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Summer Menus & Fine Outdoor Dining in Paris

Dining En Plein Air

Click here for all of the best Outdoor Dining spots in Paris.

A satisfying summer meal starts with an Andalusian gazpacho savored on the shady terrace of L’Absinthe, place du Marché-Saint-Honoré in Paris: tomato, green pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic, all finely chopped and seasoned with salt, oil, vinegar and a touch of ice-cold water. Andalusian cuisine is filled with hidden surprises. The gazpacho at L’Absinthe is accompanied by shrimp marinated in lime and Espelette pepper, and livened up with a hit of Tabasco and Xérès vinegar. Its lightly acidic note comes from a small bouquet of fresh coriander.


Cooking is always more than the simple preparation of ingredients. The menu at L’Absinthe (two-course prix-fixe at € 29 and three-course prix-fixe at € 36) includes escabèche (spicy marinade) of sardines and white tomatoes, freshly marinated mackerels and sweet-and-sour octopus. Dishes of the same inspiration can be found at the Bistrot d’à Côté Villiers (prix-fixe menu at € 30), which boasts a spacious terrace.

It is also interesting to note that two of Paris’ most revered restaurants offer a € 70 prix-fixe menu for both lunch and dinner, which privileges diners with access to the most beautiful and romantic 19th century terraces in the city. In a luxuriant garden off the Champs-Élysées is Laurent and deep in the Bois de Boulogne is La Grande Cascade, which takes its name from the nearby waterfall. These two restaurants offer a magnificent natural environment thanks in part to the gardens and also to the renowned cuisine.

Alain Pégouret at Laurent devotes himself to transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary and to making it seem almost familiar. Take the “fricadelle de tête de veau,” or caramelized veal head croquette on a bed of mustard leaves, capers and young artichokes; the marinated anchovies with preserved plum tomato and herbs; and the rabbit with leeks in a rosemary gelée. Even in the garden terrace, patrons speak in a hushed tone, servers are discreet and the sommelier communicates with his eyes.

La Grande Cascade

At La Grande Cascade, managed by Georges Menut, chef Richard Mebkhout stays loyal to his predecessor, Jean-Louis Nomicos, while expressing his own brilliant culinary personality. By taking no shortcuts, chef Mebkhout’s cooking has become gracefully complex. A form of fine art in itself, his appetizer of poached langoustines and crab meat in a lightly acidic tomato gelée is further enhanced by a cool mint extract and crisp, fresh almonds. Thinly sliced sweetbreads meunière and veal kidneys sautéed in Madeira wine both come with young, green-topped carrots. Sweet-and-sour stuffed shallots in a spiced “jus” accompany the sweetbreads while caramelized shallots and chanterelles complement the kidneys. Such simple nuances set this restaurant’s high standard and present a particular challenge to the sommelier. Luckily, in both of the above-mentioned establishments, the wine list is up to the task.

Taste the sea under a covered garden terrace in the heart of Montparnasse at David Hervé’s La Cagouille. Rolling waves and an ocean spray emanate from the platter of plump summer oysters, or more precisely, triploid oysters, an exclusive, genetically-altered oyster that is cultivated year-round. Continue with the Galicien octopus, simply poached, chilled and seasoned with olive oil and Espelette pepper. Prix-fixe menu at € 38.

Sautéed calamari and chorizo served with new potatoes, truffle-infused risotto and turbot in a vinaigrette sauce all appear on the daily menu at La Terrasse Mirabeau where prix-fixe menus are available at € 29 and € 38.

Relais des Buttes

A secret patio is hidden at the Relais des Buttes behind the place des Fêtes near the elevated, 19th arrondissement Buttes-Chaumont park. Chef Marc Gautron may not follow the latest culinary trends but his tuna and salmon carpaccio and mussels marinated in lime and olive oil are worth the climb. Prix-fixe menu at € 31.

Finally, just outside of Paris at Le Coq de la Maison Blanche in Saint-Ouen, debonair proprietor Alain François proposes a noteworthy aïoli, redolent of the heat, intensity and joy of the Provençal sun. Privileged patrons enjoy a sheltered, silent terrace and a menu at € 30.

Not simply a meal outdoors, the above esteemed eateries present an upscale alternative to the common sidewalk café, taking summer dining to another level of gastronomic pleasure.

Click here for all of the best Outdoor Dining spots in Paris.

24, place du Marché-Saint-Honoré
75001 Paris
01 49 26 90 04

Le Bistrot d’à Côté Villiers
16, ave. de Villiers
75017 Paris
01 47 63 25 61

41, ave. Gabriel
75008 Paris
01 42 25 00 39

La Grande Cascade
Allée de Longchamp
75016 Paris
01 45 27 33 51

La Cagouille
10, place Constantin-Brancusi
75014 Paris
01 43 22 09 01

La Terrasse Mirabeau
5, place de Barcelone
75016 Paris
01 42 24 41 51

Au Relais des Buttes
86, rue Compans
75019 Paris
01 42 08 24 70

Le Coq de la Maison Blanche
37, bd Jean-Jaurès
93400 Saint-Ouen
01 40 11 67 68


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