Ibrik Cafe

When I walked into Ibrik café the other day and sat down in the upstairs dining room, I saw this scenario next to me. After spending the morning rummaging through an unruly restaurant supply salvage yard out in the suburbs (I didn’t buy anything, but they gave me three cake pans as a gift), it was nice to sit somewhere that was clean, organized, and dry.

It made me so happy that I thought it’d make a nice picture, too. Two women were dining at the table, and I avoid taking pictures of people without asking, especially if I plan to put it on my blog. I once was at an event and snapped a picture that included a couple, who quickly waved their hands furiously in front of their faces, “…Non, NON….we’re not married to each other!”

But I’ve used the general reluctance regarding photos to my advantage, as it’s a good way to clear a path on a busy sidewalk in Paris: Hold your smartphone up in front of you as if you are filming. (Although I should also add that it’s probably an equally good way of getting your phone swiped.) Being a café, I asked the women if I could snap a photo of their beautiful lunch. (While assuring them that I wouldn’t be taking their picture.) “Mais oui, monsieur,” she cheerfully agreed, “But it’s not just beautiful – the food is very good!”

And indeed, she was right. For a small cafe whose front door gives little impression of what’s behind it, the food at Ibrik is remarkably good. Palestinian chef Ruba Khory, who grew up in Dubai, is turning out some of my favorite food in Paris.

Ruba worked in a few of the top restaurants in Paris, including Septime and yam’Tcha, although she’s circled back to her roots, seasoning foods from, or inspired by, the Middle East, with za’atar and sumac, smoking eggplants for caviar d’aubergines, and tucking warm falafels under generous heaps of just-chopped herbs and crisp salad greens, with rivers of garlic cream running through it.

The focus of the menu at Ibrik is meze, Middle Eastern appetizers, most meant to be shared, so if you go with a few friends, you can share everything and make a nice lunch for yourselves. There are daily lunch formules (specials), but the first time I ate here and ordered my own meal, I ended up swiping food off my friend’s plates, and vice versa. So you’re better off ordering several things and sharing them. My only wish is that they’d switch to thinner flatbread that you use for scooping up all the lovely spreads and salads. My mother used to say when we went out to dinner in a restaurant, “Don’t fill up on bread!” because I would immediately attack the bread basket – and butter – as soon as we sat down. Nowadays I’m still a big bread fan, but because the food is so good here, I’d rather fill up on the terrific falafels and especially good (and very generously portioned) fried halloumi, rather than thick bread.

Desserts are made in-house and I wholeheartedly recommend the pistachio cake packed with bright green nuts, with a thin gloss of sweetness poured over the top. There’s also lokum, otherwise known as Turkish delight, which Cathy, the owner who tends the café bar, told me was from the last artisanal lokum maker in Paris. And definitely save room after dessert because one of my favorite chocolate shops in Paris, Fouquet, is just one block away.

Riding the wave of places focusing on good quality coffee in Paris, Ibrik serves traditional coffee drinks (even though the sign outside says “Weird coffee for weird people,” which may be why I like it), but also makes “Café Ibrik,” Turkish coffee brewed up in an ibrik (or cezve) the traditional metal pot that it’s made in.

After mixing the coffee together, the pot is buried in hot sand whose slow heat helps coax out flavors of the coffee. The menu advises that it takes ten minutes to prepare, so give yourself time. Even though we lingered long after the other customers left, one of the women seated at our neighboring table had apparently been lingering downstairs over coffee. I was surprised she’d been there longer than we were. But then again, I didn’t want to leave either.

Ibrik
43, rue Lafitte (9th)
Open Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5pm, Saturday 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Related and Posts

Mokonuts

Yafo Houmous Cafe

Liza

Fried Halloumi

Hummus with spiced lamb

Eggplant Caviar

Hummus

Holybelly and Belleville Brulerie

Where to find a good cup of coffee in Paris

Baba ganoush

How to make Turkish Delight (Oh, the things we’ll make)

Lokum (Sense and Edibility)

Lokum (196 Flavors)

 

Ibrik Cafe in Paris, a great spot for coffee or lunch

Never miss a post!

