Tunisia: Chez Jafaar

Chez Jafaar
22 Rue du Sommerard
75005 Paris, France

It is almost criminal we think, that Tunisian food has so far eluded us. We absolutely love North African food and we can’t get enough of it. However, Tunisian places in Chicago are few and far between, while in Paris they are particularly common (we hear there is a place for Brik in Chicago, though). We were super excited to find a variety of places in Paris to try and made a shortlist – depending on which neighborhood we ended up in. At about lunch time we found ourselves on the left bank neart he Sorbonne– right near Chez Jafaar. Our intrepid Paris hosts I & T were up for almost any kind of food adventure (which is why they are our friends!) so off to Chez Jafaar we went.

We were also drawn in by the advertised lunch special – an appetizer or dessert and entree for 12 Euros. Other offerings on the menu included tagines and Tunisian specialties like brik and merguez sausage. Both T & L had the lunch special – appetizer of chorba soup, and a serving of chicken couscous (12 euros). The chorba was almost like a thick minestrone filled with celery and pasta shells. Since the weather outside was somewhat frightful, the soup just hit the spot. Since two at the table ordered the couscous it came out family style – with a giant plate of couscous, a giant plate of marinated chicken and a giant bowl of fragrant sauce – with tomato broth, whole carrots and potatoes.  M had a lamb and fig tajine, flavored with cinnamon, tumeric, walnuts, and with potatoes. The tajine came out steaming / bubbling hot, and there was a great mix of flavors. The lamb was very well done, tender and fall off the bone, and though the inclusion of the figs was a great taste complement, though he was surprised at how dry they were given how tender everything else in the tajine was.

In terms of general impressions, service was a little slow to get going, but our wonderful French-speaking friends, T & I, cleared that up! We were seated, and then over 20 minutes went by before we were thought of again. However, once they remembered us, the service was pretty speedy. Overall, the menu seemed a little on the pricy side when first entering, but we got a staggeringly large amount of food, so our trip to Chez Jafaar was well worth it. Too bad we were unable to take leftovers home….

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