Address: 40 Walmgate
Prices: £20-£25 for 3 courses
Eating at Il Paradiso is similar to eating in someone’s front room. The tables are crammed together and there is a large television on the wall playing Italian football and music channels. If your date’s a football fan you might want to make sure they can’t see it. The service is fast, which isn’t a surprise as the restaurant’s so small. It’s a friendly and generous establishment (free garlic bread) giving it more personal appeal than your standard Italian chain.
When we arrived they’d lost our booking, which wasn’t desperately helpful as reservations are essential given the size of the place. We ordered a bottle of the house white (light and subtle), followed by bread with oil and balsamic vinegar. We started with a mozzarella salad and calamari in salsa. The mozzarella was flavoursome and creamy, drizzled in good quality olive oil, presented neatly without fuss. The calamari in salsa was perfectly cooked with a spicy tomato sauce with capers that complimented the squid well. Piping hot though! I had to wait for it to cool a bit before starting which was slightly irritating as the first scalding mouthful only made me want more.
For the main we settled upon a pasta special, the tortellini filled with scallops and prawns, topped with a saffron cream, chilli sauce and a rocket garnish. The fresh pasta was perfectly cooked, as was the filling. The sauce was rich, spicy and lemony and it all went perfectly together.We also tried the gnocchi con gorgonzola which was beyond delicious. For those who haven’t tried gnocchi, here’s the place to start. Cheesy but not over-powering. They could have been a little more generous with the spinach though.
We just managed to fit in desert. The generous portions meant that three courses was a bit of a feat for girls. An impressive tiramisu was very good but a mildly tragic chocolate ice cream cake which was rather sickly and a bit of a disappointment. Happily, our pudding sorrows were washed down by complimentary limoncello shots. We were somewhat consoled.