On a recent date at restaurant One If By Land, Two If By Sea, considered one of the most romantic restaurants in the world, TikToker @rokug4n — who goes by Annie, per her profile — noticed something odd. Things began normal as expected, as upon their arrival they were seated upstairs by the host. Some time later, Annie began to recognize a strange pattern; the only people being seated upstairs on the second floor were Asians.
“I want to preface by saying, I have no issue dining with other Asian people. I don’t care. What I do care about, and have an issue with, is people of color being separated from white people by white people in higher end establishments,” Annie begins.
As proof, she offers viewers a side by side comparison of the first floor and second floor, using photos from the restaurant’s website. In the photo of the first floor she points out the dramatic high ceiling, big windows, and a mosaic aesthetic offering an overall pleasant ambiance. Next, she shows a picture of the second floor, which appears to be more dimly lit with two small windows and lower ceilings.
According to Annie, One If By Land, Two If By Sea has been racially discriminatory towards Asians for quite some time. She purports that, due to many foodies being of Asian descent, they frequent this popular restaurant spending hundreds, only to face discrimination. As further proof, she suggests searching the word Asian on the restaurant’s Yelp page.
Since Annie posted her claim to TikTok, One If By Land, Two If By Sea’s Yelp page has received an influx of one star reviews calling out their racism towards Asians. Yelp has suspended reviews on their page while they investigate the discrimination claims further as a result.
Although reviews calling out racism have increased dramatically, prior to the posting of the video, several reviews had mentioned experiencing potential discrimination. Yelp reviewer Xu Z. shared an unsettling experience where she and a friend were made to wait 40 mins before being seated upstairs despite reserving a seat on the first floor.
Another reviewer named Min Chieh L. shared their experience from last December where the restaurant’s captain treated them poorly, sat patrons that arrived after first and had waiters even ignore them during service.
A review made in 2017 by Yelper Michelle C. details a visit to celebrate her anniversary, only to be seated in a section with four tables of Asian diners, while another section was only occupied by white diners.
While not mentioning Asians specifically, reviewer Jack Q. added, “Funny that I noticed (also noted by another reviewer) the demographics downstairs were concentrated in Caucasians, especially of older age. There were plenty of open seats open when we came in, but we were seated upstairs by the staircase, where it smelled a little funny and barely had a view.”
Continuing, Annie’s Yelp dive digs up reviews from over seven years ago as evidence of discrimination towards Asian customers. She ends the TikTok clip by showing footage of the second floor the night she dined, revealing only Asian patrons seated at each table.
Calling out racism is a serious deal and demands careful consideration. For one reason or another, a search on other popular restaurant review sites like OpenTable, TripAdvisor and even Facebook didn’t turn up any reviews calling out the restaurant’s discrimination, so it’s unclear how accurate these accusations are. However, a sample size of the reviews presented can leave room for doubt and rightfully call into question One If By Land, Two If By Sea’s alleged discriminatory practices.