My Story

My name is Paolo and I was born in Sardinia, Italy and came to England almost 23 years ago.Apart from some short periods of time spent in London, Leeds and Manchester, the majority of my time in England has been lived in York. My first job was as a waiter at Silvano’s restaurant, then at Caesar’s as head waiter for about a year where I learnt the basics for the restaurant trade. My outgoing personality and Italian charm made me a much sought after manager; so much so, that after a short while, I was offered a job at the new Silvano’s – a state of the art restaurant with around 20 staff and a capacity of 120 seats. Due to its immense popularity, we dealt with between 300 and 500 customers a day. This was a pretty big job for a young man of only 21 years of age.
My name and popularity only increased, and with the years to follow, I went on to manage a number of local restaurants – Little Italy, Mana Greek and Rish, being just three. Each one provided me with something very important for my future venture. I kept on moving from front of house to kitchen to develop a wider range of knowledge and I also went to catering college, studying to become a restaurant and hotel manager and whilst at the Blue Bicycle, studied as wine waiter. Occasionally, I would also work at top class restaurants in London for free in order to learn different styles and cultures other than Italian. It’s been a very hard journey over the years, focussed on capturing the essence that I believe makes my restaurant so likeable and special.

Paolo Silesu, proprietor of Il Paradiso del Cibo restaurant in Walmgate, York, with his alter ego portrait painted by York artist, Argentinian-born Andres Jaroslavsky

I dropped all the formalities often associated with top restaurants and found the right place (small, compact, but with a homely feel), where over 7 years I’ve transformed it from a deli-pizza bar, into a full restaurant for the past four years. I started almost on my own but I now work with 8 staff, all Italian compatriots, creating what I honestly believe to be the most authentic Italian eating experience, serving some of the best food you’ll ever taste in your lives. We serve a selection of classic Italian dishes following the original recipes, but also display a large specials board where you can choose some dishes created by myself and my team, using only seasonal ingredients (95% from Italy and the rest sourced locally by well-known organic producers). I personally suggest, recommend and explain, with the help of my staff all our dishes and accompaniments. Please don’t be offended if we refuse to serve Parmesan cheese when not needed, as you could probably ruin a perfect meal. All our fresh pastas are hand made and contain up to 9 Italian eggs per kilo, using the best quality Italian flours.

The dry pastas from the classic menu are De Cecco or Riscossa, probably the best pastas on the market. We take great pride in what we cook and serve; all our pastas are cooked to order just like any Italian would expect; al dente as we call it. The cooking times vary from 5 to 8 mins, and 12 to 15 for a good risotto, so if ever in doubt or pushed for time please tell your friendly waiter.
Please also note that some dishes like fish, well-done steaks and chicken may take up to 20 minutes based on how busy the restaurant is. We are very fortunate in that we are one of the most popular Italian restaurants in York, so we need to buy fresh produce (fish, vegetables, meat, etc) every day, thus ensuring the dishes we serve contain only the freshest ingredients available. We operate a two sittings per night system and one for the lunch trade. The times vary from 18.00 to 18.30 to be vacated for the late sittings from 20.00 through to 21.30. We always allow 2 hours for you to enjoy your meal with us. It goes without saying that delays do happen and not always because of us, but if this occurs, we’ll try and rectify the problem as soon as possible and be sure you are offered a free drink. We hope you enjoy the unique dining experience at Il Paradiso del Cibo serving authentic Italian food where you will be bid a very warm welcome and made to feel at home in a relaxed ambience with laughter, jokes and friendly banter aplenty, whilst never forgetting your needs. I sincerely hope you all enjoy your stay with us, and return many times for years to come.