Long before the current crop of Italian newcomers started flooding our streets with pasta, there was Cafe Paradiso on Connecticut Avenue in Woodley Park. The neighborhood haunt has been around since 1989, back when some of the new chefs on the scene were still having their moms cut their spaghetti for them.
The decor is different than I would expect in a neighborhood Italian restaurant — sort of modern trendy, but with marked up walls. Ignore the decor. I ordered two appetizers as my meal – the mussels were good and very garlicky. The sauteed spinach needed the sun-dried tomatoes it came with or it would not have had enough flavor. The bread they brought to the table was suspiciously like store-bought sliced sourdough. My husband had their sausage rigatini, which he said was very good. The portions seemed a bit smaller than usual in an Italian restaurant, but they actually make more sense. (The prices don’t come down to match the sizes of the entrees.) We ordered chocolate mousse for dessert and it was excellent. However, they topped it with whipped cream from a spray can.
You agree or disagree with Tavi? Then let us know what you think!