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Paradiso 37 Review

We haven’t had a good, solid restaurant review for a while, and I have a lot of them in the hopper! We’ll start today with Paradiso 37, where I had the good fortune to dine in September!

paradiso 37

Paradiso 37 Entrance

Paradiso 37 Entrance

The Atmosphere
You’ll remember that Paradiso 37, located on Pleasure Island in Disney World’s Downtown Disney, recently opened its doors. We posted some great food photos when Paradiso opened, and I wanted to supplement those with a few more photos and my review of the restaurant. Be sure to check out that link for the background of this new restaurant specializing in Latin American street food and cuisine.

We headed to Paradiso for lunch, and I was blown away by the incredible “bar glasses” chandelier. I’ve never seen anything like it, and the whimsy and risk prepared me for the menu I was about to see.

Paradiso 37 Bar Glasses Chandelier

Paradiso 37 Bar Glasses Chandelier

We were brought to our table and felt very comfortable in the open dining room. This place is clearly made for socializing — you can see almost every table in the restaurant from any vantage point, and the tapas-heavy menu screams “share me!” It’s also made for drinking (if you like that sort of thing); the floor-to-ceiling display of tequila bottles as the focal point of the room makes a gorgeous design statement, and the restaurant prides itself on its varied tequila, beer, and margarita offerings.

Paradiso 37 Dining Room

Paradiso 37 Dining Room

Paradiso 37 Tequila Bottle Bar Focal Point

Paradiso 37 Tequila Bottle Bar Focal Point

Paradiso 37 Partial Margarita Menu

Paradiso 37 Partial Margarita Menu

Paradiso 37 Tequila Menu

Paradiso 37 Tequila Menu

Paradiso 37 Beer Menu

Paradiso 37 Beer Menu

And while the indoor dining is lovely, the outdoor dining area, with its own bar and a fantastic view of Saratoga Springs Resort and the Characters in Flight balloon, is the perfect spot for an evening out with friends or a yummy family lunch.

Outdoor Seating and View

Outdoor Seating and View

Characters in Flight

Characters in Flight

Paradiso 37 Outdoor bar

Paradiso 37 Outdoor bar

The Meal
We were seated next to a table of four who seemed to have ordered every appetizer on the menu. We wondered why, but soon envied them. What we discovered was that Paradiso 37 seems to have spent a lot of time crafting interesting, delicious “appetizers and shareables,” but didn’t spend nearly as much time on the design of the entrees — at least in our opinion! Again, another piece of evidence that this place might want you to mix, mingle, drink, and socialize rather than tuck into a big meal.

I started out with a margarita, which was delicious — sour with a very strong flavor and not at all watery. From there, we dove into our outstanding appetizers: Central American Crazy Corn, which is fire roasted corn-on-the-cob with a spicy pepper sauce & chefs special cheeses; and the Mexican Dipping Trio — fresh corn tortilla chips served with three dips of chunky guacamole, chili con carne & queso fundido (we substituted more Fundido for the Guac…even though we’re from Texas, we’re not big guac fans).

Paradiso 37 Margarita

Paradiso 37 Margarita

Paradiso 37 Corn Appetizer

Paradiso 37 Corn Appetizer

Paradiso 37 chips, queso, and chili con carne

Paradiso 37 chips, queso, and chili con carne

The corn was delicious — clearly the spotlight of the meal for me. The combination of the (not-too-spicy) spicy pepper sauce with those melted cheeses was perfect. It tasted as good as it looks.

The fundido and chili with tortilla chips was good as well. Just be sure your fundido was fully melted; ours wasn’t, and after trying to cut it with a spoon, we asked if this was really what the texture was supposed to be. The manager soon came to our table with replacement fundido — smooth and, thank goodness, fully melted. The taste was divine, and I was more than willing to excuse the mistake.

We were full by this time, but our entrees soon came to the table: North American Sliders, served with your choice of Blackened Mahi Mahi, Grilled BBQ Chicken or BBQ Pulled Pork, served with fries (we got Grilled BBQ Chicken); and Baja Burrito — a flour tortilla with your choice of grilled chicken or beef with sauteed peppers, squash, red onions, chefs special cheeses and topped with sweet chipode BBQ sauce, served with cilantro rice and black beans.

Paradiso 37 Burrito

Paradiso 37 Burrito

Paradiso 37 BBQ Chicken Sliders entree

Paradiso 37 BBQ Chicken Sliders entree

French Fries

French Fries

Like I said, when you go to Paradiso 37, go for the appetizers/tapas and the drinks. The entrees were nothing special, and we weren’t all that impressed. Though everything tasted fine, we wished we’d spent the money and calories sampling a few more of those appetizers instead of choosing entrees. Live and learn!

Dessert was delicious, though. I knew I’d already posted photos of the mini-ice-cream-cones on my previous Paradiso 37 blog, so we decided to go for the churros, dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with caramel sauce; and Chilean sopapillas — crispy fritters dusted in sugar and served with chocolate sauce. Both were fantastic choices, and although the “fried-things-with-dipping-sauces” is a common dessert theme in Disney World right now, these impressed us more than other versions we tried on our trip. I’m also posting a photo of the restaurant’s signature dessert, which we didn’t order, but looks…hefty!

