30 Scoops in 30 Days: Paradis (Day 21)

Paradis: Gelato with Sprinkles

Paradis had already made inroads in Montrose, when the shop opened a new outpost in April on the Hollywood/Los Feliz border. These are, so far, the only two, U.S. franchises of a popular Danish gelato chain with over 30 shops in its native land.

Food, Restaurant, Restaurants, Dining, Cuisine, Eating, Los Angeles, LA, L.A.

Let's state right up front that we have no idea how authentic "Danish-style" gelato or ice cream is meant to taste. The last time we were in Copenhagen, about four years ago, all we wanted was authentic Danish food, but our gracious host was excited to treat us to one of the city's hottest new restaurants, an exciting adventure, a taste they were sure we'd never tried before: a Vietnamese restaurant. As we slurped out tasty pho, we didn't have the heart to explain that we live a freeway's drive from a vast expat Vietnamese community and have access to probably the broadest and deepest array of Vietnamese cuisine anywhere in the world, outside of Vietnam itself.

Paradis: Gelato with Sprinkles

We're not totally sure whether the stuff Paradis serves is gelato or ice cream, though we lean toward the former. It has a smoother texture than ice cream but an icy mouthfeel that verges more toward sorbet. We do know that many of Paradis' flavors taste... underflavored and almost watery, as if all the gelato had been passed through a purification filter.

This works exceptionally well for a few flavors, especially fruit sorbets. We've never had elderflower sorbet like the one at Paradis: delicate, fruity and floral with no hint of grandma's hand lotion. The strawberry sorbet is also a winner. For other flavors, it's a drag. Many of them just taste bland and oversweetened, like stracciatella, caramel fig and pretty much anything with chocolate.

The shop itself is bright, minimal and modern with whimsical touches, sort of like a kid's showroom at Ikea. But with so many knockout gelato places in the vicinity (Gelato Bar on Hillhurst; Pazzo on Sunset), Paradis, which would probably be a standout in any town without LA's breakneck pace of culinary innovation, feels mundane. Paradis or paradise lost?


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