Chez Bob de Tunis - Gastro Obscura

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Gastro Obscura

Chez Bob de Tunis

Fully loaded, Tunisian-style sandwiches are on the menu at this unassuming hole-in-the-wall. 

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Wandering the grand, elegant buildings of Paris’s 9th arrondissement, you may have encountered a scruffy,  distinctly incongruous shopfront. For decades now, Chez Bob de Tunis has refused to blend in with its surroundings while serving Tunisian-style snacks and light meals.

The signature dish here is the sandwich tunisien, also known as kaskrout tounsi (from the French casse-croûte, meaning snack), a chubby baguette stuffed with tinned tuna, chunks of potato, tomato and cucumber salad, olives and capers, and an optional spicy sauce, a staple light meal in its homeland of Tunisia.

That baguette indicates a French influence, but the sandwich may also have been inspired by another dish served at Chez Bob, the fricassé. Allegedly an invention of Tunisian Jews, the dish takes the same elements but stuffs them in a smaller, savory, doughnut-like fried brioche roll.

At Chez Bob, the eponymous owner still assembles your sandwich, old photos line the wall, personal belongings are stacked up in the corners, and the kitchen is more domestic than professional—the kind of place where regulars grab drinks out of the fridge. 

Those sandwich elements are also available in platter form, and there’s a glass case with Tunisian fried savory snacks such as brik au thon, a samosa-like packet of pastry dough stuffed with tuna and hard-boiled eggs. Pair your meal with a can of pop from Tunisia, finish with a plate of halva, and grab a tub of preserved lemons to take home. By the time you step out on the street, you’ll have forgotten what city you’re in.

Know Before You Go

Chez Bob de Tunis is cash-only. If you fail to snag one of the two tables inside or the stools out front, simple take your sandwich to go. 

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January 8, 2024

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