Paradiso 37 Churros and Sopapillas for dipping

Paradiso 37 Churros and Sopapillas for dipping

Paradiso 37 Signature Dessert

Paradiso 37 Signature Dessert

I highly recommend Paradiso 37 for drinks and appetizers, but unfortunately can’t recommend it so quite so highly for dinner entrees. That said, I hope you do get the chance to head over there for a fun evening on your next trip — enough of the appetizers and drinks are interesting and tasty enough to make it worth your while!

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18 Comments

  1. Tim Sampson says:

    Something to keep in mind for my trip that starts tonight! Thanks!!

  2. AJ says:

    Have a great trip, Tim!

  3. cv73 says:

    Agreement on appetizers vs. entrees – you’re spot on. However, went on a Saturday night and a duo was playing – incredibly hard to hear chatting.

    Also, try the frozen sangria – yum!

  4. AJ says:

    Thanks for the added info, cv73!

  5. Awesome! I have been wondering about this restaurant! Now I know I will have to go. This is part of the eBrands Family and I LOVE LOVE LOVE to dine at one of the other loactions here in Orlando…The Salsa Taqueria and Tequila Bar in the Florida Mall. The salsa and guacamole there is to die for.

  6. Chris says:

    That corn. Holy cow. That looks delicious.

  7. AJ says:

    Amanda — Thanks! Can’t wait to hear your review of this place.

    Chris — No kidding. That stuff was amazing. I almost ordered another plate right then and there.

  8. This place might keep me on property instead of heading over to Cafe TuTu Tango on I-Drive! I love tapas dining – especially since gastric bypass surgery! This place looks really nice – they were quite busy on my last visit down there, but we’ll have to make plans to head there next trip! Thanks for the great review!

  9. AJ says:

    My pleasure, Anna! So glad you can benefit from the review!

  10. Ro says:

    Very interesting. I have to say, when I tried to go for dinner during my recent trip, I was not in the least bit impressed with the place. They originally tried to shoehorn me in to a spot behind the swinging door to the kitchen and so close to a large table that if someone pushed their chair back, it would have bumped my table. I declined it as, IMHO, it was not even close to acceptable. I had made reservations, showed up early, and still ended up waiting for 15 minutes before losing patience. After watching other groups get seated ahead of me, I handed my buzzer back to the hostess and walked out. I mentioned to the hostess that I had reservations and had expected to be seated right away or close to it. She told me it wasn’t a reservation, but a Priority Seating.

  11. AJ says:

    Ro — This is such a good example of “circumstances” making all the difference. We went when the restaurant had just opened for the day, and we were the only people in the place for a while. These days, we try to make all of our restaurant reservations for “off times” so that we don’t experience what you had to go through. Unfortunately, a true test of a restaurant’s consistency is how they function when very busy, and maybe your experience is an indication that Paradiso hasn’t gotten into its groove in that regard, yet.

  12. Ro says:

    AJ – Very true. It was insanely busy that night (a Saturday at 7 p.m.). When you chose to dine can make a big difference on availability.

    However, at any other place – and especially at Disney – whenever I have made a reservation, I have never had to wait so long to be seated. No matter how busy it is. If a restaurant has a reservation/Priority Seating system in place, I guess I’ve gotten used to it working better than this, even outside of Disney. JMHO

  13. Helen Bos says:

    The food and atmoshpere was great – will return. My favorite was the spicy corn and burrito. Any remote chance the receipe is available?

  14. AJ says:

    Ro — I hear and agree with you. I get frustrated when I’m left waiting for a long time when I’ve made an ADR. If for no other reason than my time is usually pretty packed full at Disney World, and I hate to waste any of it. Time is money over there!

    Hi Helen!

    I’m not seeing any Paradiso 37 recipes floating about yet. Hopefully enough people will ask the chef for recipes that we’ll start seeing some online soon!

  15. Jimbo says:

    Paradiso 37 is VERY LOUD. The food is on par with Chilli’s but more expensive.

  16. AJ says:

    Thanks for your review, Jimbo!

  17. Robin B says:

    Does anyone have the recipe for the Tiki Tango drink that is served here?

  18. Wilsons says:

    The waste meal and the restaurant I have been too. We came for our 27 year together. We showed up on time the table they gave us was next to the rest rooms. The waiter Sean only came by to give us menus and then to take our order. The apps tasted old and the shrimp was water soaked and tasted very old. The Main meal came we both ordered them same steaks. My wife’s was rare and mine was well done we asked for mid steaks. The cost was 140 for the meal. Told them we were not happy food or serve they told us if we did not buy they would call the police?? Only wanted to tell the issues. I would not bring a DOG there to eat the food was that bad. Once back at hotel we both got sick from the little food we did eat.

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