King Bibi's + Roma's Bakery, Woburn MA

finally getting around to writing up a quick hit on the new Brazilian place in Woburn (315 Main Street) that I learned about from Daily Lunch. Seems like it’s largely a buffet place at lunch, as evidenced by the steady stream of Brazilian Americans coming in to scarf down food from there the whole time we were there. The buffet looked good, too, but since they claim to be the king of esfirra (aka sfiha), I wanted to try these out and leave the buffet for another time.

Esfirra/sfiha are basically a snack item that supposedly came to Brazil through Lebanese/Syrians who moved there (according to this post at Flavors of Brazil), and it’s essentially a yeasted bread loaded with cheese and a variety of ingredients and I guess can be served open faced or closed. We ordered the chicken with cheese and spinach with cheese to check 'em out. We also tried to order the galinhada minheiro, which they were sadly out of so our really nice waitress talked us into a chicken and onion dish that I forget the name of…

The chicken dish was OK, it was basically well seasoned plain cutlets that were fried and covered with slightly fried onions. It tasted fine overall, though unfortunately the chicken was a bit overcooked. It came with a side of really nice plain rice, well fried yuca, some fair beans and tomato salsa and a standard shredded iceberg and bad tomato salad.

The sfihas came out a bit later, but since this was because we were told they woman in back decided to cook a fresh batch for us, this was no problem. She even tossed in an extra cheese one made with a different kind of cheese, which was pretty cool. They were nice and hot and tasty–as a foodstuff they aren’t all that exciting, but good and homey and worth trying. They’re also only a buck and a half or so apiece, so I imagine a couple of these for breakfast with coffee would be great.

The place itself is nice and open and clean, and the staff is fantastic. Our waitress was great and the guy who seemed like the owner was there watching everything like a hawk and making sure everyone was happy. They have a good system with the check which as our waitress explained involves giving you a number at your table so that at any time you can take it up to the cashier to get checked out if you can’t flag down your server–she said this was because they tried a different system but since Brazilians love to sit there for hours, it got too confusing and they wanted to give people the chance to bail out whenever they wanted. All in all, a good new spot for Woburn and I’ll go back sometime to try the buffet.

Last up we headed to the old school Roma’s Bakery right across the street to get some bread and cookies. The 5$ Tuscan loaf is not a bad value, the bread’s a little close in texture but isn’t bad and has some flavor. Price is right for a big loaf. The macaroons were fine, if unspectacular. Place has a lot of other items too, + the pan pizza looked worth a try. Probably wouldn’t go out of my way to head here, but I’m all for neighborhood bakeries still being a thing so I might sample some more the next time I’m down here.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold