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The Sydney restaurants where solo diners score the best seat in the house

From personalised book recommendations to custom engraved serveware, these Sydney restaurants are stepping it up for the single diner.

Bianca Hrovat

The experience of eating alone at three-hatted Barangaroo restaurant Oncore by Clare Smyth is so exceptional that one young man has returned more than 87 times over the past 18 months. No small feat, considering the restaurant’s set menus are priced from $340 (not including drinks).

Restaurant manager Michael Stoddart takes particular care with solo diners, from curating a selection of books for their table to having their names embroidered on napkins after their tenth visit.

Restaurant manager Michael Stoddart goes to extra lengths to make solo diners feel special at Oncore by Clare Smyth.
Restaurant manager Michael Stoddart goes to extra lengths to make solo diners feel special at Oncore by Clare Smyth. Brook Mitchell

“I’ve always found solo diners to be the most intriguing guests,” says Stoddart, who received the award for service excellence in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2023.

“They could be dining out with family or friends but instead, they choose to spend time with us. There’s something very special about it.”

Oncore is one of a handful of Sydney restaurants making a concerted effort to cater to the increasing number of solo diners. Restaurant booking services such as ResDiary report single reservations increased steadily over the course of 2022.

Fried chicken with optional caviar served at the bar at Oncore by Clare Smyth in Sydney.
Fried chicken with optional caviar served at the bar at Oncore by Clare Smyth in Sydney.Jennifer Soo

Oncore’s most frequent visitor, a student in his early 20s who preferred not to be named, has become a welcome weekly fixture in the dining room. Several visits after the personalised napkin, staff excitedly presented him

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