I used to wait tables in my twenties (I’m 40 now) and if I saw a “one pax” (table for one) in the reservation book I’d always think, “Well that’s a bit strange – they’re either a reviewer or desperately lonely.”

Wow, 22-year-old Lizzy was incredibly judgemental. I also used to think Russell Brand was like soooo hot. Didn’t we all? My point is people can change.

Solo diners aren’t necessarily lonely. In fact, I would say they are the coolest clears throat and most beautiful flicks hair diner you’ll find in the restaurant. There is no greater pleasure than deciding when you want to eat, what you want to eat, and how much you want to eat. You can leave whenever you want. And there’s no arguing over the bill and who drank what and how much because your friend is taking a break from booze but they still had dessert and you didn’t. There’s less forensic accounting and that’s great.

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It can also be an adventure. When I was travelling in France last year by myself (ooh la la kiss kiss) I spent most meals by myself, except one, where the only seat left in the restaurant was the one opposite me and the waiter asked if I’d share my table with a stranger – which of course I did. I’m in Europe, darling. It could have been George Clooney. It wasn’t. It was a really rich vice president of some car company. I know because he showed me his website (LOL) and paid for my meal. We chatted and had an amazing dinner, then we went out for drinks, made out, did long distance for a while and now we’re married. Nope, that didn’t actually happen, but hey, it could have.

Watch: A Guide to Dining Solo With Comedian Lizzy Hoo

Dining alone can push you out of your comfort zone, “And that’s where the magic happens!” Lizzy Hoo, Self-help Expert. Put that on my gravestone. I’m a stand-up comedian and currently on tour, which means I spend a lot of time by myself in different cities. Aren’t you lonely, you ask? Yes, yes I am. All comedians are lonely weirdos unless you’re a big dog with an entourage. We are on stage by ourselves, we wander around foreign cities by ourselves, I’ll finish a show and say, “good gig!” to absolutely nobody and then head home.

When I’m on tour I make sure I am eating well. The temptation to live off Mi Goreng in my hotel room is real! I love food, so often you’ll find me pre- or post-gig sitting solo at a quiet table or at a bar enjoying a meal to myself. I eat by myself more often than I co-dine. Come and join my solo dining crew! Not literally, please sit at another table.

If I’m home in Melbourne, often you’ll find me before or after a gig hunched over a big bowl of steamy noodles with my glasses fogging up at Pho Bo Ga Mekong. I’ll also go to Lulu’s Char Koay Teow on Hardware Lane if I need a big plate of delicious fried comfort noodles. It’s no secret the char koay teow here is legit. Even my Malaysian dad approves. Or you’ll find me at the corner table at McDonalds on the corner of Swanston and Lonsdale streets tucking into a Happy Meal. Drink of choice? Sprite. There is no greater comedy show than a city McDonalds late at night.

It’s not all about those quick feeds. Sometimes I just want to enjoy a lush meal and it’s too late to organise something and all my go-to dining buddies, of which there are three, are busy. I’ll get on my best mysterious “who-is-she?” outfit and pretend I’m a really rich businesswoman in town for meetings, which I totally pull off until I bring out my orange ING debit card.

A bar is your bestie when you’re eating alone. If you really do want to chat, bartenders looooooove talking about themselves or some new drink they’re working on. “Blah blah blah Guatemalan rum?”

Basically, anywhere that doesn’t do food designed to share is perfect for a one pax. The only thing you have to get around is your own thoughts. It’s fine to eat by yourself. Just sit back, people watch and pretend you’re in your own movie. And when the bill comes out … you just pay for it! And always add a tip because you can’t blame a 0% tip on anyone else but you!

Lizzy’s top 10 places to solo dine in Melbourne

Big PMS, “I need a cheesy lasagne through an IV drip” kinda vibe. Find me here when I’m sad and angry loading up the carbs and sedating the feels. Don’t approach, might bite.

City Wine Shop
It’s giving “businesswoman in town for one night only with no plans.” A lazy wine and a schnitzel. I love a schnitzel! And the coleslaw that comes with it. Why not start with a few oysters you don’t have to share?

Brunetti Oro
During Melbourne International Comedy Festival my best mate always asks me, “Are you at the Brunetti stage of the festival yet?” This usually hits around week three when you’ll find me in a corner having strong coffee and something called a Chocolate Oblivion at 6pm. It’s in the cabinet and makes everything better.

Pho Bo Ga Mekong
Quick, easy and delicious. There’s always hot tea and if there’s a line, it moves quickly. Get me a beef and tripe pho loaded up with chilli to clear the senses. You ain’t living if there is no offal in your pho!

Lulu’s Char Koay Teow
A Hardware Lane staple, this is a go-to for any Malaysians in Melbourne. I’ve taken my dad and he didn’t complain which is a HUGE compliment.

Perfect lunchtime by myself Malaysian comfort food. It’s the lor mee for me but there are plenty of classics – Hainanese chicken rice, kaya toast, chee cheong fun and so much kuih (sweets) you can take away and eat in your car.

Butchers Diner
This place is open late and is the perfect meal before the tram ride home. Be entertained by the crowds spilling out onto the streets. I’ll go for a cheeseburger or a steak sandwich and some chippies.

Tipo 00
Buzzy, classy and damn good. It’s famous for pasta but sometimes I just like to get a couple of entrees and a glass of wine and be on my way.

Poodle Bar and Bistro
Gorgeous food, excellent people watching and eavesdropping. Tell me more about your Palm Springs holiday for work? You’ll be wondering “Who are you?” about everyone you see. Also, a monogrammed poodle on every wine glass. Cute!

Bar Lourinha
The perfect city bar to enjoy a glass of wine and some tapas for one. Charming, unpretentious and reliable. I love sitting at the bar and looking at all the art on the wall. A good one to come back to with friends to share some of the bigger dishes.

Lizzy Hoo’s new stand-up show Hoo’s That Girl? *is on now at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival until April 21. Tickets at comedy.com.au