Aromi had been crowning the Italian dining kingdom in Prague for many years. In 2005, the year of its opening, it was recognised as “The best new restaurant in the Czech Republic” by Condé Nast Traveler magazine. What is even more striking is that it also got into “The Top 10 new restaurants in the world” as it proudly claims on its website. No wonder then that Aromi was my favourite Italian spot to eat at in Prague during the years I lived there (2006-2007). Today, the situation is different though. There have been so many new restaurants openings bringing new rivals and my move to the Mediterranean made me a harsher critic of fish, so for me Aromi is not the best any more. It still remains though a great place to go when you want something authentic and for a Central European city you can get a pretty good fish here.
Atmosphere: Rustic, casual and welcoming. An attentive service makes the experience very enjoyable. They all know their stuff well and advice you on anything. Whether you agree later with their recommendation or not they seem to try their best. Wooden furniture, a cheese table in the middle of the restaurant and wines lined up on the shelves along the back wall create a very casual and accommodating environment. The newly designed cubism-inspired long bar is a great spot to have a glass of wine or one of the 100 or so grappas (Italian brandy). Wear anything from jeans to a jacket, yet go for a more casual attire. After all, you are in Prague and this cobbled city is not fluffy and too concerned about its inhabitants’ dressing manners.
Food: The chef and owner Riccardo Lucque remains true to his Italian roots as he cares about the ingredients. His direct relationship with Italian producers and farmers ensures the authenticity of the products from mozzarella to seafood. Starting with a Sword fish carpaccio, red oranges with chunks of creamy burrata sprinkled with green radish leafs and olive oil I knew the ingredients are of a high quality here. It was a refreshing dish with lots of matching flavours like a mosaic creating a colourful yet fitting concept on a plate. The fish was light, but cutting it in thicker pieces added on volume matching thus the juicy and slightly sweet oranges while not contrasting with the creamy burrata too much so it all reminded in harmony.
Another tasty appetizer in which the classic recipe of Tomatoes with mozzarella gets a facelift in the form of Burrata with parma ham and tomatoes is not only innovative but also very good. Burrata is a type of mozzarella made from a buffalo milk, it is more creamy, rich and for most of the people it is more tasty than its more firm sister made of cows milk (mozzarella). Using the green zesty tomatoes with this creamy cheese balanced the fatness of the burrata and the ham added depth and salty touch so you do not need to add much seasoning.
From the main courses I preferred a Grilled Octopus and vegetables lasagna to a Grilled fish of the day. The octopus had a meaty texture, crisp skin and was full of flavour. The fish was quiet disappointing as for my palate it did not taste as if it was just caught in the morning. But, it is a very demanding request for a restaurant located far from any salt water source. I believe, that if I lived in Prague I would have appreciated this fish more.
Cuisine: Authentic Italian, specialised in fish and seafood.
Visit: September 2012
Price: Medium (for foreigners) to high (for many locals).
Drinks: There are many wines from all over Italy. You can choose either from a wine list or pick a bottle from the shelves along the fall. A wine waiter will be eager to assist you. We were not lucky with his selection though. Asking for a more elegant and lighter red wine he recommended us a Barolo and a Dolcetto. It did not sound right to me, but I have not tried these wines from the producers he offered and they were both an older vintage so I decided to trust him. What a mistake! With the first sip I knew it was a bit stronger than we wanted with the food we selected, yet the waiter assured me that it will open up and mellow later. Unfortunately, right the opposite happened! The wine was showing its strength more with the time so it absolutely did not match any of our dishes. Next time, we will rather choose the wine ourselves. With such a great wine list it was a shame to go wrong.
The restaurant has also a wide selection of grappa so if you feel like something stronger to drink then go for it, yet not this month as the Czech Republic was stricken with an alcoholic beverages prohibition, when all alcohol with 20% and more cannot be sold anywhere. The reason for this was serious enough, so I agree with the Czech government reaching to such a stringent solution. When over 20 people die and many get blind from consumption of methanol-tinged alcoholic beverages, then any government has to step in and protect its citizens.
Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 12:00 – 23:00; Sun: 12:00 – 22:00
Address: Mánesova 1442/78, Prague 2 – Vinohrady, 120 00, Czech Republic
Contact: Tel: +420 222 713 222; email: email@example.com