Cafe Paradiso

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 22 reviews )

16 Lancaster Quay, Western Road, Cork, Ireland

Veggie food restaurant opened since 1993. Offers set menus as well a la carte. Cheese is used but some dishes can be made vegan upon request. Offers bed and breakfast guestrooms upstairs. Open Mon-Sat 5:30pm-10:00pm.

Category: Lacto, Beer/Wine, European, Irish, Gourmet

Reviews (22)

First Review by Saddler

Cafe Paradiso - Edit

Good for Vegetarians, not so great for vegans, which is a little strange for a vegetarian restaurant

Pros: open for years, near big hotel

Cons: very poor vegan options, "options can be vegan if necessary"

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So overpriced - Edit

I feel like this place you either love or you dont. Personally I would never go back. It was 80 euros for two plates 1 starter and wine and we were both hungry after. I realise thats part of the territory with fine dinning but Jacobs on the mall is a far better deal.

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Tamasin 15 May 2017 - Yup, I'd agree with that :)

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Nice Experience - Edit

Took my mother here for here birthday a couple of years ago and we had a really nice time. Yes the price was higher but I find that is the standard when you go out for full meals with beverages and I found the experience was worth it. As a vegan you definitely must call ahead to be safe. Then they will guide you through the menu to let you know what is or can be made vegan. I enjoyed a chocolate soup :) I knew that if it sounded weird they had to be good at it. This place is an evening cafe. Cork vegans and veggies still have to explore this place as our meetups are usually daytime and closer to a budget. We look forward to going some day this year though.

Pros: Friendly and helpful staff, Delicious quality food, A nice fancy vibe

Cons: Not enough vegan options

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Best restaurant in Ireland - Edit

Currently the top rated restaurant in the country on Trip Advisor - as a vegetarian living in Cork this is one of life's luxuries! Delicious food and friendly staff it is always a pleasure - we save it for our special treats now but are always welcomed as if it were a weekly visit. They usually do a 3 course pre-theatre special as well as a regular menu. Delicious!!

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Lovely meal and nice atmosphere - Edit

We enjoyed a lovely vegan meal at Café Paradiso. On booking we had informed them that we were vegan. When we were handed the menu the waiter went through all the options that were vegan or could be adapted to be suitable. The staff were all pleasant and friendly. The restaurant was very busy, they were even turning people away at the door who hadn't booked. Our table was booked for about 6pm and we did have a time limit to be finished by of 8.30pm. We were only aware of this as we had a friend working in the kitchen! At no time did we feel rushed at all. Very enjoyable but do notify them in advance that you are vegan.

Pros: Excellent food, Friendly staff, Nice atmosphere

Cons: Expensive

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Nice food - Edit

Went there a couple of times, really enjoyed the food. They've changed some of their recipes around to make them vegan and have some nice desserts including vegan ice cream with lovely side dishes. All the food was very well cooked and presented. I'd definitely go there again.

Pros: Accommodating, Excellent Food , vegan options

Cons: expensive, Not 100% Vegan

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vegans not welcome! - Edit

Visited last week. When I asked which wines on the extensive list were vegan I was suprised to be told none. I then asked did they have vegan beer or cider, again no. I asked what other vegans did they said no-one had EVER asked! Then told I should have rung ahead and they would have got some in. As I had not yet ordered and there is an off licence on the same street and the place was not busy would they do me the favour of popping up to it, again no. I explained I had traveled 250 miles due their reputation in Ireland, again no. I then asked to go up and get it myself, again no. My partner was also asking about the menu and they were refusing to adjust dishes. By this stage I had asked to speak to the manager and explained all this again, again no.

We both left before ordering after being told this was " a vegetarian restaurant for vegetarians not vegans". So we went a few minutes walk to the Quay Co-op and had an excellent meal with organic vegan perry for a third of the price the Paradiso would have charged.

