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Aroma Cafe-Israeli Food in Encino

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This past Sunday my friends from Israel told me we're going to the most authentic spot for true Israeli food in the Valley.

We then arrived to Aroma Cafe on Ventura Blvd. off the White Oak exit.

Its a tradional cafe setting with indoors & outdoors and a bakery inside.

95% of the people there were even Israeli too.

The food was quite unique.

I cant recall the names of the actual dishes yet I'll describe what we each had for you to try too:

-One person had 2 poached eggs in a tomatoe base dish, almost looked like a mexican breakfast and you dip your pita bread in it.

-another person had these delicious eggplant style eggrolls

-the kids had this dish that I'm told they serve on the streets of Israel which is like a fila dough meets the dough used in crepes rolled out and you dip it into a sauce.

-I had this sesame square style bagel with tuna, egg, and a very hot sauce which came with a salad-next time I'll be a bit more daring.

Enjoy,

Stuart

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  1. i think this place they have a puff pastry pizza that is dynamite, interesting dishes (not the usual hummus or falafel or shwarma bit), but more of a veggie, dairy, and some types of fish based menu.

    also, the outside area is prime real estate, at it's always a long line to get at a table.

    But great stuff, and a nice minty lemonade, very delicious.

    1. I like the food at Aroma Cafe a lot (to answer the inevitable question, no it's not related to any restaurant in Studio City or Silver Lake)... but the scene just kills me. All these people standing around waiting for tables, screaming at the hostess in Hebrew about how they've been waiting for "shloshim v'kamesh minutim" and could they hurry it up?

      The service takes, um, some getting used to... the secret is to be louder than absolutely everyone else in the cafe, which means the noise level inside is absolutely deafening -- insist on sitting outside (you, and everyone else, so be loudest there too).

      It's an absolute zoo, but the food is good.

      1. I'm Israeli and I think the food at Aroma is great. It is a zoo, yes, but it feels just like a cafe in downtown Tel Aviv. One problem (for me, a non-smoker) is that many Israelis like to smoke, and on their outside patio, everyone is smoking. The problem is that the patio is enclosed in plastic so the smoke is everywhere. But inside, it's super loud partially due to the endless coffee and smoothie-machines, and you have to shout to be heard. Oh well.

        "-One person had 2 poached eggs in a tomatoe base dish, almost looked like a mexican breakfast and you dip your pita bread in it."

        This is called shakshuka. In general I love this dish but I have to say that it wasn't that great at Aroma, and overpriced, I think it was about $10 or $11 for eggs!

        -the kids had this dish that I'm told they serve on the streets of Israel which is like a fila dough meets the dough used in crepes rolled out and you dip it into a sauce.

        This is either Mellawach or Jachnun.

        -I had this sesame square style bagel with tuna, egg, and a very hot sauce which came with a salad-next time I'll be a bit more daring.

        These are called "bagel toasts". The "bagel" isn't a New York style bagel. It's round with a hole in it, hence the name, but completely different dough with sesame seeds. It gets toasted panini style. Extremely common Israeli cafe food that is really delicious here. The salads are great too.

        Other stuff I tried here: Indeed, the mint lemonade smoothie (bright green!) is excellent - it's called limonana (nana is mint). The burekas (filo pastry stuffed with cheese, or potato, or other fillings; comes with hard-boiled egg and salad) are good. The sambusac are excellent - a pastry (not filo) folded over and filled with your choice of stuff (combos of potato, eggplant, cheese, tuna, tomato, mushroom, etc etc) and baked. They come with salad. The salads themselves are excellent. One had beets and orange and was really good. Oh yes, and this is a very simple one, but the bagel toast with salty white cheese, olives, and zaatar (a yummy spice) was great.

        Also this place is open quite late - most weekdays at midnight there's still a line out the door. For the Valley, this is great.

        Ayana