Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Aroma Cafe

Just tried Aroma Cafe, the family-run Bosnian standout in a Westside mini-mall (2350 Overland south of Pico, east side). My friend Julia was once a restaurant critic in Prague – where bad restaurants and money-laundering go hand in hand? - and has actually spent time in Bosnia. I wanted to propagate her expert knowledge, because the meal we had was particularly fine. Some Bosnian classics:

- Burek are charmingly intestine-shaped phyllo pastries with a variety of fillings (shades of cheung fun / “intestine”-like rice noodles at dim sum). Cheese and spinach were flaky and delicious.

- Cevapi [“ch-”] are a delightful firm-textured minced sausage kebab distinguished by their dainty size and charry grilled exterior. Apparently the Bosnian equivalent to streetside tacos, with the same addictive quality – cevapi sandwich on excellent house bread has got to be a winner. Pljeskavica are patty-ized kebabs with a different ratio of grilled exterior : juicy interior. Shish kebab is much like Persian lula kebab but a little drier than say, Raffi’s Platonic ideal.

- Two stupendous housemade dips of note. Kajmak is churny soured cream in which one can stand a spoon, a miracle of controlled spoilage. Ajvar is a bright red paprika, pepper and eggplant concoction. Ask for these!

- Kefir is a yoghurt drink, the native beverage ala Persian dough or Armenian taan, sans mint.

- Stuffed cabbage contains rice and ground meat as usual. This version is substantially tastier than most, not only is it served with a healthy dollop of kajmak but there is a contrast between sour leaf and moist filling that beats the squishy Eastern European stereotype. Stuffed pepper is also exemplary.

- Rotating dessert selection guarantees future visit, as the waitress’ favourite krempita (creamy pastry thing) was unavailable. Baklava is well above average and strudel-style apple pie is fine.

This is just the sort of restaurant I love, it’s priced for the people and the quality is uncompromising.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Bosnian Bridget Jones said...

I love when someone discoveres and appreciates Bosnian cuisine :) Enjoy

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are part of the Balkan's cuisine not just Bosnian, just because a Bosniac opened a restaurant doesn't mean it's Bosnian cuisine

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He is not a Bosniac, he is Bosnian and Balkan's food differs greatly in terms spices and fat used...

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cevapi, Sarma, Baklava, Burek ... thats true BOSNIAN(from turkish age)cuisine, what do you want to say, is it perhaps serbian?...

9:12 AM  
Blogger h said...

Thought I'd add a link to their website:
http://www.aromacafe-la.com/

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, and KAJMAK is Bosnian food. LOL!

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there us an ancient montnegrin tribe who fought against the turks called the Kajmakci who invented kajmak and lived in a place called kajmak in crna gora

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Went to Aroma Cafe last night - what a letdown! Blandest Greek Salad ever, the Meat Combination Platter was $18.50, came with no side dishes, and consisted of the same ground beef, molded into various shapes, and just spiced a little differently. No kebabs or shish kebabs (as promised) in sight. Service- what's service?...

12:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't you all just agree that the food is amazing regardless of the origin!? This is exactly why no one ever gets along down there!

7:59 PM  
Blogger Merima said...

Small reastaurants with ethnic foods are the best. I love the bickering of the obviously Balkan people who just can't settle down and enjoy the wonderful food. Just make it simple: kajmak IS sour cream and eat it!

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Balkan food is AMAZING regardless of WHERE< it came from .. Bosnian or not .. FOOD IS FOOD .. I'm drooling right now just talking about it =]

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just tried Aroma Cafe, the family-run Bosnian standout in a Westside mini-mall (2350 Overland south of Pico, east side).

There is a small typo. It is at 2530 Overland just South of the Westside Pavilion.

But it doesn't stop it from being fabulous food!

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dare you try other 'Balkan' countries and Middle Eastern food of same dishes...guess who has the best flavor :).
Sorry but other 'neighboring countries' can not compete.
It is like comparing Millka and Hershe_something....

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it may be b a little over priced, but for those of us who can't get our traditional food anywhere else besides vegas, this is a close and wonderful place to get our fill of food from the homeland.

3:12 PM  

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