Quotes from The Virago Book of Food: The Joy of Eating
People believe that dining alone will mark them as a loser or a desperate soul, one who can't find a friend in all the world to eat with them. But the reality is that other diners hardly notice you. And if they do, they probably think you are from another country.
In the same way that you should get massages and take naps or meditate, you should, everyone should, make a point to eat out by yourself from time to time. You should be kind enough to yourself to lavish your appetite with good food without the interruptions of company.
When you are by yourself, you have the chance to read the entire menu, take in the décor, observe the theater of the place and, most important, pay attention to the food. You can concentrate on the interplay of flavors rather than having to make a mental note to do so in between delivering anecdotes about your vacation. (If the company is good, I often come home forgetting what wine we drank or what the spice was in the cake.) You may sit by yourself, but you are never lonely.
Which is why some of the best meals of my life have been solitary. In Europe, dining alone is much more common than it is here. When I turned twenty-three, I took myself to lunch at La Côte St. Jacques. then a three-star restaurant in Joigny, France. During the six-course menu dégustation, none of the army of waiters in tuxedos seemed to pity me. None of the other diners in the room expressed disapproval. The only person disturbed by the event was my mother, when she got the bill.
Cooking for Mr Latte
La Côte St. Jacques