The Cooperstown Diner, Cooperstown, NY
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30 of the Smallest Restaurants Around the World

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The Cooperstown Diner, Cooperstown, NY
Courtesy of

big flavors, small spaces

Most restaurants want to pack in as many diners as possible to maximize profits, but that isn't always the case. Some tiny eateries buck conventional wisdom by instead focusing on a (very) small number of patrons. They include everything from pricey fine-dining establishments to humble holes in the wall, and at a few establishments, your table will actually be the only one. Curious? Here are some of the globe's smallest places to get a square meal.
Solo Per Due, Vacone, Italy
Sabino S./

solo per due | vacone, italy

If you know any Italian, the name of this restaurant north of Rome is a big tipoff — it means "only for two." And that's precisely what you'll get: the most intimate of dining experiences. Billing itself as "the smallest restaurant in the world," Solo Per Due has just one table for two and all the romantic atmosphere you'd expect: gardens, enchanting views, and even the ruins of a Roman villa. Cuisine, of course, is Italian, and dishes vary depending on what's in season.
The Squeeze-In, Sunbury, PA

the squeeze-in | sunbury, pennsylvania

This little dive in central Pennsylvania is almost impossibly narrow (stretch your arms out and you'll almost be able to touch both walls). It slings hot dogs for just five customers at a time, all of whom sit at a single worn counter. Try the specialty, called the Squeeze Dog: It's topped with mustard, ketchup, relish, onion, sweet and hot chili, sauerkraut, and baked beans. Wash it down in true Squeeze-In fashion with a cold chocolate milk.
É By José Andrés, Las Vegas, NV
Steve A./

é by josé andrés | las vegas

You'll find this tiny, exclusive restaurant-within-a-restaurant at Jaleo, celebrity chef José Andrés' restaurant at the Cosmopolitan. Beyond the hush-hush glass door is a nine-seat chef's table with blood-red walls and curtains where guests can enjoy avant-garde Spanish cuisine. The prepaid reservations don't come cheap: They start at $275 a person, not including booze. But you're not just paying for food: This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch a master chef show off.

Related: 20 Bucket List Restaurants in Las Vegas

El Papagayo, Córdoba, Argentina

el papagayo | cordoba, argentina

El Papagayo is one of the largest spots on our list, with room for three dozen diners. But the fine-dining restaurant feels a lot smaller, because it has been wedged into an alley — literally. It's just over 8 feet wide with a sleek concrete wall on one side and exposed brick on the other. And while the fixed-menu dinner of Argentinian and Mediterranean fare is quite spendy, reviewers have nothing but praise for the experience.
Hiden, Miami, FL

hiden | miami

High-end sushi and Japanese cuisine tucked away inside a taco joint? Not what most people would expect, and that's precisely how the chef at Hiden wants it. Found behind a copper wall, Hiden is an omakase — that means that you get whatever the chef wants to cook — and the fish is flown in fresh from Japan twice a week. It's also the ultimate in intimate dining, because there's room for only eight privileged diners who get to watch their meal prepared on the spot.
The Bite House, Forks Baddeck, Canada
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the bite house | forks baddeck, canada

A dozen diners at a time can indulge in an elegantly plated nine-course meal crafted from local ingredients at this restaurant in an old farmhouse on Nova Scotia's remote Cape Breton Island. Named one of Canada's best (and most thoroughly Canadian) places to dine by Food & Wine magazine, it must be something special indeed, because reservations for all of 2019 are already sold out.
Texas Tavern, Roanoke, VA

texas tavern | roanoke, virginia

A sign on the wall of tiny Texas Tavern proclaims that it seats "1,000 people ... 10 at a time." And if it weren't for the retro neon "EAT" sign directing diners through the door, they could well miss this compact Roanoke landmark that serves up burgers, hot dogs, egg sandwiches, and chili. Worried about snagging a stool? Come in the middle of the night — it's open 24/7.

Related: Best Greasy Spoon in Every State

Kuappi, Iisalmi, Finland
Janne P./

kuappi | iisalmi, finland

Look out, Solo Per Due: You have some stiff competition for the title of "smallest restaurant in the world." Kuappi, in central Finland, also sits only two, and the entire structure itself (a tiny wooden cabin by the water) is just 86 square feet. There's still a full bar, though the alcohol comes in miniature bottles. Curious? Go during the summer — it's open only from June through August.
Blanca, New York City, NY
Ken S./

blanca | new york city

This 12-seat restaurant in an industrial section of Bushwick isn't cheap at $200 a head, but it has earned two coveted Michelin stars and glowing reviews from the culinary press. For foodies, the experience is one to covet, allowing everyone to perch at a long bar and look directly into the kitchen, where the chef whips up one surprising dish after another. The Infatuation chronicles one recent 19-course menu here.
Canteen Lunch in the Alley, Ottumwa, IA
Todd H./

