There is something therapeutic about dining alone. To be able to sit alone at a bar, or on a sunny outdoor cafe patio, and to truly enjoy the essence of a restaurant, is one of my most cherished experiences. 

As much as I love a dinner out with bottles of wine and lots of pizza with my friends, some of my best food memories in fact come from dining alone. In a recent personal trip to California, I sat at the bar of the Girl and the Fig on a Sunday night and talked with both locals and restaurant staff for hours over our shared love for food and cooking. Everything from the conversation to the wine paired with the pastis-scented mussels was a magical experience. 

When dining alone, you can truly embrace a restaurant: the clientele, the service, the notes of the wine and how it pairs with the food. Plus, it's a bonus when finding a seat at a bar at some of the hardest restaurants to score a reservation at. Go on a weekday, put your phone away, and it's like you're on a mini vacation. 

Here are my recommendations for the best restaurants in NYC for dining along:

Freeman's, Lower East Side: A homey dark restaurant set in a hidden alley. It's cold and you've had a rough day at work: you totally deserve a glass of wine and an order of their homemade spinach artichoke dip all for yourself. 

Cafe Mogador, East Village: The Moroccan lamb tagine and mezze platter are simply transforming. In the spring and summer, I love sitting on the sunny outdoor patio and ordering the blueberry pancakes. 

Buvette, West Village: Sit in one of the quaint antique tables, order a cappuccino and one of the best chocolate croissants you'll ever taste.

Upstate Beer & Oyster Bar, East Village: Sit at the low-key bar and order the freshest oysters and a bowl of the linguini with clams. The weekly seasonal scallops are also a hit. 
Han Dynasty, Union Square: Some of the best Szechuan in New York City. No frill, no reservations and definitely not mild. 

Minetta Tavern, SoHo: Everyone deserves a $20 burger every now and then. Take advantage of being solo and savor every single bite. 

Rubriosa, NoHo: Awesome music with even better vodka pizza.