Restaurant: Il Paradiso Del Cibo
Location: Walmgate, York
Having been turned away on a Tuesday evening because it was full, my wife and I returned (having booked in advance) to Il Paradiso Del Cibo in Walmgate to see if it was worth the wait.
From the outside it is at best unassuming, with two lost looking tables sat on the pavement and the bright Tricolore colour scheme. Still, there’s no doubt about the type of food you’ll be eating. This honesty continues inside with bright yellow walls, bright red woodwork and a 40-foot plasma showing endless football matches.
More intense than the colours was the warmth of the welcome. The staff, including the owner, ushered us to an small table, squeezed between the front and back rooms.
The atmosphere was friendly, vibrant and very Italian. The owner promptly sat behind us and started remonstrating on the phone in Italian!
The menu, including the usual specials board, was extensive and it all sounded authentic. We started by ordering house red, which at £13.95 for a one litre bottle of smooth full-bodied wine, warmed to a perfect temperature, was a bargain.
For starters, we shared mozzarella di bufala alla Caprese (£4.25). Fresh, fragrant and light, it was simple and delicious.
Our main courses followed a similar authentic theme. I plumped for the amatriciana pasta (£7.50). It was made with sautéed pancetta cubes, fresh onions, chilli garlic, white wine and tomato sauce and was particularly flavoursome.
My wife went with the alle verdure risotto (£7.50), containing Arborio rice, sautéed with chargrill vegetables and garlic. She declared it to be “the best risotto in York” – creamy, perfectly cooked and tasty.
By this time the restaurant was very busy, with a large party of twenty-somethings behind us enjoying friendly banter with the staff. However, families were still enjoying themselves and the children were made to feel welcome too.
Feeling very full, but in the interest of this review, we felt compelled to go for broke and order dessert. The choice was never in doubt.
We had to try the tiramisu, which is a favourite of ours but can often be a disappointment. Too heavy and sticky, it frequently has too much alcohol in it (I know, I can’t believe I just wrote that). This is usually to make up for the lack of flavour, but no such danger here. Light, delicate and perfect to our taste, it rounded off a fantastic meal.
Overall, the bill came in just shy of £40 for a meal we both thoroughly enjoyed. The food is simpler than many Italian restaurants – which is a good thing. Italian food is more about the quality of ingredients and flavours than the quantity of either.
The atmosphere is also as close to an authentic trattoria as it’s possible to get. For us that’s perfect, but if you want a quiet romantic evening it may not be your first choice.
Finally, with my Yorkshire hat on, I must mention the incredible early bird offer which runs from noon until 2.30pm and 6pm until 7.30pm on weeknights: any pizza or pasta, plus a beer or very generous glass of house wine for £6.95. We have tried this before, and it is surely the best value quality meal in town.
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