Eating alone encouraged

One restaurant is changing the face of solo dining forever.

Eating alone encouraged

Forget romantic candlelit dinners with your significant other, the latest trend when it comes to this restaurant is all about one being company and two most definitely a crowd.

The latest venture out of the cool city that is Amsterdam is EENMAAL, the world’s first one-person restaurant. Founded by Marina van Goor, the idea was developed to address the fact that most people do not enjoy eating alone, instead often feeling embarrassed, and on the receiving end of unwanted stares from other diners.

Calling eating alone “the most extreme form of feeling disconnected in our culture”, Marina wanted EENMAAL to help break the negative connotations attached to eating out alone and to make it easier for people to enjoy a solo meal.

Located in a 17th-century canal house, EENMAAL was originally only opened as a pop-up restaurant designed to only last two days. The demand has been so strong and steady that 18 months later, it’s unlikely EENMAAL will be going anywhere anytime soon, with the concept even appearing in London for a two day pop-up thanks to Glacéau Smartwater.

With a capacity of 20 tables for one, the first-of-its-kind restaurant isn’t just for solo travellers, with locals encouraged to frequent EENMAAL too.

Branded by Marina as an “attractive place for temporary disconnection”, we love the idea. After all, is there really any better company than your own?

What do you think of this unique dining experience? Would you like to see more restaurants like EENMAAL opening?

Find out more at EENMAAL.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    3rd Oct 2015
    I love Amsterdam, and like this concept of a restaurant catering for solo diners, but I don't quiet understand the stigma, or why people "often feeling embarrassed, and on the receiving end of unwanted stares from other diners." I eat alone often and have never noticed other diners staring, looking, or in any other way having an opinion on my solo attendance. Even if there was a squad of fellow eaters actually attempting to assure I was seen as the odd one out, it would be more their problem than mine. As this article points out, I am my own best company. Why would I even entertain an inkling of an idea that eating on my own was in any way less than any other form of eating. I do love the slogan “attractive place for temporary disconnection”, as opposed to all those unattractive places for temporary disconnection. Be well my fellow single diners, eat, sit, stare, enjoy the hustle and bustle around you as you sit serenely on your own with pride. : -)
    fish head
    3rd Oct 2015
    I, too, fail to see why dining alone is considered strange. If I am travelling by myself then, of course, I will dine alone unless I find a compatible fellow traveller to share the meal.What is so unusual about that? Not all of us travel in packs nor need constant conversation. In fact, eating solo is often LESS obvious than a mass descent on a hotel dining room as occurs with bus tours.
    3rd Oct 2015
    What a great idea! And yes, why should the lone diner be such a source of attention? We should have more of these EENMAAL type restaurants; I bet the single seater tables will be a winner even with those who are not single, when they want to "get away from it all".
    3rd Oct 2015
    I love this idea and hope it catches on in Australia, as a solo diner one would feel so welcome!
    3rd Oct 2015
    It amuses me, the comments from obviously males, how they cannot understand how eating alone can be a problem. I have done so for many years (not by choice I can assure you) have had some nice experiences, and some very upsetting as well.
    A very nice Restaurant near where I live in Brisbane, will not take bookings for one, and they have some really good events there, is my money not good enough?
    The worst experience was in Jersey, stayed in a beautiful old Hotel, (used by the Germans in the War) the dining room was huge, it used to be the Ballroom, just spectacular, however the waiters were from some country in Europe, they hovered near the doorways, pointing and giggling at me sitting alone, it became so uncomfortable, I asked to have my meals taken to my room for the rest of the stay. I have never forgotten that. If it had been a man on his own it just would not have happened. So men try and put another hat on for a moment!
    3rd Oct 2015
    Dizzy, I am sorry if you think my comments were gender biased. My point being, although I have never noticed this phenomenon, how could some small minded, ignoramuses, affect what I, or anyone else, do at meal time, or any other time for that matter. It is theur problem, not mine. As I said "eat, sit, stare, enjoy the hustle and bustle around you as you sit serenely on your own with pride".
    Ageing but not getting old
    4th Oct 2015
    Dizzy: My first thought, too, was that the first two notes must have been from men who never have experienced what women sometimes have and do experience. As I live on my own, when I do dine out, I prefer to have at least one companion to share the meal 'experience' with; basically, someone to chat with, (hopefully) enjoy the food with; a social event. But I also do have & have had meals on my own both in Australia and overseas. Probably the worst experience I've ever had was when I took the Indian Pacific from Perth to Sydney in 1981 (I was a travel agent at that time, and was in my 30's); I was on my own and until we got to Port Pierie, where we picked up people connecting from Adelaide did I find other people in my approx. age range and other single travellers. If you are travelling solo, they often seat you for meals at a table with other solo travellers too. Met two males who worked for SA Transport going to a business conference of some kind and I arranged to play cards that evening; it was all OK until one of them started coming on to me; he was quite persistent after a while, and when I finally got annoyed and just told him I was NOT interested, he asked "What's the matter; are you a lesbian or something?". As if the ONLY reason I would not want to be with him was that I was gay! Of course I left quick smart at that point!
    fish head
    5th Oct 2015
    Aging/Dizzy: you have jumped to an erroneous conclusion regarding my sex. I am a very well travelled female " well beyond the age of discretion" quite happy in my own company if necessary but raised on the principle that it is permissible to speak to strangers if they wish it but also aware that some people are not comfortable doing so.The bad manners of others is best ignored where possible. Staring comes under this heading.As an adult female, I, and I alone are responsible for my choices and how I behave. The perception of strangers is immaterial.Like Trood I've handed out a few polite dismissals at unwelcome invitations.Drunks can be a problem but as I have got older I have discovered to my astonishment that if you actually talk to them politely the message gets across in most cases.But remember - you're a person first, a female second.
    3rd Oct 2015
    Dizzy , I too am in Brisbane , I'd love to know the name of the place you mentioned ,but then again , it's my money and I can go spend it anywhere ,
    Men , just always remember that old fashioned notion that a woman alone was either desperate or "looking for work ", such an insult ,!
    3rd Oct 2015
    Quite so, decades ago and better looking I used to go out by myself to eat when pubs started to put on food instead of just booze; annoyingly always someone (male) has to either stare invitingly or come over and ask if I would like to join them. NO...I came to eat which I am quite capable of doing without the help or attention of a man or anyone else for that matter. Fortunately times have changed and a female eating alone is more 'acceptable'.
    4th Oct 2015
    Not far from the Straddie ferry entry point, used to be a Police Station.

    3rd Oct 2015
    I'll be looking for this place when in Amsterdam next year
    6th Oct 2015
    I don't mind eating out alone in restaurants, providing I have something to read. Once I went into a place and sat at a four-seater table. I was asked by the owner if I could move to a two-seater table so he could fit in more customers. The place was not crowded and I was not impressed by his remarks, needless to say I didn't go back again.......What a wanker.
    7th Oct 2015
    A friend was eating alone in a restaurant.
    A lady was eating alone at the next table.
    As a gentleman he spoke to the solo lady and asked her politely if she would like company while they both ate their meals.
    "I would like some company, but not yours!" She said.
    Sometimes it is better to stay solo.

    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles