What’s More Important in a Restaurant: Food or Setting?

Last week I went to downtown Sarasota with one of my bridesmaids to get an adjustment made on my engagement ring. We dropped the ring off and made our way to the nearest coffee shop to do some work while the jeweler adjusted my ring.

We were truly only looking for a spot close by that served coffee and had wifi. What we got was, Burns Court Cafe, the cutest Parisian style cafe and bakery.

I’ve never been to Paris but I am certain it is just like Burns Court Cafe. We took three steps into the cafe and friendly local customer told us the lattes were to die for. I’m a sucker for any restaurant that has a speciality of some sort, so we both ordered lattes. We got them and both agreed they were phenomenal.

burns-court-cafe.jpgAs we sat there enjoying our lattes I got to thinking about what I thought was most important in a restaurant: the food or the setting.

For me, it really depends. When it comes to heading to a coffee shop to get some work done on my computer, ambiance is key. I can be fine sipping average coffee, if it’s a perfect setting for getting work done at my computer.

Similarly, there are some nights I tell my fiancé I don’t care where we eat as long as it’s somewhere on the water. The food is irrelevant to me, but I know that I want to listen to the waves on the shore while we eat.

burns-court-cafe.jpgOther times, I can put up with a less than stellar ambiance if the food is truly remarkable. For example, one of my favorite burger places in Milwaukee, Soblemans, is a straight-up hole in the wall.

Related: Where to Find the Best Burger in Milwaukee

Soblemans flagship restaurant is still located in a 127 year-old building that was an original Shilitz Tavern. The place is small, dark and the parking is horrible, but I will go there over so many places when I need to get my burger fix.

burns-court-cafe.jpgBesides the fact that Burns Court Cafe has incredible lattes, I am also a fan of their food, as the turkey and brie sandwich I had for lunch was amazing.

When their not slinging out fantastic lattes, Burns Court Cafe doubles as a wine bar in the evening and has live local jazz music on select days throughout the month. In this case, I lucked out and got both great food and a great setting.

Whats more important to you in a restaurant: the food or the setting ?


  • Interesting!

    I will always choose excellent food…I don’t care if it’s a hole in the wall if the food is good.

    However I will sometimes choose a place with great views if I know the food is less than tops, just to get them.

    But if I was going to be disappointed about something, it’s more likely I’d be disappointed by crappy food than a crappy setting!

    • That’s a good way to put it! I suppose if I’m going out of my way to pay money for a meal, having it be good is important, regardless of the setting.

  • Sarah P

    I don’t have fancy taste in food. If they sell burgers or pizza, I’m pretty happy haha but I will say I’m ALL about the waterfront dining. I really want to get down to see you! Once I figure out where I’ll be living long-term, I’m making it happen.

    • Since I moved to FL, I am ALL about the waterfront dining! Maybe it’s because I’m from somewhere so far from the ocean but nothing beats the sound of the waves as I’m eating dinner.

  • Oh man, that’s a tough one! I could get past the look of a restaurant if the food was amazing, but the ambiance really helps to seal the deal. I could deal with just ok food if it was an amazing place right on the water where you could watch the sunset. Obviously, I think that I’d choose to have the best of both worlds if I could! That sounds like a super cute cafe that you found though, and I love that they have wine and local jazz bands playing at night! That sounds perfect!

    • decent food could still be really enjoyable for me if the setting is amazing. I agree that the ambiance helps seal the deal! this little cafe definitely had both things going for them. I love stumbling upon places like that when i’m not expecting it!