Aji is ambient any time, the pathways and tropical jungle feel are great for daytime dining, at night the trees are all lit up and it looks beautiful. I love how even though there is room for lots of people, it feels so private, like you have entered a secret garden with a great DJ. The surroundings are not the only thing that is amazing, Chef Hugo, Victoria, Susan and their staff always make us feel welcome, full and content. Aji Restaurant is open daily 8:00am – 10:00pm and it is worth dropping by in the afternoon, Aji offers great food and drink specials with their a daily tapas happy hour from 1:00pm – 4:00pm.
Info for fist time visitors – Aji Tapa Bar and Restaurant is located 2.5 miles north of the Boca del Rio Bridge and bike-able for the more adventurous. If you are driving a cart to Aji it will cost you $10 BZE to cross the bridge and $2 by bike, there is no guarantee what the roads will be like. If you are taking the Coastal Xpress water taxi, the dock to get off at is Grand Caribe and walk a minute down the beach. Any way you choose get there, Aji is well worth the trip.
I almost did not make it to their opening party due to weather and a cart that would not start, but I could not resist Hugo’s cooking. Hearing happy hoots and hollers from a packed cart that just came from Aji, not long after crossing the bridge, I knew I was not going to be disappointed.
Leisa and I started out with seasonal seafood fritters with aioli dipping sauce and I could have easily polished off a double order. Next we both ordered Chicken Milanese which consisted of a tenderized chicken breast breaded, deep fried, covered with house marinara and mozzarella. For sides mashed potatoes and a salad. Cowboy opted for the Albondigas homemade Spanish meatballs for his tapas order. Then he picked the Grouper Caribeno which was a grouper fillet with Parmesan creme, coconut rice and steamed vegetables. I almost picked that but decided I would burn through it too fast, chicken was better rainy day food to help stockpile some extra fuel in my body. Our drinks choice was wine, a few Crown a couple of lime mojitos. Dessert was sinful Chocolate Rum cake, Cowboy and Leisa shared a piece, I went all in and it was delicious.
Since the weather was bad for the opening party I thought I would throw in a few pics from sunnier times at Aji. It really is a nice experience all the way, unless of course the roads are bad. After you park your cart, you walk across a bridge that crosses a lagoon and takes you to a winding path through tropical gardens. There you will find Aji a place where the food is yummy, service is great and the surroundings are intimate and peaceful .