Newsletter: The best thing our restaurant critic ate this summer

Solo dining has always struck me as a particularly luxurious experience. There is a freedom to eating whatever you want, wherever you want, at your own pace. Of course, some restaurants do a better job than others at catering to parties of one, and solo dining often feels at odds with popular dining formats like communal seating and shareable small plates.

Somni, chefs José Andrés and Aitor Zabala’s Spanish-inspired tasting-menu restaurant inside the swanky SLS Hotel, features a curved chef’s counter with an open view of the kitchen brigade at work. The setup makes you feel more like an important spectator than a mere dinner guest. Zabala’s modernist cooking is frequently fun and delicious, with Wonka-esque conversation pieces like a pizza slice fashioned out of meringue and a crisp turbo wing laminated in teriyaki sauce. Hayato, Brandon Hayato Go’s seven-seat omakase restaurant at the Row DTLA, is another restaurant that rewards the solo dining experience. Chef Go and his team lead you through a multicourse kaiseki-inspired dinner that is a pleasure to enjoy by yourself.