Aroma (Kingston) – A great wine bar but the food was only okay

Unfortunately, Ontario and King streets are closed where they intersect with Princess street. This really kills the walkability of the formerly great area. I can only imagine how businesses are being hit by the now limited access. Aroma itself is now nestled beside many fences and construction sites. Ick!

Fortunately, the interior has great ambience. It is surprisingly capacious with the dining room extending far into the back. There is live jazz occasionally which is great. I really think they should play this part up more and make a larger bar section. I hate thinking of jazz as a “with dinner” music, not to be enjoyed on its own.

This is the Fresh Linguine for $18 (roasted pepper, olive, sun-dried tomato, artichoke, feta, grape tomato, basil, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic). A buddy got this so I don’t know what it tasted like. She was unwilling to share so I am guessing it was pretty good.

This is the Paella Valencia for $29 (chorizo, chicken, mussels, clams, shrimp, rice and peas, saffron broth). I liked how everything tasted, particularly the saffron broth. I was disappointed in the price:food ratio but of course, J will always say that quality is more important. I argue that quality is important but why not have lots of something with high quality? The clams were pretty sandy. I am never sure how much sand is normal to expect in clams.

This is the fish feature. I forget how much it cost. The fish was nicely cooked and the skin was crispy but J wasn’t particularly astounded by the dish. Again… the seafood in this dish was slightly sandy and the mussels were slightly undercooked. They also had a distinct oceaney taste to them.

This is the seafood linguine for $22 (preserved lemon, basil, wine, tomato sauce,  shrimp, mussels, clams). L got this one. Didn’t get a chance to taste it. From the seafood that was served in the previous 2 dishes… I am not sure I would get the seafood here again.

I like the idea of Aroma. Intimate, dark, jazz, wine. I just wish the food and value was better. The problem appears to be consistency. As with many Kingston restaurants, I frequent even the ones I don’t love. I’ll be back to Aroma, but this time I will get the turf.

Aroma Restro-Winebar, 248 Ontario Street, Kingston, ON, (613) 541-0330,

Aroma on Urbanspoon

~ by Russ on May 14, 2010.

3 Responses to “Aroma (Kingston) – A great wine bar but the food was only okay”

  1. I found this place was trying to present themselves as much more than they were. The food was pretentious and prepared and presented in a mediocre fashion.

    I went once (where someone else bought be the food) and it would take a good reason to get me back there (like another free dinner, ha ha).

    • I disagree with you only with regards to the presentation: I think they try pretty hard and the food looks pretty. The taste is a totally different matter though! The disconnect between the appearance and the taste is what kills it for me. It’s like flowers. I’d never eat them.

  2. My wife and I have been going to Aromas since they opened and we consider it to be the best restaraunt in Kingston. The food is fantastic and the service/atmosphere has always been superb. Not sure what more people want – Aromas supports local farmers and growers, promotes sustainable food choices, and offers healthier (not to mention tastier) options than most of the other marquis restaraunts in Kingston. For those who give this place a bad review, you should go back and try it again – they’ve gone through a lot with trying to establish themselves and I honestly believe that you won’t be disappointed again.

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