The next day we went to Dublin to Cornucopia and upon opening their wine list, although not a totally vegan restaurant, read all wines are VEGAN!

Cafe Paradiso you need to alter your drink list. You need to change your menu, being veggie doesn't start and end with cheese any more. But most important you need to alter your attitude, I left shocked and saddened by such anti-vegan attitude, one that I've never even experienced in non-veggie places. My trip to Cork was only saved by the Quay Co-op!!
Updated from previous review on Monday July 21, 2014

I posted some of these comments onto their facebook page as well...they have removed these! So they are also censoring legitimate comments...So Paradiso have made me feel abused and neglected twice in one week!! Can Paradiso censor this page?! Or Expedia and Trip Advisor?! What is their problem!! If you're afraid of comment don't ask for reviews that you then remove...hatred of cheese is not a crime!! But abusing those who don't want to eat it is....rather than delete my enquiry answer it! What wines are vegan, why was I told they weren't and why was I told Paradiso wasn't for vegans?

Pros: none

Cons: bad attitude, vegan menu limited, price

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  Contributions +139

abit dissappointing - Edit

I ate here last may &was dissappointed as they had very little choices for vegans. It is more catered for vegatarians but staff tried there best to accommadate me.

Pros: easy to find, vegan options

Cons: expensive, little vegan options

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Accommodates Vegans and Gluten-free. - Edit

I am vegan and dined at Cafe Paradiso with my mother, who is gluten-free. I notified the restaurant of our dietary restrictions in advance at the time of our reservation. The atmosphere was lovely, and the staff were friendly. A waiter walked us through the menu, highlighting what each of us could and couldn't have. They really seemed to "get" what being vegan and gluten-free meant, and took the time and effort to make sure we had options. We both ended up having the sweet chilli-glazed panfried tofu with choi, rice noodles, gingered tamarind coconut broth and shiitake fritters. It was absolutely divine, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Cork and this restaurant. For dessert, they made us a special vegan, gluten-free apple and fig crumble with vegan ice cream, which was also delicious. Although pricey, this place is definitely one of the best culinary spots in town for veggies/vegans. I'll definitely be back throughout my stay in Cork.

Pros: Accommodating, Excellent Food

Cons: Not 100% Vegan

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Great Vegetarian Food - Edit

Having been a vegetarian in Cork for the last 7 years, Cafe Paradiso has always been my favourite restaurant. The food is fresh, seasonal and always delicious. Beautiful interior and friendly staff adds to its appeal not only for the veggie community but also curious carnivores. My reluctance to go there in recent times only reflects on my decision to go Vegan.
While some items on the menu such as salads can be altered to be served as vegan, the whole menu is geared towards a vegetarian lifestyle which relies heavily on dairy and egg produce. Many of the dishes are cheesy and therefore not suitable for Vegans like myself.
I would not fault the restaurant for this as the producers of local vegetables and artisan cheeses influence their primary style. However when looking for vegan food in cork, Cafe Paradiso would not be my first choice anymore. Vegetarians on the other hand will marvel at the presentation and wonderful favours exhibited by the crew of talented chefs.

Pros: excellent vegetarian food, friendly staff, Stylish interior

Cons: prices can seem expensive, not vegan friendly

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The Best - Edit

Simply the best vegetarian restaurant ever. The chef is a master and I have had the finest meal of all time there. Highly recommend it.

Pros: excellent food, friendly staff, great choice

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Paradise indeed! - Edit

I've been struggling more and more with the fact that I live in a capital city that not only has an appalling lack of restaurant options for veggies and vegans but has zero gourmet veggie restaurants. So armed already with that feeling and then with January blues, I decided to treat me and my best friend to a trip to Cafe Paradiso in Cork.

We heard it was good but... to be able to fine dine in a restaurant where I felt safe from any drifting meat smells was treat enough.. but I had no idea the pure mouth-watering fantastical plates of heaven that awaited me! I may not be able to eat out in Dublin again!

