Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Aroma Indian Restaurant

The “aroma” of Aroma never really enticed this writer to enter. It’s too bad though; now I feel like I have been missing out.spotlight


The “aroma” of Aroma never really enticed this writer to enter. It’s too bad though; now I feel like I have been missing out.


Aroma (Photo: News-Press)

Located in Shirlington Village, Aroma is an impressive little eatery – a fitting find for the underestimated Arlington neighborhood. Upon entering Aroma, it wasn’t very busy this particular Friday night. Guests were promptly greeted by one of two nice hosts and shown to their tables.

The main room has a subdued décor, lots of beiges and browns, but is beautifully accented with illuminated stained glass globes and chandeliers against the bamboo roof. Soft Indian music plays in the background as customers peruse their menus. The music enhanced the whole experience. And who doesn’t like a sitar? It’s like eating next to George Harrison.

The only distraction is a large, but too loud, flat screen television above the bar. Otherwise, the space is perfect and the service is impeccable.

An ideal starter is the Vegetable Samosas ($4.25), Indian pastries with a lightly spiced vegetable filling. The presentation is much like oversized egg rolls. Once cut open and covered with some of the sweet – though slightly spicy – sauce, they really come to life, putting every actual egg roll stomached prior to shame.

Also not to miss is the Chicken Tikka Masala ($13.25) – boneless cubes of Tandoori chicken, simmered in a medium-spiced tomato sauce, just the right kind of flavor kick to the main dish that isn’t too overbearing. The sauce complements the chicken, yet allows tastebuds to sample the strong tomato flavor. This one’s perfect for those looking for a whole lot of flavor without a whole lot of water on hand to tame any overbearing heat.

Though Aroma’s Web site warns the Chicken Vindaloo ($13.25) is the hottest of its curried dishes (and a cure for sinus problems), it would like customers to believe its Vindaloo is simply a spicy chicken dish lightly accented with a vinegary taste. In reality, it is more akin to having a mouthful of vengeful fire. The spice doesn’t seem to be all that potent at first, but rest assured, it was just waiting until diners least expected it to attack their lips, throat and then the tongue. In vain, this writer tried to quell the “taste of flame” with some non-threatening basmati rice and some water, but that only seemed to anger the Vindaloo further. However, my guest thoroughly enjoyed the Chicken Vindaloo, so perhaps it’s a matter of being a wimp.

All of that, plus an order of Nan ($3.95), oven-baked white flour bread, for dipping, was extremely filling. This being said, patrons should keep in mind the portions are generous and satisfying.

Kheer ($4.25), an Indian rice pudding with almonds and raisins, is a perfect ending – just the right amount of sweet combined with crumbled almonds to make for a great texture and crunch.

Diners out during the day are reminded Aroma also offers lunch options – a curry, with chicken or lamb, or a vegetarian (both $11.95) and reasonably priced group specials, as well.

So, folks that find themselves in Shirlington Villiage, or even near their other location in Northwest Washington, D.C., that are yearning for dependable Indian food won’t go wrong with Aroma. It’s been around for over 13 years. The food is top-notch, competitively priced, and if this experience is any indication, customers won’t ever be wondering where their waiter has gone.

Aroma Indian Restaurant

4052 Campbell Ave., Arlington, VA • 703-575-8800


Sunday – Thursday: 11:30 a.m – 10 p.m.

Friday & Saturday: 11:30 a.m – 10:30 p.m.