Coffee. My best friend on Monday mornings. Who am I kidding? It's basically my best friend every single day of the week. My caffeine fix is either at home on the weekends or at a nearby coffee shop near work. Coffee is in fact what led me to Aroma Espresso Bar in the beginning a few years ago. I was growing tired of the same old routine in getting a fresh dose of caffeine in me, and with the word "Espresso" in its very name, it's no wonder for many people including myself coffee is what drives them through the front door of Aroma for the very first time. Little did I know that Aroma Espresso Bar was and still is so much more than just a cup of coffee.
Aroma Espresso Bar was founded back in 1994 in Jerusalem. I admit, I always thought it was just another North American franchise, but if you actually look at their menu more closely, you will actually find a lot of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences in the food and drinks they serve. It wasn't until 2007 when the very first Aroma Espresso Bar Canada was opened and since then it has expanded to other locations across the GTA and beyond. Aroma has locations in Markham, Mississauga, Niagara On The Lake, Oakville, and just recently opened up a spot in Ottawa.
Like I said earlier, Aroma Espresso Bar's menu is more than just your average cup of coffee. They offer a wide variety of gourmet sandwiches, freshly baked bread and pastries, soups, nutritious salads. Aroma even serves alcohol at some of their locations. Friendly customer service is personalized with each order, and its iconic red leather chairs and inviting decor creates the perfect ambiance casual space to catch up with friends and loved ones.
To make your life a little easier when visiting your neighbourhood Aroma Espresso Bar, here are five of my personal favourites and must haves in no particular order.
1) Power Breakfast
I find myself coming back to this dish over and over and over again. It probably also helps that this breakfast dish (just like all their other breakfast options) is served all day! That's right, if you want to eat this for your dinner go right ahead. This delicious meal consisting of 2 eggs (any style), mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, carrot, olives, feta cheese, cream cheese, avocado spread, and bread is the perfect healthy combination of ingredients to give you enough energy to power through the the day (see what I did there?). That avocado spread alone is worthy of all my attention.
2) Marshmallow Hot Chocolate
This is the epitome of what all hot chocolates should be like. The gold standard in hot drinks on a cold winter's day. The benchmark in presentation and looks. Chunks of premium milk or white chocolate, steamed milk, cocoa, and marshmallows is what makes this drink one of the best and most delicious things I've ever had. For a lot of people who do not like coffee (and surprisingly I know there is a lot of you out there), this is the drink for you. For the rest of us who enjoy caffeine on a daily basis, I challenge you to swap your coffee out for a day and try this. You just may find yourself coming back for more.
3) Aroma A.C.E. Premium Sandwich (on a croissant)
There are tons of choices when it comes to their gourmet sandwiches, but my all time favourite has to be Aroma's A.C.E. (avocado, chicken, egg) with arugula and special Aroma sauce. It's healthy, it's hearty, and the perfectly cooked egg provides a runny yolk that when you cut or bite into it, it gushes out this liquid gold ready to soak up all the flavours the sandwich already entails. My suggestion is instead of having the sandwich on its normal bread, upgrade the bread to a buttery croissant for just $1 more. You won't regret it. Trust Me.
The Middle Eastern flare really comes out in a dish like this, and in Israel the word "shakshuka" is synonymous with breakfast. Hugely popular in Jerusalem and all over Israel, this comfort food of 2 eggs in a warm tomato sauce served with tahini and bread. It's simple and refined. There is nothing fancy about this dish, but for many things the charm is in its simplicity, taste, and cultural relevance. It's a recipe and dish passed down and enjoyed through generation after generation, and a staple in one country's history. I recommend you use the bread to dip it into the warm tomato sauce. It's divine.
5) Spiked Signatures
If alcohol is what you crave, Aroma has that covered too. At select locations an array of spiked drinks that all contain 1.5 oz of alcohol is yours for the choosing. Ice Mojitos, Ice Aromas/Light, Iced Berry Tea Lemonades, Affogatos, and Irish Cream Lattes are all drinks that you can order with a spike of vodka, rum, or Bailey's mixed into it. The presentation of these drinks is also sensational. They are great additions to the already stellar drinks menu offered at Aroma.
With the five recommendations above, it is definitely a good starting point on their menu if you are at all confused at what to order. You can't go wrong with any of my choices, but I also won't be offended if you stray away from this list and pick something else up on their menu as there is literally something for everyone to enjoy.
Coffee, my best friend I never really wanted. I actually owe it all to you in paving the path for me to Aroma Espresso Bar. I even hear there is a new coffee blend in town called the Aroma Bold. I think you'll know where to find me now come Monday morning.