A tasty and very filling big breakfast at Paradiso Espresso Bar
Breakfast is one of my favourite meals to eat out, and I always enjoy finding somewhere new that has gluten free options to try out. Most recently I found Paradiso Espresso Bar, an unassuming place tucked away up the escalator in an arcade off Military Road in Neutral Bay. Paradiso specialises in Italian food and truly great coffee, and is open for breakfast and lunch.
The wall of fame for their award winning coffee
It might not look pretty but the omelette was nice and came with gluten free toast
I found this place quite by accident, as it's hard to see that it's there from the outside. Yet once you do find it, it's surprising how quiet it is for a place on busy Military Road. The restaurant faces away from the road, with an expansive outdoor area that overlooks the nearby Woolworths and some pretty green surrounds. There is plenty of outside seating, so I made a beeline for a nice sunny spot. However, I ended up having to move inside when some friends of the people who were working that morning took a seat behind me and lit up a cigarette. Someone else's cigarette smoke is not something I enjoy when I'm having a meal, and given they were friends with the staff it was obvious they were not going to be told to stop (looking at other reviews online, it seems evident that the restaurant considers this outdoor area to be a smoking area, despite there being no ashtrays or signs to tell patrons so).
The outdoor area offers a lovely view and more seating than inside, but is a smoking area
After moving inside, things were on the up. The staff were very pleasant and accommodating, and they clearly take great pride in their coffee, which is top notch. I ordered the Three Egg Omelet with Fetta, Tomato and Mushrooms, and asked for it to come with gluten free toast and no onion. The omelet came exactly as ordered, and although it was a little low on fetta for my tastes, it was delicious and very filling. My husband who was with me ordered the Big Breakfast, which included eggs, bacon, spinach, a potato rosti and Turkish toast, which was more than he could end up eating, but not obscenely big either. He was also such a fan of their coffee that he ordered a second one to take away with us.
Inside is impeccably clean
As it was a late breakfast we were enjoying, I managed to spy a few lunch orders as they went by me. If Paradiso's burgers and fries taste anything like they look, they must be delicious, and the same goes for their smoothies and milkshakes. If I had spotted these before ordering, I might have been tempted to skip breakfast and go straight for lunch.
Do not go without trying the coffee
At Paradiso the service was lovely, the food was cooked well, and the outlook is such a pretty one on a sunny morning. I can understand why it's popular with locals who have managed to stumble across it, but I do wish that the outdoor areas were designated non-smoking. It seems a shame when there is far more seating outside than in, and most people I know – smokers included – would rather not have lit cigarettes near their food. For someone with allergies this makes me a little less eager to go again, which I'd really like to do.
Not an easy to find place, but worth a visit
Where: 4/202-212 Military Road, Neutral Bay, 2089.
Cost: You can expect to pay between $10-$20 for a breakfast or lunch meal, plus extra for drinks.
When: Breakfast and lunch seven days a week.
Good for kids: I would be reluctant to take kids if you don't like them being around a smoking area.
Take away: Coffee.