The Best Restaurants for Reading and Dining Slideshow
Homespun Foods — Beacon, N.Y.
If you're in the Hudson Valley, this is a great place to re-charge. Check out the day's selections on the large blackboard and scope out the baked goods you'll want for dessert. This is a cozy space with a patio in back.
Dottie's Coffee Lounge — Pittsfield, Mass.
Home — Los Angeles
Just like its name suggests, this restaurant's aim is to make you comfortable with "homemade" food including sandwich plates, wraps, salads, and a popular brunch. Enjoy warm tones indoors, and the outdoor patio, with its foliage, mini-ponds, and waterfalls, invites you to linger in the shade.
Pates et Traditions — Brooklyn, N.Y.
This cheerful little eatery does not rely on its Williamsburg hipness quotient; it authentically makes great food (a mouthwatering variety of crêpes for brunch, dinner, and dessert — but those in the know say that the penne with mustard sauce is also a must) and has kindly service that leaves its fans delighted.
Café Du Monde — New Orleans
Sure, it's popular with tourists, but this is a great place for those dining on their own to soak in the "N'awlins" ambiance. A powdery beignet and a chicory iced coffee will give you plenty of energy to explore the city afterward.
Eastside Café — Austin, Texas
"Fresh" is the name of the game here; the restaurant has an on-site garden. Set in an old house, the laid-back Eastside Café began serving homegrown veggies long before the "local foods" movement became popular. Try the artichoke manicotti.
The Bakery at Cakes & Ale — Decatur, Ga.
House of Tricks — Tempe, Ariz.
Right in the middle of this college town, there is an unexpected oasis. The place is named for the owners, Robin and Robert Trick, and their contemporary American venue has mostly outdoor seating with myriad plants, trees, and a goldfish pond. The atmosphere is utterly relaxing, and don't be surprised if one of their cats strolls up to pay you a visit.
Bang Bang Pie Shop — Chicago
This new venture already has dedicated followers. Why? Well, the pie of course (I mean... Chocococonut... yes, please) but people also rave about the biscuits. Slather one with blueberry-lavender jam and then take your treats to the funky and relaxed backyard lined with picnic tables.
Revel — Seattle
Plenty of seating options are available at this Korean fusion restaurant; sit on the great deck if you want a little solitude, or sit in the open kitchen if you want some action around you. Friendly service makes it easy to grab a seat and enjoy the rice and noodle dishes.
Postrio — Venetian Resort, Las Vegas
As it turns out, Sin City can actually be quite hospitable to the solo diner. At Wolfgang Puck's Postrio, which is lighter and brighter than many other Vegas dining choices, you may sit either inside or "outside" in this little slice of Venice. If you choose the latter, you'll have a good seat for the festivities in the hotel's version of St. Mark's Square.
The St. James Tearoom — Albuquerque, N.M.
You may not expect a proper high tea experience in the Southwest, but it's here and it's the real deal. With a variety of seating arrangements for hosting parties from one to 42, from cozy nooks to the Library, The Tearoom strives to pamper its guests. The light-fare menu includes savories, breads, and sweets courses, along with the appropriate tea.
Zuni Café — San Francisco
Lots of large windows and two levels with many rooms of seating make for a bit of good reading-and-eating. Zuni is accustomed to welcoming solo diners, and offers regional Italian and French cuisine along with a great oyster selection.
Westville Chelsea — New York City
Country décor makes Westville a bright, homey place to stake your claim. Tons of solid options at a good price abound: salads, entrées, sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, and desserts. Grab an outside table if you can.