Just beautiful!! We are already planning our next trip! The staff were so lovely, the food incredible and how I wish I lived in Cork! Thank you Mr Cotter! : )

Pros: Exquisite Food, Great options, Lovely staff

Cons: Not in Dublin!

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Touch and Go - Edit

Some items on the menu were sublime, while others were disappointing. The sushi was plain boring and bland and devoid of any flavor. It is a small, cosy place, and definitely overpriced, even though the service is excellent and food for the most part is sublime.

Pros: Sublime, Service

Cons: Expensive, Inconsistent

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Emperor's New Vegetables - Edit

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.

Pros: Ambience

Cons: Pricing Policy

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Ups and downs - Edit

I've been to CafeP many times. My initial experiences were good but it seemed to lose its focus for a few years and I stopped going until recently.

Thankfully I can confirm that on a recent visit food was superb. It appears that there is a new team in the kitchen and some of the dishes are the best I've eaten there.

On the down side, it appears that there is a bit of bedding in to do, as the last time I was there, the wait between ordering and getting the food was unacceptable. It seems that the problem was with the kitchen getting the orders out as the waiting staff were concious of the delay. Hopefully they'll work on this.

Other reviewers have commented on it being pricy and this is true. However this is Ireland and substandard veggie dishes in non-veggie restuarants tend to be only a few euro cheaper for something that is clearly an afterthought on the menu. I can honestly say that the wines, while excellent, are the only over priced items on the menu, not the food.

Pros: High quality dishes, Staff, Location

Cons: Cost of wine

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Best veggie restaurant in Ireland, probably Europe - Edit

It deserves the hype, Cafe Paradiso is really the best veggie restaurant in Ireland, and probably Europe. The food is strongly focused on local produce, and the quality is frankly better than most of the top veggie restaurants I've been to around the world (with possible exception of Millenium in San Francisco). Common main courses include aubergine sandwiches of spinach, pine nuts and local cheese; stuffed cabbage leaves of oyster mushrooms and chestnuts served with cider-sage sauce; couscous cake served over steamed greens with harissa sauce. I've brought hardened carnivores here, and they loved it. There's a long wine list, with several reasonably priced options. It is expensive, even by Irish standards, but there is an early bird special at the moment so you can get three courses for 28 euros. The portions are not huge, so you need to budget for eating at least two courses. After recent flooding, the decor has changed again, for the better, and is modern but relaxed. The vegan options can be thin on the ground as Dennis Cotter is a big lover of cheese, but if you talk to the lovely staff they will advise you on which dishes can be adapted- usually 3 of 7 main courses, and 4 of 7 starter options. A meal in Paradiso makes for a very special evening out.

Pros: Food amazing, Staff lovely, relaxed dining

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Wow, wow, wow - Edit

Visited Cafe Paradiso in 2008 and 2009. Food is out of this world. Even my non veggie partner loved it. Very expensive compared to other vegetarian places but we have paid these prices at non veggie places and received slop so I don't mind paying these prices as a treat. First time we visited was before the decor upgrade and at first was shocked as it had a cafe feel and look to the place with five star prices but as the night went on this relaxed atmosphere added to the meal and the evening. I was on cloud nine after our meal that I could not wait to come back. We stayed in rooms above which were nice but front room was quite noisy from passing traffic so didn't get much sleep and the lack of a bath took away from the stay. Breakfast was also out of this world.

Went back for visit earlier this year and the newly upgraded glamorous dark decor was a new shock but worked well. We made a huge and embarrassing mess up with our anniversary reservation but the staff could not do enough to help us. Food was even better this time around and in particular the ugly biscuit dessert was best we have ever tasted.

Some people (including my partner) have commented that the food here is on the heavy side based but I love my comfort food. Others also mention there is a serious lack of vegan options.

All in all - out of this world food, nice venue and amazing staff make an evening here feel like a real treat and ranks up there with Cookies n Cream in Berlin. I as usual can't wait to go back.

