Food Review: A Pasta Paradiso

The Pasta Fix You’ve Been Waiting For

Photo Amanda Barnard

Nothing hits like a satisfying plate of pasta and, lately, I’ve been on the hunt for a new and delicious dish.

Thankfully, I just discovered a little gem in the heart of Westmount on Victoria Ave. called Paradiso. True to its name, it does not disappoint. 

Open from Tuesday to Saturday, Paradiso creates daily specials serving a different type of pasta every day. You can pick up a quick lunch to-go from 11:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.. Included is a fresh piece of bread (to soak up the extra sauce, obviously), and a drink of your choice. Some of their specials include: Mafalde bolognese, bucatini carbonara, and mac and cheese—they say it is everything you want KD to taste like. 

Paradiso is home to chefs Kira German and Will Weston, who opened the cantina in April. Both chefs began their careers at the Monkland Taverne and formed a friendship there. “We both loved pasta and bonded over that,'' said German. German went on to work at Nora Gray for four years, Weston, at Joe Beef’s Liverpool House as well as Elena, in Saint-Henri. 

“It was always our dream to open a restaurant, but as we grew into our careers and after the pandemic hit, we molded our original idea into what became a cantina,” said Weston. 

Both German and Weston enjoyed the idea of being able to stay creative with their daily specials menu. “We both wanted to create a space in which we could focus solely on the specialization of pasta,” German said “We also wanted to give people the opportunity to have restaurant quality fresh pasta at home.”

Tiny stuffed pasta makes me extremely happy! — Kira German

If you’re not feeling that day’s sauce, you can always replace it with butter and cheese or tomato sauce. German explained “having three options on the same noodle means that we get to be creative, while still having classic options for people. It also helps showcase the versatility of a noodle.”

And what do I love just as much as a steaming plate of pasta with a side of fresh bread and a chinotto soda? To make it at home with ingredients that are already prepped for me. Paradiso keeps stock of all of their sauces, pasta and everything in between, so you can go home and cook a tasty meal. It’s just like nonna’s pasta, except you made it yourself.

When asked which noodle each chef loved the most, Weston was quick to say he loves anything classic. German said that her noodle of choice is tortellini: “I love making [them]! Tiny stuffed pasta makes me extremely happy, and it's been very rewarding seeing an improvement of my speed and skill at making them in the time we've been open.”

Kira German’s sister, Lindsey German, also works at Paradiso in a front of house position. With a background in wine and hospitality, she is always full of energy. She said the restaurant has been constantly busy since its opening, and many locals have added Paradiso to their weekly grocery rotation. As for some of their weekly regulars, they come from an hour away just to be able to have that days’ special. 

Lindsey remarked that both types of clientele, those who come for the specials and those who come for their weekly groceries, are very much separated. “That’s why a cantina is perfect for this neighbourhood,” she said. “People can be very particular about what they like.”What takes the cake for Lindsey is that winning a customer proves that you have a quality product and people are easily loyal to you going forward. 

Weston explained how Paradiso’s name is derived from the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. Weston’s love for English literature and all things Italian doesn’t stop there. Next time you visit Paradiso, keep an eye out for the carefully placed decor: the stained glass, the confessional box, the pew, and the church-like mirrors behind the counter all make reference to Dante’s Inferno.  

Check out Paradiso’s weekly specials by dropping in for a visit or following them on Instagram .