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Review of Il Paradiso Trattoria

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Il Paradiso Trattoria
8723 Cooper Road, Alexandria, VA 22309
703 360-4105
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Ranked #361 of 650 Restaurants in Alexandria
Restaurant details
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2010

Six of us had dinner at what used to be our favorite Italian restaurant in the Fort Belvoir area. The service was substandard, compared to a few months ago...3 of six of our orders were incorrect and service was slow. The prices were much higher than on previous visits. We used to eat there weekly...but no more!

    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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10 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Concord, New Hampshire
Top Contributor
176 reviews 176 reviews
100 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 65 cities Reviews in 65 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
“definitely a best place to stop in the area!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2010

recommended by the latino clerk at hotel as a good "italian"place to eat. well.... that it is! was'nt, however, an italian in sight. rafael my waiter, victor the cook and et al....latinos. who cares...the talapia special i had was very good. and, picking out the best seat at the bar (all were empty) i got to watch victor and his sous chef at work. very tidy kitchen and nice clean place. definitely a stop if in the area!

    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Alexandria, VA
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Amazing Food. Great Service.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2008

I am reluctant to share news of this well kept secret, but...

Il Paradiso Trattoria Itliano is a relatively new restaurant that has opened in my neighborhood. Having worked in a restaurant myself for 15 years, my standards are fairly high. Being in a converted Jerry's Subs shop, I didn't expect much. The ambiance is modest and the decor is mostly pictures of the chef with various politicos and family. However, the food was simply delicious and the service (with a smile) was timely and attentive.

I recommend going on a Monday night. That is the night that you are guaranteed to get a meal prepared by the owner/Chef Hector Guerra, as he prepares all of the dishes on Monday nights; other nights he is performing more executive duties and cooks less. He used to Chef for Roberto Donna at Galileo, in DC. He is also featured in the book, "Home Food: 44 Great American Chefs Cook 160 Recipes on Their Night Off". My wife and I were in there last Monday night and sat at the bar - The kitchen is right behind the bar and I always like to watch the action, if I can.

We were having a difficult time trying to decide what to order when Chef Hector smiled and said, "Leave everything to me". We agreed.

Our first course was a sampler appetizer of 3 different pastas in 3 different sauces (not a menu item). We had a meat filled ravioli in a marinara sauce, tortellini in an Alfredo sauce, and potato gnocchi with meat sauce. The ravioli in marinara was above average, but the other 2 offerings were fantastic.

Second course was a perfectly grilled tuna steak on sautéed green beans. Wow. Without a doubt, the BEST tuna steak I've ever tasted. The texture was as smooth as butter and the beans were crisp-tender.

Third course was an absolutely delicious beef tenderloin fillet on home fries, with a red-wine reduction and a little tomato basil sauce drizzled on top. These little bits of fried potato (I think they were mashed first) were like little bites of air, they were so light, and the tenderloin had a nice sear and was cooked to perfection.

We surrendered after that. No room left for the peaches sabayon he wanted to prepare us.

The Tuscan wine he served us was quite complementary to the dishes and reasonably priced. All menu items are competitively priced. Average menu price is about $13.00. Most pasta dishes are $11.00. I recommend the Penne with Salmon in a Roma sauce (Alfredo with a touch of marinara). We haven't tried any deserts yet and the only soup we've tried is the Lentil Soup, at his insistence. It was nothing short of amazing! And we don't even like Lentil Soup.

The reason we were able to get such personalized attention by Chef Hector, is because business is so slow. I'm sure it has as much to do with location as anything else. The restaurant is just off of Rt. 1, about 5 miles south of Alexandria, VA. Although I would love to keep this gem my little secret, it would be a travesty to see this restaurant go under due to lack of business. Due yourself a favor, go try this restaurant. I'm sure glad I did.

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alexandria, va
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“one of my favorites”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2008

I'm not a "traveler" but a local who knows and enjoys good food. Il Paradiso is one of my favorite local restaurants. I've been a "regular" since their opening just over a year ago and have never had a bad experience. The food is fresh and always masterfully and lovingly prepared. The menu isn't extensive - it doesn't have to be. It just has to be good. And a good value. Pasta starts at about $7 and there is nothing on the menu priced at more than $15 (specials might be a bit higher). BTW - the whole fried Rock Fish is spectacular! The servers and cooks are friendly and knowledgable and always greet diners with a smile.
If you're looking for good food at a good value and where "the locals" eat, you can't beat Il Paradiso.

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Washington DC
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Favorite Cheap Eats Place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2008

This is the best restaurant in the area - and can't beat the price. Atmosphere is quaint - food is excellent. A rare find. Should be in Washingtonian's Cheap Eats edition.

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