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“Small, nice, quaint”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Cafe Paradiso

Cafe Paradiso
Ranked #58 of 96 Restaurants in Urbana
Cuisines: Cafe
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Seating, Takeout
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Seating, Takeout
Lima, OH
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Small, nice, quaint”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 2, 2008

We arrived at Cafe Paradiso on a Saturday evening, shortly after the normal dinner rush, so we did expect to see a crowd and were a bit worried when there wasn't one. We had called ahead and put our names in just in case. We were seated promptly and professionally. I have to say we were all pretty pleased with our dishes. They also had a decent wine/beer selection. This is a nicer restaurant, but we all showed up in jeans and sweaters, and didn't feel out of place. I got the pick your own pasta dish, with the marinara sauce, priced at 10.95, and I couldnt' finish it all. I even shared some with my mom and there were still leftovers. It also came with 2 meatballs. They weren't really great, but not awful either. I could skip the meatballs next time. Salad was really good, as was the raspberry iced tea.
This is a newer restaurant, and I hope business for them picks up so that next time I'm in Urbana I can visit here again!

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Thank daejoe3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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22 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    5
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    4
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Urbana, Illinois
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Great food, but staff leaves something to be desired”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 27, 2008

I'm a regular at Paradiso and have been for a few years now. The food is generally fantastic. The sandwiches are made with bread from local bakery Mirabelle and incorporate fresh and sometimes local ingredients. The soups, pasta salads and spreads are usually to die for and all made from scratch. They offer vegetarian and/or vegan soups almost every day, which is not easy to find. However, because the soups and pasta salads are home made, they can be kind of experimental and occasionally they don't hit the mark. On the rare occasions where the recipes don't work, they REALLY don't work! I had a soup just this afternoon that was a wonderful combination of fresh vegetables that would've been phenomenal if not for the fact that it contains so much dill that it is basically inedible. I would say about one of every 20 soups I try has a problem like this, so it' s definitely worth the risk since the vast majority of soups are so good I frequently find myself having a cup for lunch and buying a second to keep in the fridge for dinner.

The single biggest problem I have with Paradiso is the staff. They are as quirky and eclectic as the artwork in the place, and everyone is as nice as can be. They are not, however, the brightest bunch. Although there are a couple staff members who appear to be managers and are fantastic, the majority of them don't have a clue. Expect your sandwich to be missing a few ingredients (or have something extra), your soup to be the option the guy in front of you ordered rather than what you asked for, and your coffee drinks to take forever or even get forgotten entirely. Paradiso would benefit immensely from more intensive employee training/oversight as well as being a little more selective in who they hire. While I appreciate a super friendly counter staff who add to the ambience of the establishment, when I'm trying to get my morning coffee or grab a quick lunch, my biggest concern is getting my food quickly and as I ordered it. On this point, Paradiso is woefully inadequate.

Overall though, the staffing issues and occasionally bad cup of soup won't keep me from frequenting the place. What's bad is pretty bad, but what's good is so good that the bad stuff is pretty
easy to overlook. A few changes in staffing and this is the perfect place for lunch and coffee.

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1 Thank A_T_98
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“A great place to hang out and read a book.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 4, 2008

A great place to hang out and read a book.

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A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
“A bit worn around the edges, but has character and good coffee. Great if you're looking for a local hangout.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 11, 2008

A bit worn around the edges, but has character and good coffee. Great if you're looking for a local hangout.

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“I Love to study here! Not to mention if u like all sorts of teas they have them and even small portion size Healthy...”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 6, 2007

I Love to study here! Not to mention if u like all sorts of teas they have them and even small portion size Healthy snacks yummy!

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