"Luckily," I've been able to put this to test in Taipei, where my last consulting case took place. I was the only person on the ground... and so I was also the only person doing pretty much anything related or not related to work. And yes, that included eating.
For most of three weeks (weekdays anyways), I ate alone. It wasn't bad though it had its moments. I tried to stay out of the spot light the first time, picking a corner seat so I don't look out of place and lonely (yup, I'm a hypocrite!). Then I got better at it. Second meal, I started to look up more and notice the environment. I started to note the operations of restaurants (man are they inefficient!). I took note of a couple flirting and then fighting in a span of 10 minutes. I even smiled at others who gave me weird stares.
Best of all, I took my camera. Here's my lonely (alonely?) set up at Ton Sushi, a well regarded sushi establishment near Taipei 101, the world's tallest building.
In sushi restaurants, you often get extremes. Either the stuff is not fresh and you're wondering why you shelled out $50 for some seafood that's been sitting in the fridge for a couple of days; or it was $50 very well spent on every aspect of the meal from the salad to the sushi to tea to dessert. Imagine my surprise when the sushi came with fresh fish and plain rice. I don't even think it is Japanese (read: vinegar!) rice. The fish was so good I found it hard to believe that the rice was sub par.
The following pictures are eel sushi and a assortment dish. Overall, still yummy... but the rice was a big big disappointment.