A Happy Belly

If you can handle the volume, El Baraka delivers all manner of Middle Eastern delights

It's also possible to go completely, traditionally North African without sacrificing any of the skill level associated with some of the more unusual fusion dishes. For instance, Tunisian chicken tagine was a wonderful take on this regional stew, which is named for the domed pot in which it is cooked. A double breast of boneless chicken had been grilled, then doused with a preserved lemon that pleased as much as it puckered. The chicken was garnished with caramelized onions and cracked, pitted green olives, and partnered by potatoes that had been roasted with a mildly spiced harissa (a chili-garlic mixture as necessary to Tunisians as ketchup is to Americans).

The same juicy, grilled chicken is available over some of the fluffiest couscous I've ever had, with each grain separate yet somehow incorporating into a complete whole. The couscous is a perfect foil for the "royal combination," which highlights lamb chops about as big as my pinky finger and homemade sausages so fresh and supple, it was as if they'd been sourced directly from the Kasbah.

Hadley Hooper

Location Info


El Baraka

715 S. 21st Ave.
Hollywood, FL 33020

Category: Restaurant > Mediterranean

Region: Hollywood


Dinner Tuesday-Sunday from 7 p.m. till 2 a.m. Call 954-926-1105.
715 S. 21st Ave., Hollywood

Don't let any of this sound too good to you, however. El Baraka doesn't always have every dish that's on the menu available, and you usually won't know what's been axed until you try to order it. For instance, one evening, the kitchen had 86ed the Napoleon of roasted vegetables and goat cheese; the tapenade salad with shaved fennel, radish, celery, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese; and even the "soup of the moment," which we supposed had only "momentarily" run dry. We were only temporarily disappointed, though, by the lack of availability of chocolate ravioli with sweet saffron sauce. Consolation came in the form of a pomegranate-cheesecake börek, or Turkish phyllo dough pastry, that emphasized the tangy creaminess of the interior. Chase it with some Moroccan mint tea and a hip-shaking turn with the belly dancer around the dance floor and you may just feel like a fountain falling in a magical forest. Or something like that.

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