Ristorante Paradiso is a delightfully charming slice-of-life anime about family, love, and a quirky restaurant in Rome. Ristorante Paradiso shows us that there are many types of love, whether familial, romantic or even with careers. This aspect is not directly pushed down our throat at every turn, we just begin to see it as we learn the characters and as our main character, Nicoletta, learns it as well.
When Nicoletta was a little girl her Mother, Olga, left her with her grandparents in order to move to Rome and marry a man that Nicoletta had never met. When Nicoletta grew up she decided she was going to Rome and confront her mother. She finds out that her Mother is married to the owner of a restaurant. When Nicoletta walks in the door she is confronted with something she has never experienced, a restaurant staffed by nothing but older men with glasses. These men turn out to be very charming to boot. Nicoletta becomes charmed by them as well and ends up finding a life in Rome that she had not expected.
Ristorante Paradiso is based on the manga of the same name by Natsume Ono, also known for “House of Five Leaves”. Although the entire series only spans 11 episodes it seems so much longer in story content. You really get to know the charcters that are involved in the story. We even have plenty of time to get back story of the restaurant and the workers who are there. At the same time, the pace still feels laid back and gentle, much like the men who work at the restaurant, Casetta dell’Orso. By the end of the eleven episodes, you feel as if you have been told a great story and really have no complaints about anything being left out.
Being set in Rome, there is an expectation of what the backgrounds and settings should look like. The anime was done so well. And it should be noted that there are not really a bunch of famous landmarks portrayed in the show. It is mainly what people who live there would expect to see; the back streets, farmers markets, shops, and homes. Yet the ambiance of romantic Rome is still present throughout the series.
Ristorante Paradiso is released by Right Stuff’s Lucky Penny entertainment. Included along with the eleven episodes are several special features; clean opening and ending, TV commercials, Ristorante Paradiso NOISE trailers, backgrounds gallery, Rome scenery gallery, “A guide to Rome”, liner notes, and the orginal US trailer.