Ages ago, I wrote about traveling and eating with a male coworker. I would estimate that about 1/3 of my fieldwork included one other person, 1/3 included a crowd, and 1/3 of the fieldwork was just me. Actually, if my grad school fieldwork were included (months in the middle of nowhere), it would be closer to 1/2 by myself.
If I've ever been worried about eating out alone, it was for a short period indeed. I have no problem going out anywhere with a book or a laptop or a bunch of paperwork, especially if I'm going to be staying somewhere for an extended period.
I do have a preferred order if I'm in an unfamiliar area by myself - hotel restaurant/bar, then a local pub, then an uncrowded restaurant (so I don't feel like I'm holding anyone up). Even in the most rural, out of the way locations, I've never had to resort to fast food for dinner - there's always a diner somewhere. I tend to venture further abroad after I get more familiar with my surroundings and have eaten at the more close locations.
I've never had issues with sketchy strangers at hotel bars *knocks on coffee table*. Of course, I do go to dinner armored with something to read and my east coast big city "only interested in my own dinner, thanks!" attitude, so the other folks at the bar tend to leave me alone.
I do enjoy being on my own for dinner - I set my own schedule, eat wherever I want, and I can be lame and order something to go from the hotel restaurant for three days in a row if I'm not feeling adventurous. For a some more difficult/stressful projects, eating out at good restaurants on the company dime is the one thing I do look forward to.