Shakshuka

Branch Line

It seems like just yesterday we were struggling to pronounce the name of this saucy Mediterranean dish—but now it’s a cornerstone of our weekend brunch plans. That’s because Boston has no shortage of stellar shakshukas to choose from. Here are our favorites.

Inna's Kitchen

Inna’s Kitchen, a Boston Public Market stall dedicated to Jewish cooking, offers a takeaway Shakshuka made with tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions, spices, and a cup of spicy zhoug on the side. Additional add-ons range from avocado to feta to cheddar, and you can mop it all up with either a white or whole wheat Israeli pita. Inna’s Kitchen is also the only place you’ll find “Shakalatkes,” a house creation that covers latkes with eggs, shakshuka sauce, feta, sour cream, za’atar, and zhoug.

Middle Eastern-influenced cafe chain Tatte can be credited with turning shakshuka into a local household name. You can always catch their Traditional Shakshuka, made with a tomato and bell pepper sauce, eggs, onions, cumin, feta, and parsley, or opt for a Lamb Meatball Shakshuka built from the same sauce topped with lamb meatballs, peppadew peppers, and labneh. They also serve a rotating shakshuka special; the Fall & Winter Shakshuka, for example, includes roasted red potatoes, chickpeas, roasted acorn squash, and garlic labneh. Each version is served in a piping-hot skillet with some challah bread for sauce dipping.

Sofra, Ana Sortun’s West Cambridge bakery and cafe, serves a Shakshuka made with poached eggs in a tomato-curry broth. It also gets a sprinkling of zhoug, a bright green blend of parsley, cilantro, and Hungarian wax peppers. We’d call it their “secret sauce,” but it’s not too closely guarded—half-pints of the house-made condiment are occasionally available in their carry-out section.

Branch Line may have built its reputation on rotisserie chicken, but one of the Watertown restaurant’s best weekend brunch dishes is poultry-free. We’re of course referring to their Shakshouka: a mix of spicy tomatoes, salty feta, watercress, and two eggs in a skillet. The hearty dish is served with grilled bread to ensure a clean plate.

Both the Kendall Square and South End locations of pizza-centric local chain Area Four serve a standout Shakshuka as part of their weekend brunch menu. While Shakshuka is not in fact pizza, the saucy dish made with tomatoes,  roasted peppers, baked farm eggs, cilantro, and harissa labneh makes a great dipping sauce for crusts—or the house-made pita the dish is served with.

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