makes me feel lonelier. But your mileage may vary. Just do yourself a favor and don’t eat every meal in your room.
If, in addition to being a solo diner, you are also on a tight budget, check out these articles for tips on how to save money on food while in Vegas:
I have dined solo at many Las Vegas restaurants over the past ten years. Here are some reviews to give you an idea of what it’s like. If there’s only a link and no description, the link is to my full review. Enjoy!
Bellagio Buffet - This is one of the higher-priced buffets on the Strip, as well as one of the best quality buffets. I’ve had dinner and breakfast here, and both were fantastic, but not cheap. I was pleased with the number of healthy options it offered, which is important to me. Breakfast was especially wonderful, with fresh berries, the best oatmeal I’ve ever had, choy sum (stir-fried) and some kind of white bean dish. (Don’t worry, they have the usual suspect breakfast items, too, like omelets made to order, bacon, french toast, etc.) Customer service was excellent, and because it was a buffet, I was comfortable eating alone. Additional bonus: There is bar seating here as well.
Cafe Bellagio – 24-hour cafe. Nice counter seating as well as plenty of tables for two near windows for solo dining. Good food, good service. The atmosphere is lovely–large, bright and airy with gorgeous views of the Conservatory gardens on one side and the pool area on the other.
California Pizza Kitchen (Mirage) – One of my favorite places to eat. They have a bar where you can watch the chefs fixing people’s meals, taking the pizzas out of the wood fired oven, etc. In addition to creative pizzas, they have delicious salads, and the price is reasonable. You can order a half-sized salad here (but even that was enormous!).
Cravings Buffet (Mirage) – The old Mirage buffet was terrible, and apparently, management knew it because they revamped it, complete with an all new contemporary look in chrome and red and now it’s a very good buffet. The price is a little high, but the food has more hits than misses. Some people aren’t crazy about the cafeteria-like seating, but I liked it.
Cheesecake Factory (Caesars Forum Shops) – Yes, this is a chain. I don’t care. It has bar seating and fabulous food, and that’s what’s important to me when I’m dining alone. Strangely, I have yet to try their cheesecake.
French Market Buffet (Orleans) – Bargain buffet. The food here is way better than the price would suggest. It’s not a gourmet buffet, but it’s got lots of options, well-prepared. I found the waitstaff to be attentive. I was there on Mother’s Day one year, and even though I told them I wasn’t a mother, they gave me a long-stemmed red rose anyway. That really scored brownie points with me.
Le Cafe Ile St. Louis (Paris) - Another upscale 24-hour cafe with wonderful food. Portion sizes are large and prices are a bit higher. I had very gracious and attentive waitpersons when I ate here and found the atmosphere excellent. There is, however, no counter seating here, so dining during off-hours might be a good idea. This cafe served me one of the best NY Strip steaks of my life.
TI Buffet - I only had breakfast here one day, and it was a revelation to me. The space this restaurant occupies is really pretty. I wasn’t expecting anything like that. It’s got a very contemporary decor, a bit nicer than your average buffet, with dark wood tables, lots of red and orange and large overhead lamps. I can’t recall if there were any other solo diners in there at the time, but I had a table in a cozy nook, so I didn’t feel out of place at all. Service was very efficient and the food was above average, with plenty of variety. The highlight of the meal was a yogurt parfait with granola and diced fruit. As the Spanish say, beuno y sano (good and healthy). I would happily eat here again, solo or otherwise.
Obviously there are many, many more Las Vegas restaurants than this for your dining pleasure. Do your research before you leave for Vegas to find out what’s available in and near your hotel, and ask others on Las Vegas message forums for their recommendations. Bon appetit!