How a Nutritionist Eats at… Aroma Espresso Bar

About the author: Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CDN, is the owner of Real Nutrition NYC, which is based in Chelsea. She lives in Tribeca, however, and she’s the dietitian at Real Pilates, where she provides nutritional consultations.

Before I had kids, I used to venture out of the neighborhood for lunch all the time. Although we have fantastic restaurants in Tribeca, I still miss my favorites above Canal Street. You can imagine my excitement when I read on Tribeca Citizen a few weeks back that Aroma Espresso Bar was opening at Church and Barclay. Aroma was an all-time favorite of mine whenever I was in Soho (the original location is on Houston). I’d pop in for a quick coffee (love the little chocolate they give to you with each cup) or bite, and I never felt guilty, full, or bored by their selection or my order. Any place that offers half-sandwiches (instant portion control) and tons of healthy salads is obviously going to be at the top of my list. The menu is the same in both locations, so to help you navigate your next meal there, check out my list of healthy favorites below.

Soups Their two options change daily and the bowls are large (read: can serve as a meal). I love their Ten Vegetable soup, which tastes more like a stew than a soup.

Sandwiches If you’re watching your waist, order the “personal” size. No matter what your goal, get your sandwich on whole-wheat bread. My top three healthy favorites: The Avocado, the Grilled Chicken Breast (go light on the mozzarella cheese), and the Turkey BLT (three cheers for turkey bacon).

Salads If you want to pair it with soup, order the personal size; if you’re just having the salad, go with the classic. Always be aware of extra toppings (a.k.a. feta cheese), croutons, and salad dressing (get it on the side). Best bets include the Middle Eastern salad, the Health salad, and the Organic Quinoa salad. Watching your waist or your heart? Avoid the Caesar salad and Sweet Potato Lentil salad, which sounds healthier than it is (thank you, granola). You can top any salad with protein for some extra staying power. I recommend grilled chicken or a hard-boiled egg.

Breakfast (served all day) I’m sure you’ve heard me say this before, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, if you aren’t at Aroma for breakfast or if you are craving breakfast for lunch or dinner—very popular in my home—your healthiest choices are the Aroma All Day Power Breakfast (pick either feta or cream cheese, and get whole-wheat bread) or oatmeal (add berries, nuts, and cinnamon but skip the brown sugar).

Coffee: No I’m not going to recommend you get rid of your coffee (I’m not crazy!). I’m only going to ask you to look at what you put in your coffee. News flash, coffee is high in antioxidants and may fight diseases like Parkinson’s and diabetes, not to mention provide you with a much needed energy boost. Your best bets: espresso, cappuccino w/ low-fat or soy milk or Americano. Add cinnamon, skip the artificial sweeteners and enjoy that piece of chocolate.

Amy Shapiro’s advice for eating at…



  1. I find your articles consistantly amazing, and keeping me eating at my favorite restaurants.
    Your suggestions make so much sense.
    You are “simply the best”

  2. I love your articles which I follow everywhere. Everything you say makes such good sense. The wonderful thing about taking your advice is that I never leave the table hungry and I always look forward to my “Amy Shapiro” meals! Thank you!

  3. Amy is “da bomb”! We love her to death. All the staff and the clients are excited to have her as part of the team and looking over our shoulders as we chow down!