In today’s culture, social media has a strong influence on our decisions, especially when it comes to where we choose to eat. A beautiful plate, fancy latte art, and aesthetic interiors are often what spark our interest in restaurants. For businesses, having a social media presence is important in drawing people in and attracting a customer base.
This week, I visited two new Austin restaurants that blew up my Instagram and Yelp account, and it got me thinking about often I judge a place by how photogenic it is. What should be noted is that the food and service also need to be good for the business to be successful. Aesthetics and hype not outweigh a poor experience.
When I saw this spot on social media, I was instantly intrigued. Mediterranean-style food with drinks and a beautiful restaurant overlooking the river? YES PLEASE!
I’m not going to lie, when I arrived I was still starstruck over the beautiful patio area, lights, and the open and modern space inside. It was evening, and kind of rainy, so I didn’t get many shots, but the restaurant truly is beautiful. Perfect for a date night or a girls night out, and probably a wonderful afternoon brunch spot as well.
But the food? Underwhelming. Given the atmosphere, and the fact that I think it is appropriate to dress up a little if you’re eating here, I expected more of the food. High prices unmatched by the quality of the food we were served was very off-putting. The kabob was good, but nothing special, and two small skewers of chicken was not worth the $15 we paid. The menu did not indicate that the entrees were all Cubanos, and our pork confit Cubano was overpowered by the most sour pickle I have ever eaten.
In a more positive light, I enjoyed the lamb fritters. But, these feel like your typical happy hour bar food, and didn’t match the mood I was expecting at all.
While waiting for our table, I paid $12 for a “sage” margarita that tasted pretty much equal to what I could make at home. Not worth.
Overall, I realized that Tillery put on a front for being a fancy and high-class restaurant with their valet parking and long wait times, dim lights, fancy bar…and I felt quite tricked, as though I was paying for all of this, rather than paying for high quality food.
I did enjoy the company of the evening, but I will most likely not return to Tillery unless I hear of great improvements to the menu.
I always end up ordering avocado toast if it is offered, and was pleasantly surprised at how perfect this one at Citizen suited my tastes. It was healthy, hearty, and served with a delicious roasted asparagus. My friend ordered the parsnip waffle which was one of the most interesting waffle experiences either of us have had. The best way to describe it would be “healthy waffle.” Meaning… it wasn’t bland per say, but definitely not sweet or flavorful.
What I enjoyed about Citizen was the overall mood; it feels like a casual brunch spot with counter service and self-seating, but the space is bright and inviting, reminiscent of a fancier establishment.
The prices, I felt, were quite fair, especially considering avo toast is something I can and do make at home quite often, so I am rarely open to paying more than $5 for it. I realized that there are other places that serve similar food priced much higher, and I wonder why we are willing to pay that much for the same quality food. Do we really just “Do it for the Insta?”
Anyway, this was a good late breakfast or brunch spot that I highly recommend, especially if you’re in the market for a vegan meal.
Are there any spots you’ve tried out recently? Did they live up to your expectations? Let me know in the comments below!