We were drawn to Cafe Paradiso on the strength of various reviews we had read, which suggested that something bordering on alchemy was taking place in the kitchen. We ate there a couple of weeks ago, and although it has a very pleasant ambience and we found some interesting combinations of flavours on the plate, both food and wine were wildly overpriced.
We shared a starter of vegetable tempura and sushi. The tempura consisted of a few wafer thin slices of carrot and squash, and the handful of little sushi parcels were indistinguishable from standard high street fare. The price? Thirteen euros. The cheese stuffed courgette flowers and aubergine parcels we had for main courses were delicately flavoured and extremely tasty, but the portions were rather stingy and at twenty five euros a plate once again did not represent good value.
We expressed our disappointment about what we had been served (the starter in particular) and they were kind enough to wipe that course from the bill, but we still left the restaurant feeling that we had been mugged. Cork is a wonderful city, but it's citizens must have been deprived of vegetarian cooking for a long time if they are willing to pay these prices. We know where we would eat if we returned to Cork in future, but unfortunately it would not be at Cafe Paradiso.
This is on the pricey side, but I've tried plenty of veggie places with my veggie brother and this is one of the best I've found. The food obviously takes masses of preparation and that justifies the price I think. It's a bustling kind of place and very popular, you should definitely book for dinner and if you're only passing through town, you might want to book for lunch too to be on the safe side! There was nothing on the menu that I'd seen before (my veggie brother often groans at the site of another vegetable lasagne) and it was great tasting food with excellent service. The restaurant doesn't have a beer menu, but I've found there aren't any complaints if you bring your pint with you when you stumble in from the pub next door (from the restaurant or from the pub) so long as you're not obnoxious about it. Final tip, the restaurant does sell its own recipe books and they're beautifully done - some everyday stuff as well as the very complex stuff they do for the restaurant. Enjoy.
Thankyou to Cork's very own psychofluffybunny for pointing me to this one. I passed it, by chance, on my way to Fitzgerald Park and booked a table there and then :-)
Well, I am designing a Food Museum for a college project, so I thought I would treat myself for a Friday night meal to remember!!
Café Paradiso is on a main highway from the city towards the B&B centre, Western Road. The restaurant has a daytime menu too, though the Friday evening was full up so I guess you should book in advance. The atmosphere was very relaxed, it quickly filled up as the evening commenced. The table staff more than friendly. And rather too good looking.... drool ;-)
Posh, well I don't usually do it. But I gallantly tasted the wine and then asked for a different bottle. Then to my horror realised the nicest sounding main course was one of the most expensive, at 22 Euros! See picture above ~ it was something along the lines of 'flaky almond pastry roll with [insert italian word here] cheese and spinach, honey-glazed green beans with a red pepper sauce [of course this had to be 'drizzled' around the plate]'. The pastry really did melt in the mouth. It is food to enjoy, not to stuff yourself with!
Favorite Dish: There was a choice of around twelve different main courses, all described very imaginatively. Lots of complimentary tomato bread and olive oil dip, but no beer license so wine is the only alcoholic drink on offer.
The restaurant has a daytime menu too. My one big regret was not staying to sample a pudding.
Overall, great food for a special occasion.