Laughing Place Lotion: Paradise 37 Opens at Pleasure Island - Review and Pictures (Laughing Place Lotion)

LP Lotion: Paradise 37 Opens at Pleasure Island - Review and Pictures
Page 1 of 8

Posted June 11, 2009

After months of anticipation, Paradiso 37 opened on Pleasure Island.  The restaurant is a much-needed breath of fresh air for an area that has been mostly dormant since the clubs closed down.

I’ve been photographing Paradiso 37 since construction work began, back when the sign outside said “Street Foods of the Americas”.  There was speculation on whether the restaurant was going to be table service or counter service - it is a full table service restaurant, and includes 3 bars.  Two of the bars are inside, including a tequila bar.  The other bar is outside on the patio, an area that includes tables for diners.

I visited on opening day for an early dinner.  I’ve read that the prices were inexpensive, but  I’d say it’s at least in the moderate category.  The all-day menu has a price point that resembles table service dining for lunch in the parks and at other restaurants on Disney property.

I ordered the Mexican Chips and Salsa ($3.99), Tres Tacos ($11.99) and Paradiso 37 Sundae ($7.99).  My appetizer and entree were on the less expensive side as far as the menu goes, and the sundae was recommended to me by the waiter.  I ordered water to drink, and my meal was $30.00 with tax and tip.

The chips were served in a bag on a plate alongside a small cup of salsa.  The salsa was probably the best I’ve ever had -  thick, mildly spicy and bursting with flavor.  I was told that the tomatoes were fire roasted and that the process for making the salsa took 2-3 days.   My salsa was gone well before the chips.  My water was even impressive, served in an elegant bubble glass with a lemon.

I had a choice of meats for my 3 tacos, and I chose two steak and 1 chicken.   These mini-tacos do not have sauce, and the meat is lightly sprinkled with diced tomatoes and onions.  On the platter was cilantro rice, black beans, coleslaw and carrots.   The grilled chicken was a little dry for me, but the steak was moist and delicious.  My favorite part of the entree was the rice, the cilantro gave it a great flavor.   The coleslaw was pretty standard, and I don’t eat black beans (but did give them a quick try).

I was actually too full for dessert, but wanted to try something from the menu.   My waiter Roberto suggested the Paradiso 37 sundae.  The sundae consists of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream (I substituted another vanilla scoop for the strawberry) topped with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and a cherry along with 2 chocolate dipped bananas.  The bananas were frozen and served on sticks, quite a treat in themselves.  The sundae comes in a half-coconut shell on a stand that is over what looks to be dry ice.   I’d recommend this as a 2-person dessert, it is quite large!

The restaurant itself was still in the midst of minor work when I arrived, mostly artwork being hung.  The towering tequila bar makes quite a striking centerpiece to the main dining room and the chandelier upon entering is unique.  However, my personal favorite part of the decor was on the bar upstairs.   What looks like stained glass is actually melted wine bottles made for the restaurant.  I spoke with the owner, Rashid Choufani.  He is CEO and Chairman of E-Brands Restaurants, which owns Restaurant Marrakesh and Tangierine CafÈ in the Moroccan pavilion at Epcot as well as local restaurants such as the Samba Room and Timpano.   He had an interest on opening day about every area of the restaurant, from making sure that guests understood the menu to checking that every detail of the decor was just right.  Orlando Magazine recently named Choufani to it’s Restaurant Hall of Fame, and it’s easy to see why.  He cares about the experience and the food down to the minute details.

Paradiso 37 is a welcome addition to Pleasure Island.  The restaurant hours are Sunday -Wednesday, 11:30am - 12am, and Thursday-Saturday from 11:30am - 1:00am.  Live entertainment is provided from 6:00pm - 11:30pm Sunday-Thursday and 6:00pm - 12:30am on Friday and Saturday.


Click below to view the video clip.

Click here to see embed code

Paradiso 37 is now open for business on Pleasure Island.
Click here for a larger version of this picture (1024 X 768, 313,357 bytes)

The sign on the building.
Click here for a larger version of this picture (1024 X 768, 234,892 bytes)

The side patio.
Click here for a larger version of this picture (1024 X 768, 294,267 bytes)

A sign outside listing many of the menu items.
Click here for a larger version of this picture (1024 X 768, 248,258 bytes)

Click here for a larger version of this picture (563 X 750, 126,270 bytes)