Slap-bang in the middle of York’s gastronomic epicentre, this scruffy-looking Italian takeaway-cum-café can seem like a bit of a black sheep. However, looks deceive, since the shabby exterior belies the terrific food on offer at Il Paradiso. Pizzas and pastas such as pumpkin tortelloni with porcini sauce or swordfish triangoli with black olive and caper sauce are expertly made on site, but it’s also worth enquiring about the ever-changing specials menu featuring traditional meat dishes, which the proprietor will happily talk guests through in his thick regional accent. Drinks-wise, Italy rules in the shape of Lavazza coffee, Pago fruit juices, Peroni beer and house vino. The interior might suggest an easy-going backstreet eatery in Naples, although Il Paradiso’s reputation has spread across the city like wildfire and it’s become notoriously difficult to get a table.