Nestled on the corner of a busy intersection in Cambridge, MA, a stone’s throw from one of the lone remaining relics of my youth, Star Market, is the outstanding Sofra Bakery & Cafe . A cozy little cafe that always seems to be packed regardless of what time of the day you are there, most especially their outdoor patio seating that I don’t think has ever had an open seat. The space itself is filled with Middle Eastern inspired packaged goods, from their much publicized homemade Rose Petal Jam to jars of the ubiquitous Middle Eastern spice sumac. A whole refrigerated section of prepared foods and drinks lines the far wall that you can peruse while waiting in line to place your order.
Upfront at the counter you come face to face with the upper echelon of Turkish baking by way of their laundry list of decadent delights. With far too many biscuits and breads to list I will stick to some that really exemplify the best there is to offer from Sofra. The Morning Bun with orange blossom glaze is bright and comforting. The base bun is designed to be torn apart, light and fluffy in the middle with a caramely crunch on the crust. But the highlight is the orange blossom glaze which is bursting with citrus tang that is balanced superbly with the glaze base. Grab a tea and a Morning Bun and try to find a seat for the perfect way to start off your day.
Just beyond the baked goods is the meze bar, of which the meze platter is a must get for any lunch. You get to choose 5 of their countless unspeakably flavorful creations. A necessity to fill out your order has to be the Beet Tzatziki. With a glowing pink hue and creamy musty (in the good musty beet way) flavor it is by far a stand out. Also, worth getting is the Whipped Feta, which is essentially all the salty delicate flavor you enjoy in exceptional feta but in the consistency of cream cheese, ripe for smearing on some crackers or a pita.
Beyond the baked goods and meze bar Sofra also has a full kitchen whipping out soups, salads, shawarmas, stuffed flatbreads; basically anything starting with an “s”, not to mention crowd favorite Lamb moussaka. If the meze are too light and you require a little bit heavier of sustenance the stuffed flatbreads are by far the way to go, try the Sausage pita which is bite for bite delectable, watch those fingers.
Any time you find yourself wandering around Cambridge, MA and you are either looking for a coffee and a little bite or want a true Turkish meze lunch, head over to Sofra Bakery & Cafe and you will never be disappointed. And if by chance you are, head into the wine store that is connected and drink your complaints away.