35 years of serving Rota

Posted on Jan 30 2023

As Paris Restaurant is located in Songsong Village, Rota and is open from 7am to 1pm and 6pm to 9pm, Monday-Sunday. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

For those not local, As Paris Restaurant is not a French restaurant in Songsong Village, Rota. Rather it’s just the oldest food establishment on the island that offers Filipino and local dishes.

Supervisor Bong S. Openiano said they’ve been in business since 1987.

For pop music buffs out there, that was the year The Bangles’ “Walk Like An Egyptian” was No. 1 in the charts, for history buffs the late governor governor Pedro P. Tenorio was in the tailend of his first term, and topping the blockbuster list was Eddie Murphy’s “Beverly Hills Cop II.”

While donuts are not on the menu at As Paris (to the chagrin of policemen), Openiano said their No. 1 bestseller has always been their addictive dried beef. It has become so popular that visitors from Guam, Tinian, and Saipan usually order extra and bring them back home.

As Paris Restaurant can comfortably seat 100 customers.(CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

They’ve also been known for their sizzling bulalo steak, bulalo soup, crispy pata, kare-kare, sizzling sisig, sizzling jumbo squid, short ribs barbecue, shrimp omelet, and shrimp with coconut milk.

Openiano said after the COVID-19 pandemic essentially shut them down for six months, customers have returned to As Paris and business has been booming again at the 100-seat ala carte restaurant. 

Aside from their food tailor-made for the local taste buds, As Paris has also been known for the hospitality and friendliness of their staff.


As Paris Restaurant supervisor Bong S. Openiano. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Openiano attributed this to Benito Villaruel, Tina Punzalan, Chucky Maligson, and himself practically living most of their lives on the island, which have made them essentially local and familiar with everyone on Rota.

Punzalan has been on island for 29 years, which is tops among the group, followed by Villaruel (27 years), Openiano (21 years), and Maligson (18 years).

As for the name, As Paris more likely is derived from the Chamorro term “pari” which is a religious and social term used to describe the relationship between parents and their child’s godfather. In recent years, pari has come to be used to describe anyone you regard as a close friend.

Openiano said while COVID-19 is now in their rear-view mirror, As Paris still faces many challenges moving forward. 

“Our biggest challenges operating a restaurant on Rota is the ongoing labor shortage, supply chain disruptions, and rising food costs as we continue to recover from the pandemic and brace ourselves from a rising recession heading into the new year.”

As Paris Restaurant is open from 7am to 1pm and 6pm to 9pm, Monday-Sunday. It also accepts reservations for any occasions and you may call or email them at (670) 532-3356 or

“Thank you very much to all those who have patronized As Paris Restaurant all these years. We owe our longevity to generations of Rota residents and tourists,” said Openiano. 

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at
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