Since its opening, Manzili has always been full. Mohamed Cheikh’s pop-up restaurant is packed for lunch and dinner. This is proof of the great popularity of the winner of the last season of Top Chef but also of his cuisine.

Located in the heart of the peaceful Jardin des Plantes (Paris, 5th arrondissement), Manzili is presented as an invitation to travel. The restaurant pays homage to the Mediterranean culture of the 28-year-old chef and is set amidst lush greenery. You can enter directly from rue Cuvier, but a walk through this greenery has the advantage of whetting your appetite.

At the reception it will now be necessary to show a white leg: valid health pass and above all reservation. Given the crowd, it’s almost impossible to expect to be able to sit there unexpectedly.

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All of Paris (and much more) is rushing to discover the young chef’s small dishes. The getaway starts with Cherbet (€ 6): a very refreshing Algerian lemonade made with fresh lemon and milk. Among the mezes offered as a starter, an artichoke cream with a very pleasant texture but lacking a bit of pepper. The dishes, served with a smile that can be seen behind the mask, stand out with a little extra provided by spices. Paprika and pepper for the octopus tentacle (€ 24) and delicious lemon confit flavor for the grilled lean meat (€ 20).

The good surprise will come from the garnishes (from € 6) with for example a delicious Mesfouf couscous with raisins and almonds. Simple, efficient and addictive. There is also the mizuna salad with bottarga and fish roe.

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Satisfied, we let ourselves be tempted by the author’s nomadic dessert (€ 11) “that you won’t find anywhere else”, the service provides. The portion is ideal for two. This is a lemon curd that juggles sweetness and hints of acidity with the advantage of a surprising basil sponge cake.

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