A quick guide to some of the best new spaces in Paris for eating outdoors
Even if the weather has been strangely autumnal, then fear not because the outdoor heaters are still allowed (a local decree will see them permanently taken off the streets from next Spring onwards). In any case, summer has officially arrived in the French capital (they consider May as a month of Spring). If you’re going to spend some time in Paris and prefer to dine al fresco where possible, then read on: We have some of the best of the new Parisian terrasses listed here.
1. Garden courtyard of the Carpaccio at the Hôtel Royal Monceau
The Terrace: Its first season since the opening of this 5-star hotel and it was much anticipated. Not so much a traditional terrace here, but more of a garden courtyard conceived by Philippe Starck and brought to life by landscaper Louis Benech. A very mature-looking area for all that, using trees and fixtures around a central basin and which serves both restaurants (La Cuisine and Il Carpaccio) as well as the Bar Long. Round tables topped with white table cloths and enough space between them to preserve intimacy.
The Cuisine: From the very tables of Italian cuisine, giving it a new dimension to a type of food that we all thought we knew so well. To be experienced.
Il Carpaccio, Hôtel Royal Monceau, 37 Avenue Hoche, 75008 Paris. Tél.: +33 1 42 99 98 00.
Open Daily. Specials – €60, Menu – €75, à la Carte – €80-€100
The Terrace: On the seventh floor of the Raphaël Hotel, this elevated joint can feel like the closest thing to heaven (ciel in French means sky or heaven). A celestial cell of tranquillity it has an unfussy freedom bathed in a welcoming and unexpected quantity of greenery. In short, it’s a high-altitude terrasse that maintains that feeling of being far away from terrestrial worries.
The Cuisine: For some weeks now, a certain female chef newly-liberated from the Meurice Hotel across town, has been carefully reawakening a neo-bourgeois brand of cuisine which had become decidedly limp. Once brought up to the oxygenating heights of the Jardins Plein Ciel, that same cuisine has been consequently aerated thanks to such fresh platters as the tartelette with ham and Paris mushrooms with chervil, the St-Pieirre fillet of steak with Anjou asparagus and country croutons and verbena strawberry on almond biscuit.
Les Jardins Plein Ciel, Hôtel Raphaël, 17 Avenue Kléber, Paris 750016. Tél.: +33 1 53 64 32 01.
Lunch only; food served in the bar only from 5pm onwards.
Menu – €58, à la Carte – €60-€80
The Terrace: A fancy new place for a fancy part of town, the décor here is as smartly turned out as local inhabitants. Under a corrida red facade, the huge terrasse extends along the pavement on Avenue de Wagram and on Rue Gounod (a quieter section). The 50 or so cutely-dressed black bistrot tables and cane chairs struggle to disregard the cars parked in front of our eyes. It’s a bit of craic, I know, but still…
The Cuisine: Solid honest fare here – no gastronomic revolution going on but it’s efficient nonetheless. Large artichoke with vinaigrette to share, honest-to-goodness cheeseburger, prawn risotto, child’s menu… Would you like a bit of Poujaran bread with your egg mayo for €2? Très chic!
La Compagnie, 123 Avenue de Wagram, Paris 750017. Tél.: +33 1 42 27 16 83.
Open Daily. à la Carte – €30-€50.
4. Le Jardin at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel
The Terrace: From the street, it’s invisible and (we have to admit) irresistible. The vegetation is spread out in the manner of an oriental garden with, here and there, canapés, tables, teak decking and the sensation of being in a sort-of holiday bubble in the heart of Paris.
The Cuisine: The menu is in modules, which is a good thing. The express lunch menu at the Camelia is reasonable at €45 for 45 minutes with its totally relaxed revisionist tapas-style approach from double-Michelin-star chef Thierry Marx. The à-la-carte menu, meanwhile, is of the let-yourself-go variety. Finally, for those who want to indulge in chic ascetics, you can try one of the very fine alcohol-free cocktails being served throughout the day at the Bar 8.
Le Jardin du Mandarin Oriental, Hôtel Mandarin Oriental, 251 Rue Saint-Honoré, Paris 750001. Tel.: +353 1 70 98 70 22.
Open Daily. Menu – €45, à la Carte – around €80 for the Camélia with dishes from €21 (croque-monsieur, prawn & veg tempura) at the Bar 8 from 12:00 to 18:00.
5. La Mauvaise Réputation
The Terrace: It’s only in the evening that the outdoor eating space of this restaurant truly becomes a terrasse to be recommended, when thirty or so places are set out on the pavement in this relatively quiet little pedestrian street on the verges of the buzzing Montorgueil district (a part of town that has become a particular favourite for its daytime shopping social scene as well as a bubbly evening-time eating-out spot)
The Cuisine: An agreeable sort of menu choice that’s Parisian bistrot without overstepping itself. Thus, dishes like grilled white green asparagus, poutargue râpée (tasty Mediterranean fish-egg based dish), gribiche sauce (French mayonnaise), saddle of lamb en croûte with thyme and orange or exotic fruit zests flavoured with cardamom are all highly conducive to Spring-time appetites. The smart and friendly service here is also worth a mention.
La Mauvaise Réputation, 28 Rue Léopold-Bellan, Paris 750011. Tel.: +353 1 42 36 92 44.
Open Daily except Saturday midday and Sunday. Menu – €17 or €21 (lunch) and €35 (dinner), à la Carte – approx. €40.
The Terrace: Happiness sometimes comes in the form of a ray of sunshine casting its warmth on a piece of pavement bedecked with a few tables and chairs arranged to make you feel like your on an ocean cruise for the privileged. This is the case with the “Cabanon’s” terrasse on a small square with an unmistakeable scent of the sea. There’s seating for about thirty passengers here, all brought together in a convivial atmosphere that’s lubricated with cool Chablis and oysters from the famous Atlantic oyster-farms of David Hervé. It’s Paris-on-the-sea – without seagulls but including pigeons!
The Cuisine: Apart from the desserts and the meat platter (which looks a little bit lost on the inventory), it’s fruits de mer all the way. The afore-mentioned oysters from near La Rochelle of course, but also superb langoustines, wholly edible crab, prawns alluringly attired in their cocktail dressing and, (why not?) steamed lobster.
Le Cabanon de l’Écailler, 14 Place Constantin-Brancusi, Paris 750014. Tel.: +353 1 43 20 52 17.
Open Daily (except Sun evening and Monday). Menu – €10 & €15, Platters from €10 to €22, à la Carte – €20-€40.
(Condensed & translated from an original article appearing in Le Figaro)