Il Paradiso del Cibo, York
Known locally as Paulo’s it looks like a central casting Italian trattoria with its red, white and green fascia board, formica-topped tables, flags and maps of Sardinia and the massive HD telly mounted on the wall inevitably showing round-the-clock Italian football. There’s probably a raffia-covered Chianti bottle somewhere.
The menu has double-take prices: pizza or pasta at £6.25, specials heading towards £5 for starters or £13-£16 mains and Monday to Friday pizza or pasta with a glass of wine £9.95. Food to fuel debt-strapped students with change for a pint. And it’s not just students but their lecturers, too, and all sorts of hungry Yorkies who have found their way through word of mouth to this great little trattoria for a cheap bottle of Italian plonk and one of Paulo Silesu’s specials: ravioli cappasante are ridiculously rich pasta parcels filled with king scallops, prawn saffron, chilli cream garlic and lemon thyme or try pasta triangles filled with swordfish, cheese, tomato, capers, oregano, black olives or perhaps baked aubergines, parmesan, smoked mozzarella and a basil and tomato sauce: all full-bodied dishes spiked with herbs, chilli and lashings of cream. Don’t come looking for subtlety or for Michelin-starred food at Netto prices but do come for generous, exuberant, spirited cooking and a full-blooded, all Italian embrace.
Now there’s Il Paradiso in the Forest at Sutton on Forest