A Sandwich Without the Wait

Florence Finkelsztajn, Paris, France

I can remember the very first time I stood behind the counter at Florence Finkelsztajn’s Jewish delicatessen/bakery/pastry shop.  I was decades younger than the rest of the customers, and it seemed to me that they were all ordering the same thing.  Going back over 10 years now, it’s a vague image of a brioche-like cake that I described in a journal as resembling a chef’s hat.  I followed the crowd, and in my best French, asked for a slice and ended up wanting to eat an entire loaf; it was so light and airy, and dotted with chocolate.  I was hooked.  

Florence Finkelsztajn, Paris, FranceI’ve been going back to Florence’s bright and impeccably organized shop every since.  Rue des Rosiers, the small yet lively street in the Marais, Paris’ Jewish neighborhood, has certainly evolved over the years, in my opinion losing authenticity and keeping up way too much with the trends and fashion.  It still has its colorful assortment of felafel stands, boutiques with Jewish paraphernalia and bookstores, but high-end fashion designers and jewelry stores have also made this street their home.  That said, whenever I sit on the terrace in front of the blue mosaic storefront, on the corner looking on to Rue des Rosiers, with piles of fresh challah behind me, stacks of strudels and babkes neatly in rows, for me, nothing has changed.  In fact, yes, I do feel that the ladies behind the counter have gotten much more friendly over the years!

Florence Finkelsztajn, Paris, FranceFlorence Finkelsztajn, Paris, France   

The outside of the shop with mosaics from the 1930’s says, “Your Caterer for Yiddish Gastronomy from Central Europe and Russia.”  Inside the narrow space is a wonderful array of sweet and savory foods, ranging from borscht, blini, chopped liver, and gefilte fish, to cheesecake, apple strudel with raisins and cinnamon, crispy flatbreads called pletzel, cakes made with poppy seeds, dried fruits and nuts, and golden breads baked on the premises.

Florence Finkelsztajn, Paris, France

One item you can’t miss is their signature Super Sandwich, the “Big-Pletzel,” which always has a place right up front, on top of the counter, impossible to miss as you enter the deli.  You have your choice of corned beef, pastrami or turkey, which gets layered with eggplant caviar, red pepper caviar, cucumbers, pickles and fresh tomato slices, all on one of their soft homemade onion and poppy seed rolls.  If you ask nicely, the women behind the counter will be more than happy to slice it in quarters and warm it up for you, which I do recommend.  They’ve gotten friendlier, or I’ve gotten less intimidated!  It’s 7.90 Euros for this satisfying lunch, but don’t forget to save some change and some room in your belly for dessert.

While you savor your sandwich and strudel at their outdoor tables, you’ll have a perfect view of the line of about 50 people waiting for felafel at the ever popular L’As du Fallafel.  Good things come to those who don’t have to wait too, you know!

Florence Finkelsztajn
24 rue des Écouffes
75004 Paris

5 Responses to “A Sandwich Without the Wait”

  1. Stéphanie says:

    A votre mariage le rabbin était tellement génial que Cédric et moi nous nous sommes demandés si nous n’allions pas opter pour sa religion mais si en plus tu nous montres de tels sandwichs… le pas va être franchi!!!

  2. Pierre says:

    yep one of the best ! kerrin is the one to give us such eating pleasure and this one is really a good one…No religion or politic here just a amazing experience when you crave (again not sure about this one) for food. And if the sandwich is enought just go opposite in the street for a shawarma, the best of the world !!!!
    Thanks Kerrin for that

  3. GetTheFood.Info » Blog Archive » Falafel: Worth the Wait, Even for Parisians says:

    […] you’ll find shops that sell religious books and gifts, bakeries with cheesecakes (Florence Finkelsztajn’s reputation rests on cheesecakes and strudels) and, on Fridays, braided loaves of challah, and […]

  4. Florence Shopping says:

    I really liked your blog!

  5. La premiere semaine « Parlez-vous? says:

    […] Yiddish and a kind-faced old Jewish man called me “mademoiselle” when he handed me my big Pletzel sandwich.  The streets were small and winding and filled with good smells and chattering French pushing […]

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