Mad About Paris, Much more than a guide
“Chez Omar” is a restaurant that divides Parisians into two irreconcilable parts: those who hate it and those who love it. But be sure there are more than enough of the latter: at dinnertime, there is always a fashionable crowd queuing up for couscous.
This crowd doesn’t come because of the stunning quality of the food, which is ok, but for the unbeatable atmosphere here. Models, media people, the movers and shakers, they are all here. And they’ll always come back.
“Chez Omar”, perfectly situated in the Upper Maris on Rue de Bretagne even before the neighbourhood became hip, has existed for decades and it has never really changed. It always was, it still is and probably always will be, trendy. If it needs a lick of paint, Omar Guerida, the owner, personally takes care that the yellowish new paint has a vintage touch from the very first day and that his collection of vintage soda siphons will fit into the re-looking without a problem.
Omar is actually the soul of the place. He has his eye on everything and everyone. He’s speaking a bunch of languages, is as friendly like a Moroccan inviting you into his home. But his Arab friendliness has got a true Parisian touch and can easily turn into indifference and sometimes even arrogance.
Now let’s talk food. At “Chez Omar” you get decent couscous whether with chicken, lamb shank, grilled skewered lamb or merguez, the very spicy sausage. It’s up to you. And you better wash this down with a bottle of rustic Moroccan wine. In case you still feel a little hunger (but who could after this?), go for one of the Moroccan style sweets that arrive on a platter.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Omar – and I also hate it. Once in a while it’s really great fun to go there to people watch and even for the unbeatable feeling of complete satisfaction. Omar, by the way, only takes cash.Chez Omar