Ristorante Paradiso

Genre(s): Josei, Romance, Drama, Slice of Life, Food

Age-Appropriateness: 13+ (Adult themes, occasional language)

Platforms: Crunchyroll

Episodes: 11

TheAwersome Rating: 6.9 / 10 (A thirsty soap that calms down quickly)

Premise: When Nicoletta was a little girl, her mother, Olga, abandoned her and ran off to Rome to remarry. Now, 15 years later and a young woman, she travels to Rome with the intention of ruining her mother’s life. She tracks Olga down to a restaurant called Casetta dell’Orso, but the second Nicoletta steps through its door, everything changes. It’s a peculiar place staffed entirely by mature gentlemen wearing spectacles, and like their clientele, she is helpless against their wise smiles and warm voices. Before Nicoletta realizes it, her plans for vengeance start to fade, and she’s swept up in the sweet romance of everyday Italian life.

TheAwersome’s Thoughts: I thought this was going to be a food anime and it most assuredly was not, despite taking place in a restaurant. There really isn’t much to laud about this piece. Animation is very minimal and simplistic, background, art, cinematography are all very bare bones, and there isn’t much depth to the characters; I never found myself getting invested. There also wasn’t anything “bad” about it that made me say “Ugh, this is stupid,” other than how thirsty Nicoletta is, land sakes.

It’s somewhat of a harem anime, though Nicoletta singles in on her target pretty early on. The first few episodes are the most ridiculous that make you say “Girl, go take a cold shower, goodness sakes,” but the harem itself is quite nice. Middle-aged to older Italian men all in glasses are pretty easy on the eyes and ears.

TLDR: A Josei harem romance that feels like a soap opera.

The general takeaway vibe I was left with was it felt somewhat like the hour or so of gossip you’ll swap with the staff of your favorite small restaurant of which you’re a regular. You’re interested, because gossip, but not really invested, and as such you’re kind of relaxed and taking it easy.

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