Urfa Dürüm, Kurdish Sandwiches in Paris

by phyllisflick on June 13, 2010

Sometimes you find a little bit of happiness in the strangest of places and yesterday I found my happiness on the rue du Faubourg Saint Denis, at Urfa Dürüm, a tiny hole in the wall serving marvellous sandwiches.

To be honest, I wasn’t exactly charmed by my first encounter with this neighbourhood when I arrived in Paris nearly ten years ago.  It seemed a long way from the Paris I knew and loved (think the touristy 5th and 6th) and struck me as dirty and run down.  The neighbourhood has undeniably changed in the last few years as more and more bobos move in, but perhaps my view of Paris has changed as well. The more I visit this neighbourhood, the more appealing it becomes. Sex shops and sleaze still abound on the rue Saint Denis, but there are pockets of charm to be found everywhere, like this lovely little passage way just off the rue du château d’eau.

Or, the picturesque Cour des Petites-Ecuries, where the King’s coaches were made and repaired in the late 18th Century and where you’ll find the celebrated Belle Epoque Brasserie Flo, one of the original brasseries of Paris.

And I’ve always loved the bustling Passage Brady with its restaurant hawkers, beauty salons and exotic aromas which make you feel like you’ve left Paris for some medina in a faraway land.

This is a vibrant immigrant neighbourhood, home to a myriad of ethnicities and their cuisines.  Indians, Pakistanis, Africans, Malagasy, Eastern Europeans, Turks, and Kurds can all find something from their native land in this quartier.

Not surprisingly the rue du Faubourg Saint Denis has more of its fair share of kebab shops.  But how many kebab shops make their own flat bread right before your eyes?

They don’t serve much here, in fact the owner proudly told me that they only serve lahmacun, a sort of Kurdish pizza and urfa dürüm, these rolled traditional Kurdish sandwiches.  No chips, no fries, no sauce, hardly any spices—just simple goodness rolled up in freshly baked flat bread.  You can choose between grilled chicken, beef, lamb, lamb liver or, if you must, vegetarian.  The meat is grilled to order and strangely they use a hair dryer to finish things off.  No matter, the result was heaven.  They add a bit of arugula, red onion, tomato, no more, all very fresh and crisp, which was the perfect contrast to the warm bread and perfectly grilled lamb.

You can take away but I would recommend having a seat in the quirky, but comfortable, wooden chairs out front; it’s the perfect place to watch the daily hum of this eclectic neighbourhood pass by.

Urfa Dürüm
56 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis
Paris, 10th
Métro: Château d’Eau

Find it on the map

More about Urfa Dürüm and the neighborhood

Vous Allez Adorer la Pizza Kurde

A glimpse of the area on film

More Photos

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

adrian June 14, 2010 at 09:02

I agree. I went after seeing the L’Express piece on “Paris’ best sandwiches”. It’s a nice surprise. The lahmacun is superior to their sandwiches though, in my opinion, and the feta/veggie one is nice, but gets a bit boring at the end.


purplesnack June 14, 2010 at 09:37

I love this place, and their yogurt drink’s good too, but their sandwiches, while delicious and full of perfectly charred meat, are a bit small… they always leave me slightly unfull. Last time I split a Lahmacun as a starter; at only 2 euros, they’re the perfect snack.


Phyllis Flick June 14, 2010 at 20:36

Thanks for the tip Purplesnack, I haven’t tried the yogurt drink but will. And yes, definitely smart to start with a Lahmacun and then a sandwich.


Chrisos June 14, 2010 at 13:37

Lahmacun is not kurdish!
the guys might be kurdish, but Lahmacun is a turkish adaptation of the arabic name lahm bi agine!


Phyllis Flick June 14, 2010 at 20:32

I’m sure you’re right Chrisos, Wikipedia says:

Lahmacun (Turkish pronunciation: [lahmaˈdʒun]) or lahmajoun (Armenian լահմաջուն lahmaǰun or լահմաջո lahmaǰo), from Arabic: لحم بعجين‎, lahm bi’ajīn, “meat with dough”, is an item of prepared food originating in the early Syrian cuisine of the Levant, consisting of a round, thin piece of dough topped with minced meat (most commonly beef and lamb). Lahmacun is often served sprinkled with lemon juice and wrapped around vegetables, including pickles, tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce, and parsley or cilantro.

These guys were definitely Kurdish though and no matter the origins it’s delicious!


croquecamille June 14, 2010 at 18:57

I just moved to the neighborhood, and love to watch the guy roll out and bake the bread to order! I think if you ate one of these, then hopped down a block to Corba Salonu for some Turkish soup, you’d have a filling and super-cheap dinner.


Phyllis Flick June 14, 2010 at 19:47

I’ve heard about the soup place, that will have to be my next stop


vielleanglaise June 16, 2010 at 20:32

I’ve been going to this place since it opened three years ago and, am proud to say, have written it up elsewhere.

Salami, that’s the owner’s name, is Kurdish like many of the “Turks” in the neighbourhood and is a dissident not only from his country of origin, but from another (good) Lamachun place just next door to the ‘Sully’ further down the street,

I’ve been living in this area on and off for 20 years now and it it’s really coming into its own from a culinary point of view. There’s this and the other Turkish and Greek joints (Salami tells me the best Kurdish restaurant is on the rue de L’Echequier), theres the “Balkavatheque” on the cours de Petits Ecuries where they only sell mounds of different types of Baklava, there’s the Mauritius joints, and a couple of Pakistani dives that if you can get over the bomb factory esthetic and are able to forgo booze do good “Indian” food.

WHen you add to that all of the butchers, the greengrocers, the dried goods merchants, a great cheese shop, two small wine merchants, a Cisternino Italian deli within walking distance, and all of it much cheaper than Montorgueil, the only thing that’s missing, and I’m sure we won’t have to wait for long with asll of the bobos is a really good French place….

Phyllis Flick June 16, 2010 at 21:10

Thanks so much for this Vielleanglaise, I would love to read what you wrote and to hear about more of your favorites in the neighborhood.


SaraB June 2, 2013 at 01:58

I went today and I don’t agree with some of the reviews—it’s really not a great place to eat-in, take-out is better as the neighborhood isn’t that pretty and the chairs are super uncomfortable. The sandwiches are good because of the flat bread which is slapped on the counter steaming hot. I preferred the meat pizza as the meat used isn’t the highest quality with a lot of fat and grizzle. Nice people . quick service and all in front of you.


SaraB June 2, 2013 at 02:01

–sorry , quick clarification: the meat used on the meat pizza is ground meat which is barely detectable but the cut or kofte type meat sandwiches are not of the best quality.


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