As the resident restaurant serving the Schuster Performing Arts Center in downtown Dayton, Citilites (pronounced ‘city lights,’ it took me a few tries to figure out) is a class establishment. For performances, it hosts both lunches and dinners, but the store is most popular during the work day, as a spot for business meetings among the downtown companies. It’s got a variety of foods for a variety of customers, and the menu seems to change regularly. Generally though, it’s upscale dining, served best with a nice glass of wine. Odds are, if you’re from the local business community, you’ve attended a few big events in this restaurant.
- Banh Mi salad: mixed greens, rice noodles, pickled vegetables, jalapeño, cucumber, radish, and cilantro, all topped with a sesame ginger vinaigrette. It’s great, but it’s deceptively spicy! I would definitely recommend it for the spicy lover.
- Banh Mi: with roasted pork, pickled veg, jalapeño, cucumber, radish, cilantro and a hoisin-based barbecue on a baguette. I think it’s not as spicy as the salad version, and the flavor is much more strongly an Asian sandwich.
- Beef tenderloin: Juicy and served with a cut of crispy salmon to make it great. The cut of beef is juicy, the fish is flaky, and the juices complement them both.
- Black bean burger: Excellent. It’s fall-apart fresh, and made with what seems like a complicated batch of seasonings, altogether cooked well and served on veggies and a bun. A real win for vegetarian types.
- Carrot cake: A savory, thick and spongy cake — Citilies always knocks it out with their thick cakes — topped with a fabulous cream cheese-based icing. A thin slice goes a long way.
- Chicken Diane: Cooked in the manner of steak diane, this chicken is served in its own juices and alongside glazed carrots and a nice cauliflower-mashed potato combo.
- Chicken marsala: Instead of thin slices of chicken, this dish features a whole cut topped with grilled mushrooms and a bit of sauce. An unusual take on the dish, but still good.
- Chicken thermodore: A grilled chicken dish with a gravy-like sauce on top. Delicious for its texture and overall an interesting adaptation of a dish that is normally made with lobster.
- Chocolate cake: Absolutely fantastic. It’s served with a thick icing that has more body than the cake itself, and overall despite the relatively simple structure, the thing is about as packed with chocolate as is possible.
- Crab cake sandwich: A grilled, fall-apart crab cake with an aioli. I recommend getting something heavy as a side, the crab cake itself is lighter.
- Grilled cheese and tomato bisque: Perfect for colder months, half a grilled cheese which is cheesy and just a bit butterey, with a thick bisque heavy on the tomato and a little basil.
- Mushroom Burger: Served on an extra large kaiser roll with grilled vegetables and an aioli on top. Great with a side of potato chips.
- Mushroom risotto: This vegetarian dish is made with a great balsamic vinegar and served with broccolini on top of it. Great if you love mushrooms.
- Stuffed chicken: Great, it’s served with some kind of cheese on the inside which is great. The chicken itself is moist and tender, and it’s served pretty simply. The whole thing is garnished with some grilled vegetables for good measure, which are spectacular.
The atmosphere is great. During the day, much of the restaurant’s dining space is expanded out to the lobby of the music center. There’s a ton of space for one-on-one meetings and a lot of space for larger groups. There is a nice lowlit bar for a drink and there is also a sizeable dessert menu for whatever kind of sweets you’re feeling. Really, it’s a well rounded destination.
And that’s the appeal, really, it’s the reason why people seem to love this place so much. It’s good for meetings and it’s good for friends. It’s upscale cuisine but it’s at a very reasonable price. Ultimately I highly suggest Citilites.
- Definitely come here for a business lunch, it’s an upscale dining destination with very reasonable prices.
- There’s a ton of salads and sandwiches, which I think are the best items on the menu, and then there are more traditional complicated American dinner-type cuisine.
- There’s a reasonable bar too.