Israel’s Aroma was voted Kiev’s best coffee shop, according to a 2009 restaurant contest held by one of Ukraine’s most popular websites, Lasoon. The Israeli chain, which opened in the capital a year ago and has had meteoric success in the city, received top votes for service.

“The win was a complete surprise,” says Yaakov Lipshitz, manager of the Kiev branch and a partner in the Aroma chain. “We provide for a real need in the market for espresso bars and food service that just doesn’t exist here, meaning fast, high-quality food. We didn’t know if the concept of Aroma would catch on with the Ukrainian crowd but I guess we have succeeded in cracking the code.”

Aroma’s service method of reading the names of clients over the loudspeaker so that they can come and get their order has become an attraction in Kiev, with people calling themselves by funny names and movie heroes’ names at the café.

The contest that ranks restaurants in 23 different categories was held for the second consecutive year. The idea is to develop a food culture in the country. All candidates are first ranked by experts and then by web surfers.