If you’ve ever tried to eat out at a restaurant alone, you know it’s not the most inviting experience. Dining out, almost in its definition, is meant for parties of two or more, encouraging people to use food as a reason and a means to connect. But one Amsterdam restaurant is trying to rebrand the dining out experience and cater to people who want to eat alone.
Eenmaal, meaning “one time” and “one meal”, opened in Amsterdam earlier this year. It seats about 20 single diners in a sleek, industrially designed space and offers a pre-fixe four-course meal, complete with drinks and dessert for about $50. Claiming to be the world’s first one-person restaurant, Eenmaal is a place where you can only have a meal alone. And in a way, you’ll feel less alone in this sparsely populated, quiet restaurant of individuals than you would in a place bustling with groups of people chatting away.
We wanted to break the very recognizable taboo of eating out alone,” designer and creator Marina Van Goor explains. “I noticed that in society, there is actually no room for being alone in public spaces.”
And Eenmaal isn’t just for those who are eating alone because they don’t have a date that night. Goor says she wanted to create a space where people could unwind from the busy world over a great meal, and solo dining seemed like the solution.
Solitary dining can actually be an inspiring experience,” Goor says. “Because you get a chance to disconnect for a while in our hyper-connected world.”
And disconnected you will have to be at Eenmaal. To help everyone find a place of peace and quiet, the restaurant reportedly encourages diners to put away their electronics and enjoy some reading materials with their meals.
Eating alone can have its other perks. Some claim that the food tastes better when you’re enjoying it alone — and you have it all to yourself. Not to say that sharing isn’t caring and all that, but there’s something about people not picking and swapping dishes that seems to make Eenmaal’s diners claim that their meals take on an entirely new level of enjoyment.
According to some of our guests, taste is different when a person eats alone; It’s more intense,” Goor says. “We have a very talented chef, Leslie Dronkers, who tries to cook with flavors that emphasize that difference. Desserts seem to be especially appreciated by solo diners!”
Eenmaal’s unique dining experience also has to do with the fact that it’s a pop-up restaurant, meaning it changes locations in Amsterdam every so often. According to Goor, there are plans to open new locations in cities like London, Berlin and New York soon.