RESTAURANT REVIEW

Food shines at cafe

As I walked up to the Illium Cafe & Bistro, located on Broadway in Downtown Troy, I was greeted by an older building similar to others in the area. As someone who is from the area, Illium is one of those places that is frequently referenced in local media stations. I had been hearing about it since I was young, so it carried a lot of clout. I decided to visit Illium on a whim after hearing about it and walking past it so many times.

Walking into Illium, the first thing that caught my attention was the older decor in the cafe. Everything feels and looks old, from the antiques behind the glass, to the display case for the various desserts. The different elements of the decor give the store a cozy and authentic feel. Overall, it gives off more of a diner vibe than that of a coffee shop. This makes sense, as Illium is a restaurant and cafe, first and foremost. I took a seat at the bar, which faces the dining area, and ordered a latte and bagel, and began to listen to the music.

After settling in, it was immediately clear that this is not a place to sit down and finish work; the atmosphere didn’t lend itself to this. Overall, the cafe just didn’t feel designed to allow for laptops and notebooks, and instead felt like it came from a time before people brought computers everywhere. It is also not the place to grab just a coffee and bagel, unless you happen to bring cash, as the $10 credit limit makes smaller purchases difficult for those who only carry cards.

Moving past this, however, Illium has its own authentic feel, which while very pleasant, does not necessarily cater to my taste. Despite the atmosphere, the bagel was exceptional. This is where Illium shines. The food is above average, and the coffee is cheap, which makes it a great spot to visit with friends and catch up after a week of hard work, or to simply decompress. If anyone is looking to visit a new cafe, I would recommend giving Illium a try.