Thursday, November 29, 2012


While in Boston for Thanksgiving, I visited Sofra (menu), a Middle Eastern cafe/bakery on the outskirts of Cambridge, MA.  Situated in an otherwise nondescript part of town, Sofra overwhelms the senses with an assortment of baked, prepared, and cooked-to-order items.  We tried the lamb schwarma, oatmeal fig cookies, shakshuka, semolina pancakes with pumpkin preserves, and stuffed sausage flatbread.  All were very very strong.

Having thought at length about the construction of the bakery/cafe, Sofra got so much right that I would call it revelatory (another similar cafe that comes to mind would be Flour Bakery).  Seating for 15-20 was in low informal tables with stools.  There was a stand-up bar for quick mezze noshing.  They filled in their countertop display with baking racks of pies, cakes, spice mixes, preserved and pickled goods, and premium grab-and-go snacks liked cocoa-covered hazelnuts.  The cafe was bustling and busy, with about 400 sq. ft for the cafe area and 400-700 sq. ft in an open kitchen where eight or nine bakers/cooks jockeyed for space.  Perhaps most importantly, there was a sense of expectancy among the customers awaiting their food that created a good vibe, akin to a surfer watching for a wave to crest.


  1. I love the idea of oatmeal fig cookies--any chance you might want to create your own version for us?

  2. Bec, Jo, and I will be there Saturday, and the following Saturdays for eternity =)

  3. One thing I thought was interesting about the area is that, even though it seemed non-descript, Sofra was next to a high-end wine store and across the street from an antique shop. So obviously people are coming to that area to spend money. I wonder why? Did Sofra start up and bring people in, or were they already there (or close by) for another reason? It would be interesting to walk around that neighborhood a little and see what else is there.