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Looking for restaurants featuring counter/bar dining? Click: eating at the bar
Interested in restaurants featuring communal table dining? Click: eating with others

Sooner or later, EVERYONE business and pleasure travelers, singles, those divorced or widowed, very-marrieds whose spouses are on the road, harried moms and dads, etc. faces the challenge of eating out alone!

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THE How-to Booklet of Solo Dining Tips & Strategies:

The Art and Satisfaction of Dining Alone REVEALED!

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Coyotes - Deli & Grill (403) 762-3963; 206 Caribou Street, Banff, Alberta, Canada

Amenities: If you're among the fortunate planning a visit to Banff and its spectacular neighbors Athabasca Falls, Columbia Icefield, Lake Louise, etc. you'll need serious sustenance.

Coyotes serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. A dandy dining counter, seating six, that overlooks an open kitchen, is THE place for solos. According to Owner Kathryn Wilson, it draws an equal number of out-of-towners and locals AND dinner is "the most appreciated meal."

Caveat: Wilson vows, "There are never more than six singles in the restaurant at any time." However, she admits couples are fast discovering this seating pleasure and advises reservations if you're contemplating visits during Christmas or the months of March, July and August.

Cuisine: Southwest Mediterranean Fusion (Buzzword: "blue cornmeal"!)

Neighborhood: Center of downtown

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The Belvedere (403) 265-9595; 107 Eighth Avenue, SW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Amenities: The local petroleum trade has discovered this gem and turned their out-of-town visitors on to it; hence, this restaurant is accustomed to hearty numbers of solos, especially at dinner.

Though solo diners are offered a choice of whatever is available in the way of seating, a scant 18 tables calls for creativity and a bit of coddling if you plan to enjoy a meal here. When you call to make a reservation, consider offering to share your table with another solo diner.

Cuisine: North American Contemporary with a French flair

Neighborhood: Heart of downtown

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Centro Grill & Wine Bar (416) 483-2211; 724 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Amenities: "Everyone should be spoiled" is the philosophy that's kept business booming at Centro Grill for 16 years (More restaurants should follow their lead!) a philosophy that embraces solo diners.

Early in the week, and early in the evening, both male and female solo business travelers (A recent addition to the mix a soap opera actress, filming on location.) are a staple.

It's no surprise Centro Grill is a celebrity magnet. The likes of Paul Newman, Joan Rivers, Jim Carey, Nicholas Cage and Keanu Reeves dine and relax here.

"Regulars" have discovered Centro provides, "one stop shopping." They have a choice of upstairs elegant dining (where they will be seated "in the middle of the action." Management doesn't want anyone to "feel out of place.") or the more casual lower level where lighter fare, like pizza and salad, (full menu, too) is available, plus a best kept secret: live music, including R&B, blues and jazz.

Cuisine: European Continental

Neighborhood: Uptown


Brix Restaurant & Wine Bar (604) 915-9463; 1138 Homer Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Amenities: Tapas (We counted 13 on the menu!), small plate dining, a perfect choice for any solo who craves array-of-tastes dining; 60 wines by the glass; reading materials, including The Wine Spectator and Saveur; dining at the lounge/bar (nine seats at the latter; comfy backs and cushions per the latter seating).

These solo dining attractions and more have been available for the past 3 1/2 years; nevertheless, solo diners have yet to discover Brix. is pleased to help get the word out!

Cuisine: Modern American Progressive West Coast (High end with 3/4 level prices)

Neighborhood: Yaletown Warehouse area

Bridges' Bistro (604) 687-4400; 1696 Duranleau Street, #200, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Amenities: A landmark overlooking water, mountain and city views for over 25 years, Bridges' offers several dining options with windows galore: fine dining, the bistro and the bar.

However the dock, a large patio on the water with seating for 300 and skads of small tables, is the big draw for solo diners. Solo locals and visitors, ages 20-50, pack this area throughout the day, especially between lunch and dinner.

Cuisine: Seafood, pasta and burgers (20 wines by the glass; no reservations)

Neighborhood: Water's edge off Granville Island, just five minutes from downtown.

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Herons Restaurant and Lounge The Fairmont Waterfront (604) 691-1818; 900 Canada Place Way; Vancouver, V6C 3L5, British Columbia, Canada.

Amenities: Solos are usually seated at one of the tables close to floor-to-ceiling windows with a view of Vancouver's scenic inner harbour. From their tables, guests can see the lush Stanley Park, the Lion's Gate Bridge, cruise ships gliding into shore and the North Shore Mountains.

Their personable servers are used to solo diners because many hotel guests are traveling on business alone.

Additional particulars:

· Roughly 60 percent of their solo diners are men and 40 percent are women.
· 80 percent of solo diners are hotel guests; 20 percent are based elsewhere.
· 30 wines available by the glass.(Sommelier, Coreen Marquez, is on hand to suggest the perfect half-liter of BC wine, to accompany whatever dish you choose.)
· The Fairmont Waterfront does communal seating for special events in tables of 8 or10. Roughly 10 per cent of diners at their special events are solo and roughly 90 per cent from from outside the hotel.

Cuisine: Regional

Ouest (604) 738-8938; 2881 Granville Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Amenities: Solo diners have distinct preferences at Ouest. They prefer: (1) the bar (10 seats) for lunch and (2) table-seating (several smaller tables for two with views of the restaurant and the kitchen) at dinner. That said, most solo diners appear on weekdays for dinner and on weekends for lunch.

Who are they? Solo diners include locals primarily male walk-ins and females sent by hotel concierges.

Cuisine: Contemporary Regional the best of what the region has to offer.

Neighborhood: South Granville

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Leméac (514) 270-0999; 1045 Laurier Ouest Avenue, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Amenities: This European-style brasserie attracts professionals, politicians and a goodly number of solo diners.

The award-winning architecture, featuring corner windows and colorful terrazzo flooring, is part of the draw. So is dining at the 18-seat bar, though many solos reserve table seating for both lunch and dinner.

Cuisine: Bistro-type (The chef is fond of reviving traditional dishes and transforming them into "new classics"; e.g. Calf Liver Pavé prepared 1 1/2" thick.)

Neighborhood: Near the University of Montreal

Les Remparts at L'Auberge du Vieux-Port (514) 392-1649; 93 de la Commune Street East, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Amenities: Built of old stone walls and massive wooden beams, this restaurant is historically located on the site of the old wall, which long ago encircled the city of Ville-Marie.

Long on history and splendidly appointed, it's short on seating 50 seats and 10-15 of them are claimed by solos every evening! (60% are business women)

Many of the restaurant's solo guests are gregarious; they commonly strike up conversations with diners at adjoining tables. Hence, don't just hope to discover such conviviality after you're seated. Take the initiative beforehand when you make a reservation.

Thrill management by offering to share your table with another solo diner. (If you're fortunate enough to be in Montreal from the end of June through the end of July, you'll truly desire company. Roof top seating, spanning 7pm-10pm includes a view of the old port, a "roof top menu"and a fireworks display twice a week.)

Note: "The Terrace" (more seating with a spectacular view) is scheduled to open May 1, 2005.

Cuisine: Seasonal French, with emphasis on local purveyors

Neighborhood: Old Montreal

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