20 comments

  • October 31, 2017 1:02pm

    I just ate and you’re making me hungry.
    That coffee looks amazing.
    These little cafés are the soul of a city. Reply

  • Lynn
    October 31, 2017 1:45pm

    Deb Perelman posted a pistachio cake recipe with a glaze last Spring that looks excellent Reply

  • Chuck
    October 31, 2017 4:10pm

    Did they serve just plain coffee or could you get it Turkish style with cardamon? Reply

    • October 31, 2017 6:29pm
      David Lebovitz

      They have a snazzy espresso machine and serve Italian-style coffee drinks (espresso, etc.) in addition to the Turkish style coffee. Reply

  • Thomas Flinn
    October 31, 2017 4:26pm

    They have sand coffee here at Kokkari but they don’t bury the coffee in the sand, they rub it all over the sand. It makes sense it would allow the coffee to taste better, but please, no Mr Sand Coffee machine! Congrats on your new book, can’t wait to have you sign it in San Francisco. Reply

  • Janet
    October 31, 2017 4:35pm

    This restaurant is near from where I am staying during my Paris vacation! We’ll go tomorrow! Enjoyed breakfast at 10 Belles today and lunch at Cafe Oberkampf…both great. Your book is arriving at my house on my birthday! Thanks! This is my second posting here…the other disappeared. Sorry if there is a duplicate! Reply

  • Louise Yenovkian
    October 31, 2017 4:52pm

    Wonderful post! I am Armenian and most Middle Eastern food is very similar as is the coffee. The trick to getting the foam on the coffee is to slow boil it twice in the Cezve (a copper long handle vessel). The coffee will raise creating the foam. After you drink the coffee, you turn your cup over and let the grinds and foam drip down. Usually someone in the restaurant will “read” your cup!!! Reply

  • Alys
    October 31, 2017 5:39pm

    Thanks, David. We will be in Paris in December and this is perfect for lunch after a rummage through Galerie Lafayette! Reply

  • Liz
    October 31, 2017 6:14pm

    Completely beside the point, but I love Lemonaid. The blood orange is like Orangina for grownups. Reply

  • October 31, 2017 6:14pm

    oh my.. I want to be you in my next life!!! was so hoping the pistachio cake recipe would be posted. Love your posts! Reply

    • Rockyrd
      November 1, 2017 1:16am

      Me too. What was the pistachio cake like? Reply

  • Adele
    October 31, 2017 6:21pm

    Looks delish. I too like thin pita, but we were just in Israel and almost everywhere they serve the fluffy kind. We did eat at a place, though, that had lovely thin and crackly wheat flatbread, so I have a feeling the owners may have been from an Iranian family.

    And thanks for the info on the coffee!! We saw Palestinian families at the beach in Tel Aviv, picnicking, and it was the job of their young son to tend the coffee in the coals and sand. Reply

    • October 31, 2017 6:28pm
      David Lebovitz

      I’m sure it’s a cultural thing and within that region, there are lots of different kinds of bread, from flat to fluffy. When I was in Lebanon, most of the falafels were served with thinner flatbread (ripped in half, crosswise), and like you, I prefer it thinner. Maybe they should offer both? ;) Reply

  • October 31, 2017 8:36pm

    I don’t recall craving middle eastern food back in New York the way I do here. Maybe its the surfeit of rich creamy textures that make me want tart, lemony flavors and grainy textures. This place sounds perfect. Reply

  • Yael
    October 31, 2017 9:26pm

    This place looks great! I’m a fluffy pita girl myself (hailing from Israel) and adore Turkish coffee. Most importantly, how is the hummus? Reply

    • Thomas Flinn
      November 1, 2017 1:19am

      Puffy please Reply

  • Diane
    November 1, 2017 12:04pm

    Yummmmm. Going soon! Reply

  • Jen
    November 1, 2017 3:48pm

    I’ve lived here 30 years… and have followed you for … well a looooong time. One day I will go through ALL your restaurant suggestions! This one is near work so maybe I’ll start here! Reply

  • Janet
    November 1, 2017 4:43pm

    Had breakfast there today, so did another couple who’d also read your article! We enjoyed the muesli and the Greek bowl, unfortunately no room left for pistachio cake. The waitress/hostess chatted with us about your visits. We’ll be returning. Reply

  • BERMD
    November 2, 2017 12:59pm

    Thanks for this. We enjoyed a lovely meal at Balagan in rue D’Alger last night.

    Best BER Reply

Leave a comment

266 Shares
Pin85
Share181
Tweet
+1