Pros: Out of this world food., Great staff, Nice venue

Cons: Wish there was a C.P in every city!

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Delicious but expensive - Edit

We were really hungry when we came to Café Paradiso but when I saw the prices decided to have a starter only. The staff was friendly and helpful telling me about the vegan options of which there were quite a few (around 40-50% of the menu).
I had something called a tempura of aubergine, beans and orange with miso sauce for 9€. It was absolutely delicious but didn't fill me up at all (I know, it was a starter, but it cost € after all).
My partner had rigatoni with goat's cheese, tomatoes and garlic for 14€ which I was told tasted fantastic as well.
We really would have liked to try a desert but just didn't want to spend any more money there.

For a very tasty meal on a special occasion Cafe Paradiso is certainly a very good choice.

Pros: Delicious, Helpful staff

Cons: Expensive

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either youlove it or lyou hate it... - Edit

that seems to the average opinion ha,ha.
well i was almost giving up on this place as i got turned away 10 min to 12am, as it was considered to be still closed, even though the doors where widely open. i asked if i could just drink something as i was thristy too, but got told "this is a restaurant" what? did you think i came all the way frome germany to get myself drunken in a veggie restaurant???
Anyways i returned, as alternatives a rare in Ireland ;-)
and the food was pretty good. i had some potato pie, which was awesome. my collegues seemed slightly dissapointed, as the food is not really filling you up, if you're hungry as a bear. still recommandable!

Pros: good value, healthy

Cons: the staff? don`'t know, too far for another try

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Probably the best vegetarian in the world...... - Edit

Having just discovered this web site I thought I would post a review about Paradiso, We stayed here in their rooms at easter and the food and service was excellent. We are real foodies and the purpose of our visit to Cork was mainly to eat here. All the reviews in the press and on other sites was more than accurate, it truly is veggie heaven. I have bought the cook books and have tried to recreate some of the dishes they are complex and rewarding to make but you do need a lot of time. Paradiso is not cheap, but then the food is in a league of its own. I noticed a review by a "guest" that was not too complimentary, I would always use caution when reading anything that somebody is not prepared to put their name to, sounds like a rival or an ex member of staff writing to me

Pros: Creative cooking, intimate, excellent staff

Cons: its not in my home town

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JohnnySensible 19 Jul 2007 - Very well said Alan - thank you - welcome to HappyCow! - John  

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Merciless666 15 Apr 2010 - you obviously not leaving this island 2 often?!
go to Dublin for amazing veggie food for reasonable prices.  

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alansmith100 15 Apr 2010 - I live in UK and eat all over the world I only take the time to review places that are really worth visiting I found your post in response to mine very arrogant my opinion is valid and your response has no place on a site like this  

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Not Impressed - Edit

Only visited once after being told this was one of THE vegetarian restaurants in Ireland. Found the staff friendly enough,but lacking in professionalism, wheras the food was bland and portions were small. I'm guessing the owners have got lazy as is the way of most restaurants experiencing success. I say this because my thoughts when eating were that I could probably prepare similar food at home, making a trip out pointless. Locals I've talked to also find Paradiso unimpressive to a ratio of about 4:1.

Pros: Staff friendliness, Informality

Cons: Food, Staff knowledge of food, Staff knowledge of wine

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Extraordinary - Edit

Cafe Paradiso is an extraordinary vegetarian restaurant for two reasons. The first is that it is, bar none, the best restaurant of any type in Cork. If you look at the list of places to eat at the tourist office, it is top of the list. The second reason is that they seem almost unaware of what vegan food is. Most of their meals are not suitable for vegans, even where it would be trivially easy to make them so and there is a super-abundance of cheese based recipes. In a place like Cork, one should be glad there is vegetarian food of this quality prepared with such care, but why cannot they try just a bit harder with the vegan side?

Pros: Excellent food and wine, Good atmosphere

Cons: Poor for vegans

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