Sofra Bakery & Cafe {Snapshot}

_DSC6040This quick little visit to Sofra Bakery & Cafe on the border of Watertown and Cambridge can only fairly be called a {Snapshot}. I have barely touched the surface of what this cute little cafe offers, and therefore it cannot by any stretch be considered a full write up of the place.

However, I loved this place so much on my first visit that I just wanted to at least tell you what I experienced.
We came on a busy Saturday right around 1PM. We thought we would be beating the lunch crowd but the tiny little cafe was packed to the brim. It’s such a tiny little space, crammed with all sorts of delectable goodies that it’s hard not to start shopping from all the tempting things on display, even though you’re supposed to order your lunch.

I eventually pulled myself away from the house-made jams, baked goods, and cheeses to try my best to decide what to order. After putting in our order, we hovered around, waiting for guests eating at the very limited number of seats to finish.

Thankfully, we were able to find a seat before our food arrived (it took about 10-15 minutes for the food to be finished).

It was definitely worth the wait. The food was fantastic. Heck, all the food around me looked incredible. This is one of those restaurants where you jealously look at what your neighbor ordered and you say to your husband, “let’s order that next time.”

Meanwhile, guests sitting around you are also eyeing your dish and asking hungrily, “what is that?”

Yep, it’s that kind of place.
We tried the Lamb Shawarma ($9) which came with pickled cabbage and tahini yogurt. The thin, pita-like exterior was nicely toasted while the lamb inside was extremely tender, oh-so-juicy, and delicious. The meat was pulled finely and sort of reminded me of the texture of pulled pork. The tahini yogurt added an element of tartness as well as creaminess and additional moisture to the juicy shawarma.
We tried one of the many specials on the board, the Red Pepper Dolma ($6). In Turkish cuisine, a “dolma” is any sort of stuffed vegetable. In this case, the vibrant red pepper was the vegetable and it was filled with a deep, rich, and flavorful ground meat sauce.

The dolma came half swimming in a bright and intense red sauce that had intense and vibrant tomato notes. In fact, when you mixed it al together, it really was not unlike a really, really high quality Bolognese sauce (but with a Turkish spice influence!).
I also loved the Spinach Falafel, which was served with a bright fuscia beet tzatziki and pickles ($8). The beet tzatziki added a lovely, tart pop to the rest of the falafel sandwich. The dollops of tahini (I think?) gave the sandwich a nice level of added creaminess and moisture. I highly enjoyed this and would totally consider getting again for lunch.
We had a slice of Black Pepper Cornbread from the bakery. Made with coarse cornmeal, the cake itself was crumbly, moist, and not at all too sweet. In fact, it sort hovered ambiguously between sweet and salty.
I really enjoyed this place. Yes, it’s annoyingly crowded (maybe I came at the wrong time?), and parking can be difficult. They do have a parking lot that they share with the neighboring wine store which fits eight cars. However, there can easily be way more than eight parties inside at any one time.

Despite all that, it’s worth the trek. The food is unusual – a mix of Turkish small plates, Mediterranean flatbread sandwiches, and a vast display of gorgeous, mouthwatering pastries from Maura Kilpatrick, the award-winning pastry chef behind this and Oleana. Every is executed well, and the flavors are delicious.

I can’t wait to come back. Though maybe not on a Saturday right at lunchtime.

Sofra Bakery and Cafe
1 Belmont St
Cambridge, MA 02138
Sofra Bakery and Cafe on Urbanspoon

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  1. aileen says

    I come here fairly regularly (the danger of having a seamstress down the street from here), and everything I’ve tried is fantastic. Their pastries are to die for – you may have chosen the most straightforward one of their offerings! Highly recommend the umm ali and anything with rhubarb once that comes into season. Or any of their mezes. They are always busy on weekends, seems like no matter the time, but they have outdoor seating in nice weather that doubles their capacity and Cambridge residents with the on-street parking stickers can park on the residential side streets.

  2. Alphaprep says

    They are pretty much this busy…at all times :) I love the shawarma, the shakshuka, and the yogurt and grano parfait with spoonsweets. Oh, also, the Red Dragon Iced Tea (tea with sour cherry juice).


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