Baraka Café transports customers to North Africa

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Tucked away on Pearl Street near Kendall Square in Cambridge, Baraka Café transports customers to the sands of North Africa. The small space ushers patrons into the sights, textures and aromas of Tunisia with ornate hanging lanterns, clay salt and pepper shakers and sparkling deep purple tablecloths.

Since it serves traditional North African cuisine, many vegetarians find refuge in the diverse menu. One favorite is melkha, an eggplant dish served with tomatoes, olives, spinach, and cheese served on top of couscous. The ultimate vegetarian platter du jour is also a favorite among regulars.

For many, the favored dish is M’katef or lamb shakes marinated in Arabian almond tartlet and mint sauce served on top of leeks. Fresh lemonade beautifully served in glass mason jars topped with mint pairs well with both dishes.

Owner and chef Alia Rejeb said she has had a passion for cooking since she was 9 years old. A world traveler, Rejeb grew up in Tunisia and has always tried to stay close to her culinary roots.

“That’s my background. I just added a North African twist,” Rejeb said.

Sensing a niche in the market, Rejeb and her friend, Karim Dahim, opened their South Mediterranean restaurant 18 years ago. She added, “I always made sure I had North African dishes and specials. That’s why I started this restaurant.”

For Rejeb who has had a long journey as a chef, opening a restaurant was not without challenges.

“It’s like a baby. It needs to be born, then you need to be patient so it can walk on it’s own for four or five years. In those years you need a lot of money,” Rejeb said. She is grateful that Baraka Café has been going strong for so many years.

Customers travel from all over the metropolitan area to dine in her homey restaurant. As aromas from the kitchen fill the small space Rejeb takes charge and entertains her customers with lively conversation and Tunisian hospitality.


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Contact Beth Treffeisen at [email protected]