Aroma Coffee & Tea is right off the 101 freeway, on a quiet neighborhood block full of little restaurants, thrift shops, and boutiques built in re-purposed existing homes. The residential locale, house-like interior proportions, and foliage covered outdoor seating makes it feel like a well kept neighborhood secret. That is, until you see the line out the door and spot your first B (or C)-list celebrity waiting in line with you. But despite this the place manages to emanate a vibe that’s both communal and relaxed, like you’re having brunch with a bunch of friend’s in someone’s back yard. It’s very LA, in a way that disarmingly contradicts some of Los Angeles’ less admirable stereotypes.
The coffee, however, is not really the main draw here. It’s not bad (not that good, either, just passable) but it’s not really the focus. The real star is the food, which is generously portioned, fresh, and super delicious. Everything I’ve ordered has been great. One particular standout for breakfast is the salmon stack. It’s a pile of salmon on crunchy seasoned hash browns, covered with hollandaise and poached eggs cooked just right.
Back to the coffee — despite using beans from Fonte Coffee, a micro roaster I’ve never tried, they don’t seem to really put as much into their coffee preparation as they do their food. A little training and quality control would go a long way here. If they could start serving merely decent espresso, well crafted milk drinks, and regular coffee that maintains even a hint of flavor, it’d be my pick for best overall cafe in Los Angeles.
Alas, for now I recommend it for the great food and ambiance, and for its unmet potential. One day, hopefully, they’ll up their game at the coffee bar. Til then, order wisely.
4360 Tujunga Ave.
Studio City, California 91604.
Phone: 818 508-0677