Savings & Discounts

9 Communal Dining Options: Eating Alone Together in NYC

Dining solo in New York City? You can eat by yourself with a book, (or your phone), or dine at a communal table. The best approach is the “airplane rule”—greet other diners with a nod and smile but don’t assume they want to talk to you. Maybe they will but mostly it’s a solo-and-together thing. Here are nine communal dining options. 

Communal Dining NYC: Clinton Hall

Clinton Hall  

Clinton Hall is an affordable beer-and-burger spot with many brews on tap, curated by a Chief Beer Officer. Most tables are communal. There’s a double smashed burger for $17, doughnut grilled cheese served over tomato soup, $16, stupendous waffles, games like Jenga and chess and a gung-ho vibe with live DJs on some nights. Lots of communal tables, mostly for ten. The crowd skews young.  16 W. 36th St. and  other city locations, clintonhallny.com

Communal Dining NYC: Jing Fong

Jing Fong

Instagram.

Eating dim sum in Chinatown is a New York pleasure. At the usually packed Jing Fong, expect a long wait, shorter at off-peak times. Once up the grand escalator you may be seated with others as women push carts piled with dim sum (small dishes including steamed or fried dumplings, spare ribs, veggies). A typical meal for two can clock in for under $35. 20 Elizabeth St., jingfongny.com

Communal Dining NYC: Mimi Cheng's Dumplings

Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings are hugely popular, with sheer dumpling wrappers filled with local, mostly organic, ingredients. Macro bowls with rice and veggies, chili noodles, $14, scallion pancakes, $7.50. The Nolita location has a communal table; East Village has beer and wine. 380 Broome St./179 Second Ave., mimichengs.com

Communal Dining NYC: Kanoyama

Almost all sushi bars have a counter—a communal experience as diners sit side by side watching the chefs slice and assemble. Kanoyama has a sushi combo, $19, eel and cucumber roll $7. Open 5:30-11pm or so. Fish is fresh and space is tight. Beer, wine, soft drinks, and many types of sake available.  175 Second Ave., kanoyama.com

Communal Dining NYC: Cocoron

Ramen-devotees love cash-only, no reservations Cocoron for dip soba (large $17), mera mera soba with bonito flakes, chicken meatball dip soba (large $16.50), and other variants. Closed Mondays, other days open at noon. The place is bright and airy with a large wrap-around communal counter. 16 Delancey St., cocoronandgoemon.com

Communal Dining NYC: Grace's Marketplace

Grace’s Marketplace is a large upmarket grocery store with high quality and pricey ready-made foods, produce, seafood, meat. and baked goods. The Chef’s Table, a communal counter, is more moderately priced.  Breakfast or lunch, 11:00am-4pm has a fried egg sandwich with bacon, cheddar, and arugula on a roll, $13, Southern fried chicken sandwich, $15, short rib burger with slaw and fries. $15, or chopped club salad $15. Dinner starts at 5pm with daily specials like fish tacos, pastas, and salads; many entrées under $20. Beer and wine by the glass. 1299 Second Ave., gracesmarketplace.com

Communal Dining NYC: Roberta's 

Roberta's

The communal table at Roberta’s seats six to eight. Lunch has sandwiches, salads, and pizzas, like the four-cheese Four Emperors, $19. Dinner includes pastas, $17-$18, scallop ceviche, and bountiful cheese, meat, and combo platters. Full bar, no reservations. Two “pop-up” Roberta’s in Manhattan serve pizza only. 261 Moore St., Brooklyn, robertaspizza.com

Communal Dining NYC: Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien

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Le Pain Quotidien (translates as “daily bread”) began in Brussels and has locations all over NYC—Google for specifics. Pain serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with many items organic and vegan/vegetarian items available. Tartines (open faced sandwiches) are topped with anything from turkey and avocado to tuna Niçoise. There are quiches, salads, soups, and all manner of coffees, teas, and lemonade; also wine. Most Pain’s sell baked goods up front. lepainquotidien.com

Communal Dining NYC: Soccarat 

For paella, tapas and other Spanish delights, Socarrat fills the bill. Tapas start at $9 with most around $15; bountiful classic paella with seafood and chicken $28 per person. Cheese and Jamon Iberica platters start at $20. There is an extensive wine list and daily specials. 259 W. 19th St. in Chelsea, (communal table also at the Nolita location), soccaratnyc.com

About the Author

Mari S. Gold is a freelance writer whose work has been published in The New York Times, American Profile, Go Nomad, www.newyorkarts.com, Stratton Magazine, Go World Travel, and other outlets. A lifelong New Yorker and avid traveler, she also writes on food, theater, and other cultural events. Her blog, But I Digress…can be found at www.marigoldonline.net.

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