A stinky Aroma for kids
Even though this branch calls itself child-friendly, it isn't. And the food is not very good, either.
Aroma Espresso Bar
Hangar 9, Tel Aviv
Port WiFi available
Open 7 days
Tel. (03) 544 7047
Our recent visit to Aroma Espresso Bar at the Tel Aviv Port was our first, and likely our last. While there's nothing wrong with the Aroma chains (Aroma Israel or Aroma Tel Aviv), the cafe just isn't usually one of our favored pit stops.
But before we headed over to the Tel Aviv Port last week, we checked the Internet for tips on where to take young children. The Aroma branch at the port popped up as a children-oriented venue and thus won us over. And so, we passed by Dyada's new digs (which include a cafe and amazing indoor play area) and the long-standing Shalvata cafe bar (open sandbox area for playing), and made our way to Aroma.
Our first disappointment was at the cash register. The menu at this cafe is the same as you'll find at other branches around the country. That means there are no children's menu items and no kids' portions. For a place that calls itself child-friendly and even invested in a children's play area, this is confounding, indeed.
As our kids were hungry, we decided to stay anyway. We ordered a breakfast meal (eggs, salad, tuna, cheeses, carrot juice) for them, even though this was their dinner, and a summer salad for the adults (NIS 79 together). And though we knew what to expect (nothing gourmet but nonetheless acceptable), we were disappointed to find that the scrambled egg dish came with peeling Teflon as a garnish. Of course we sent it back and asked that the eggs be made in a different pan. The breakfast salad was on the soggy side, though the summer salad was fresh.
The other main disappointment during our meal was the carrot juice (which cost an extra NIS 3 when added to the breakfast meal). Although squeezed on the premises, it just didn't taste fresh. And if our son - a carrot juice aficionado - is anything to go by, he left more than half of his glass untouched.
Aroma is considered the fastest growing chain in Israel, with over 70 branches and some 25 million customers a year. Considering that it has a standard menu that is supposed to be consistent, we were disappointed.
As for the dÃ©cor, this location is bright and spacious. The children's section is on the left when you enter the cafe. There are little tables with little chairs, a play barista area with faux coffee machine and cash register, stacking blocks with pictures of Aroma's fare on them, and a plasma television screen. Though our children liked running around, the kids' area is actually intended for children who have graduated from toddlerhood.
Like other eating places at the port, most of the seating at Aroma is outside (after all, most people come to enjoy the view). Nevertheless, we opted to stay indoors and enjoy the air-conditioning before going outside for a stroll. The port area itself is a flourishing hangout with many restaurants, bars and cafes.
Upon finishing our meals at Aroma (we left not feeling fully satisfied), we walked along the boardwalk with the rest of the visitors to the area. We know that we'll definitely hop over to the Port again, but the chances of a return visit to Aroma are pretty slim. n
With a reputation for acceptable food and fair prices, the Aroma Espresso Bar at the Tel Aviv Port is just not up to scratch. Moreover, what's the point in calling this branch child-friendly if there's nothing on the menu for the younger population?