To me, Umami is one of the best fine dining restaurants in Tirana. Delicately well-thought out in every detail, it pleases the eye, palate and soul. The special name also goes along with the concept of the restaurant. “Umai” means delicious, whereas “mi” taste. Here the focus is surely not the large quantity of food, but the deeper feeling of the food taste, something we are not used in everyday life. In other words, Umami is the fifth taste, the taste of pleasure.
Founded and run by the well-known Albanian chef Renato Mekolli, Umami is also all about transparency. I could literally see the kitchen and the chefs preparing the customer’s dinner through three glass walls, while chef Renato even waved at my mother. The menu is at the same time rich and simple. Since Albanian products (especially fish and seafood) are by nature astonishing and delicious, the chefs have done a great job preserving and enhancing their flavour by gently treating them with other ingredients such as sesame seeds, soya sauce or cucumber tartar, for instance in the Salmon Sashimi dish, which I recommend.
Umami is also one of the few restaurants where I can find scallops, the sea delicacy that is so hard to find. Everything they serve here (including the bread or the after-dinner liqueur) is made on-site. I ended my dinner with a lemon crème dessert, the most balanced taste I’ve had in years. Last tip: book a table before visiting!