Since he opened Café Paradiso in 1993, County Cork-born chef Denis Cotter has been on a mission to attract omnivorous diners by doing away with what he calls the “penitential” reputation of meat-free cooking. In an intimate, gray-walled dining room, local vegetables and cheeses play a central role in dishes such as roasted beetroot, watercress, and blood orange with sheep’s milk cheese, and braised turnip galette of chestnut and Portobello. Among Café Paradiso’s fans: chef Amanda Cohen of New York City’s pioneering, plant-based Dirt Candy.
By Jenn Flowers, AFAR Staff
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One of Cork’s most enduringly popular restaurants is chef Denis Cotter’s vegetarian Café Paradiso on Lancaster Quay. Leave any preconceptions about meatless food being tasteless at the door. Cotter cherry-picks influences from all over the globe and his dishes are vibrant with flavor, as in menu selections such as feta and pistachio couscous or parsnip tortellini in gingered butter.