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Nov 5, 2008 07:28 PM

Baraka cafe: still a really hidden gem

It's hard to tell that they're open from the outside. At least there's a sign now.


Vegetarian platter du jour. I'm not veg, but this was fantastic. you must like garlic though. Very smoky eggplant.

ricotta mushroom ravioli: in mushroom broth with more mushrooms, thyme, leek. subtle. nice.

chocolate cake: dense, rich, cake itself wasn't too sweet. maybe the best bargain dessert I've seen at $5.50. Mrs. black bean thinks it totally blows away anything from finale.

turkish coffee... rose water and cardamom and probably why I'm WIDE AWAKE RIGHT NOW....

I appreciate that there isn't pressure to turn the tables over, we were able to take our time.

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  1. The torta bastilla? w/ squab is really worth trying. It requires a few days notice..maybe next time.

    1. OH! I adore Baraka. On a hot night (or not so hot as I would like to drink some now) order a pitcher of the rose petal lemonade. And then you will order another one.

      1. I love Baraka Cafe also and snuck in for lunch today with a fellow 'hound. Their lunch specials are insanely cheap - $4.95 gets you albacore tuna served Tunisian style with scallions, capers, olives, cilantro, Italian parsley, lemon juice & olive oil, tossed with harissa served on hand-stretched, homemade flat Berber bread with greens, tomatoes & onion, tossed in black caraway & mustard vinaigrette.

        Ok, so the serving is sort of skimpy, but add a bowl of soup for $1.95 and that's quite a meal - their flavorings are so complex and interesting - I kinda want some more.

        That lemonade was still just as good, but I opted for the rather tasty Turkish Coffee (ok, so it wasn't as good as other versions I've had closer to Istanbul, but how can I say a mean thing about the kindly grandmother that made it for me?).

        Anyway, this has definitely prompted me to go back for a dinner sometime soon - thanks for the write up!

        2 Replies
        1. re: gini

          I checked out the Baraka Cafe this weekend. The lemonade with the rose petals and fresh mint was indeed great. The cous cous was a bit bland but good. The eggplant dish (don't remember the name) was also good. I really like the chicken sandwich and fries w/fresh parsley. Amazingly, the Brazilian chef ran the whole restaurant by himself from waiting on tables, cooking and cleaning.

          1. re: gini

            I've gotten just about everyone in my office addicted to their tuna sandwich. One of the best lunch bargains in the area, and in the summer time, when it's an easier walk, I have it several times a week.

          2. I second the rose petal lemonade and the fabulous chocolate dessert - it does beat any other kind of dessert options in the area!

            1. Of course you must have the lemonade! First time I went in for lunch. I was so pleasantly surprised. The decor is a little dated and gaudy, but the feeling is quaint and really fosters enjoyment of the company-- even bordering on a communal feel which is popping up in cities like Toronto. $4.95 for the open face tuna sandwich is a great deal but it didn't (personally) wow me. Perhaps it was because I had already been wowed by the Mediterranean cheese plate (Jbinet with Berber Karmous) paired with savory hand-stretched berber bread (Zaatar Coca .)

              It should be mentioned that it is a tiny place and I've read horror stories about reservations. My best advice is to go at an off-peak time. Early/late lunch and weeknight dinners.

              Also, for first time visitors, its a little hard to find. Tinay and muted, in an already quiet and unassuming strip. Truly, a hidden gem.