Blink and you’ll miss this teeny tiny spot. Tucked among the polished restaurants and bars of Faubourg Saint Denis, this hole-in-the-wall restaurant pedals fresh dürüm Kurdish sandwiches that pack a punch. We also love it here because it feels like taking a trip somewhere between Turkey and Iran, only just without having to shell out for the plane ticket.
We were introduced to Urfa Durum by an expat friend from New York. Michael lived in the city for a year, working on his philosophy thesis. On the days he managed to tear himself away from his research, he’d wander down late into the night for something to eat. While most places would be closing up, Urfa Durum’s oven was still being fired up, with locals taking a seat as they waited for their sandwiches.
A handful of surprisingly comfortable wooden fold-out chairs you sort of have to crouch line the pavement. Inside, the small space is taken up mostly by a ginormous oven. Urfa Durum might not look like much, but the Kurdish chefs’ precise movements as they knead the fluffy dough, and roll it out into discs, before sliding them into the oven to make their sought-after sandwiches, catch onlookers’ attention through the window.
WHICH SANDWICHES to order:
Once passers-by see the chefs load up the doughy wraps with beef, chicken or lamb’s liver and vegetables slathered with a secret concoction of red onion and parsley, it’s enough to convince those who haven’t crossed the threshold already to step inside and order. And at 7€ a piece, you can’t go wrong.
Just don’t ask for fries, “It’s not that kind of place,” the chefs will tell you, a teasing sparkle in their eyes. If you’re still hungry after your sandwich, order a lahmacum. Similar to a small crisp and thin pizza, it’s sprinkled with minced meat, tomatoes and onions. The chefs recommend you eat it rolled up like a pancake. And this extra goodness comes in at 2€.
At a glance:
+ What your great grandmother’s kitchen might have looked like. Urfa Durum’s friendly Kurdish chefs serve up their sandwiches from 12pm through to 12am everyday.
– There isn’t much seating onsite, so to be sure to get a table, go outside of peak times.
Urfa Durum, 58 rue du Faubourg Saint Denis, 75010 Paris (no website, open everyday 12pm to 12am except Sundays when it closed at 10pm).