canteen lunch in the alley | ottumwa, iowa

Yes, this odd little restaurant is truly in an alley, adding to the hole-in-the-wall feel. Around since 1927, the tiny interior features an old-school horseshoe-shaped lunch counter that accommodates only 17 people at a time. If there's a wait, it's worth it, devotees say. Try the signature loose-meat sandwich, washed down by a malt, and followed up by a slice of homemade pie.
Mesa1, Punta de Mita, Mexico
Courtesy of Mesa1 at W Punta De Mita

mesa1 | punta de mita, mexico

At the W Hotel's Mesa1, you'll dine on an ever-changing seven-course tasting menu at a single table that's been sourced from a massive tree found in a local forest. The table is surrounded by lanterns, fire pits, and a spring-fed lake, and it's accessible only by stepping stones that disappear into the water once you're seated. There's only one seating a night, for anywhere from two to 18 guests.
Le Comptoir, Los Angeles, CA
Jane K./

le comptoir | los angeles

Dinner is an intimate affair indeed at Le Comptoir, inside Koreatown's Hotel Normandie, which is outfitted with a single counter that can hold just 10 guests at a time. The restaurant serves a veggie-heavy, eight-course prix fixe tasting menu that uses many ingredients sourced from an organic urban garden in Long Beach. "In a town where eating fresh vegetables is your constitutional right, Le Comptoir's are some of the best you'll find," notes The Infatuation.
Al's Breakfast, Minneapolis, MN
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al's breakfast | minneapolis

Beloved by students at nearby University of Minnesota, this Dinkytown breakfast institution has 14 stools and, often, a line out the door. Pay heed to the rules for your first visit: There's no paying with credit cards, no saving spots, no holding the door open in the winter (brrrrr), and certainly no joining the line after the 1 p.m. closing. Got it? Now try stuffing your face with the Wally Blues pancakes (that's blueberry pancakes with walnuts) or one of the hearty scrambles.
Inis Meáin, Inishmaan, Ireland
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inis meain | inishmaan, ireland

Up to 16 patrons can enjoy an intimate four-course meal made from the freshest local ingredients at Inis Meáin, and what a view they'll have: The restaurant's prominent windows look out on the windswept landscape of Inishmaan, one of Galway's Aran Islands off Ireland's western coast. And the location means a meal here is something of a commitment: You'll have to stay overnight, either at the attached suites or elsewhere on the island.
Mr. Pollo, San Francisco, CA
Jennifer B./

mr. pollo | san francisco

Mr. Pollo, a scruffy little Colombian restaurant in the Mission District, seats only a dozen diners. But there's more to this place than looks might suggest — namely, a surprisingly sophisticated four-course tasting menu, currently at a humble $30, according to reviewers. Arepas are still the specialty of the house. Though the restaurant has no website, it takes reservations via Yelp.
The Cooperstown Diner, Cooperstown, NY
Courtesy of

the cooperstown diner | cooperstown, new york

Head to upstate New York to find this brick charmer, billed as "so small, we only have 1/2 an address." According to locals, that means you'll have your pick of just 26 seats as you peruse the menu of diner classics. The specialty of the house is the jumbo half-pound burgers, or you can opt for breakfast staples such as pancakes, omelets, and corned beef hash — they're served all day long.
Takazawa, Tokyo, Japan
Courtesy of

takazawa | tokyo

Place a meal at Takazawa firmly in the once-in-a-lifetime category. The food-only menu costs roughly $360 per person at current exchange rates; add drinks and you'll creep close to a shocking $600. But this sleek 10-seat restaurant offers Japanese-French fusion plated "with the precision of a surgeon," according to Condé Nast Traveler, and the artful dishes will dazzle the eyes as much as the palate.
Talula's Table, Kennett Square, PA
Liz V./

talula's table | kennett square, pennsylvania

By day, Talula's Table is a busy market selling coffee, baked goods, a rotating menu of light lunch food, and high-quality pantry staples. By night, its farm table becomes a restaurant that welcomes up to 12 guests and serves an eight-course tasting menu. Current offerings include duck liver toast, a seared scallop and cashew crumble, handmade cavatelli, and dry-aged steak. No rushing is necessary, as you'll have the place to yourself and are welcome to linger for a leisurely four hours.
The Cozy Inn, Salina, KS
Nick R./

the cozy inn | salina, kansas

The Cozy Inn has been slapping sliders down on wax paper since 1922, with a neon sign that commands you to "buy 'em by the sack." Devotees say sitting down at the small lunch counter — it seats six people — still feels like a time warp. The smell of the cozy burgers alone, served only with onions, is worth the trip. (Truly, don't expect fancy extras such as cheese, lettuce, or tomato).
Upstairs Pancakes, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Meg C./

upstairs pancakes | amsterdam, netherlands

Head up a steep, narrow staircase in a traditional Dutch rowhouse to find Upstairs Pancakes, a quaint sliver of a four-table restaurant decorated with 100 hanging teapots and old paintings of Amsterdam. Up to 18 people at a time can enjoy a huge variety of crepe-like pancakes here, whether you're in the mood for sweet (banana and chocolate sauce; apple, cinnamon, and sugar) or savory (bacon and cheese; pulled beef). Though it's a casual joint, reservations are recommended.
Three Tables, Damascus, Syria

three tables | damascus, syria

As its name suggests, this tiny eatery has just three tables, and has managed not only to survive but flourish since 2013 in the war-torn Syrian capital. It specializes in local cuisine and, like many of the capital's newly opened restaurants, has become a welcome respite for residents looking for diversions closer to home as traveling outside the city has become more dangerous.
Otoko, Austin, TX
Oliver V./

otoko | austin, texas

Just a dozen diners at a time get to eat at Otoko, an omakase in Austin's sleek South Congress Hotel. Tickets hover close to $200 for an evening of modern Japanese cuisine loosely influenced by kaiseki, a kind of formal, multi-course Japanese meal. Next door is an equally diminutive bar, Watertrade, which specializes in high-end cocktails, Japanese whisky and sake.
Holzknechthütte, Carinthia, Austria
Courtesy of

holzknechthutte | carinthia, austria

When you want an intimate dinner with one of the world's most stunning views, try the Holzknechthütte, or "woodcutter's cabin," at the luxurious Almdorf Seinerzeit chalet resort. It has a single table for up to four guests that's squeezed alongside a wood-fired stove and a window overlooking a gorgeous Alpine valley. The experience comes with your own chef who prepares your meal right there in the stove.
Swan Oyster Depot, San Francisco, CA
eric w./

swan oyster depot | san francisco

This unassuming Nob Hill lunch counter will probably have a line at popular mealtimes — after all, it's one of the city's most iconic restaurants but has just 18 seats, according to Bon Appétit. But devotees say it's worth the wait, with some of the freshest oysters and most delicious clam chowder you'll ever taste. It's also a James Beard-designated "America's Classic." Just make sure you bring cash.
Por Qué No?, Antigua, Guatemala

por que no? | antigua, guatemala

Billing itself as "the biggest small restaurant experience in all of Guatemala," Por Qué No definitely isn't short on atmosphere. You can write on the walls in this cramped but eclectic 20-seat corner space, and there's a loft with a (very) steep staircase. A small menu includes camarones (shrimp), pollo en salsa de vino (chicken in wine sauce), and plenty of beer and wine.
Warung Selasa, New York City, NY
WEnDaLicious W./

warung selasa | new york city

There's just one tiny table for two at Warung Selasa, and it's tucked away inside Indo Java, a humble Indonesian grocery store on a busy street in Queens. Snagging that cheerful yellow table is even harder than you might expect, as the restaurant is only open a couple nights a week. But most would say it's worth it — this Indonesian pop-up has even earned a recommendation from The New York Times.
Tsuta, Tokyo, Japan
Sam S./

tsuta | tokyo

Japan's capital is littered with small ramen joints, but there's a big reason to seek out Tsuta. The noodles you can slurp here, doled out via a strict ticket system, represent the first ramen in the world to be awarded a Michelin star, and the nine-seat restaurant has received the honor every year since 2016. As Time notes, there are now other Tsuta outposts, but it's the tiny original Tokyo location that retains the best atmosphere.
Duly's Place, Detroit, MI
Lynn S./

duly's place | detroit

This place is tight — there's seating at a long counter, and a couple tables in the back. But narrow, wood-paneled Duly's Place, a Detroit staple for close to a century, is one of the best spots to get the city's famous Coney dogs, even earning the unequivocal recommendation of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. Duly's also serves breakfast 24/7. Bring cash — your credit cards are no good here.
Ultraviolet, Shanghai, China
Courtesy of

ultraviolet | shanghai

Saying Ultraviolet is out of this world somehow seems a bit hollow, but this single-table, 10-seat restaurant that has earned three Michelin stars prides itself on giving diners a transformative experience with music, lights, and floor-to-ceiling video, all in combination with 20 courses of avant-garde cuisine. The once-in-a-lifetime experience will set you back $600 a head, but customer raves may convince you it's worth it.
Flx Table, Geneva, NY
Andrew G./

flx table | geneva, new york

If you feel like you're at a dinner party with friends while dining at the Finger Lakes' FLX Table, that's by design. There are only 14 seats at a single table, and the five-course set menu changes depending on what's in season. But unlike many chef tables, this isn't a stuffy affair — dress is casual, and the meals are a relative bargain at $60 a person. Aside from the food, which is recommended highly, reviewers say the best part of dinner here is getting to know your table mates.