Ristorante Paradiso Episode #05 (of 12) (Mania.com)

By:G.B. Smith
Review Date: Thursday, May 14, 2009
Release Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2009

And so it's on to the next stage of our multiple course meal at Ristorante Casetta dell'orso.

What They Say

Italy, Rome. When she was a child, Nicoletta was taken in by her grandmother so that her mother could remarry. Now grown up, she leaves everything in the countryside behind to visit her mother and her mother's second husband, a restaurant owner. To her surprise, her stepfather did not know his wife had a daughter!

A ristorante she had previously visited, Casetta dell'orso is hosted by a cast of dreamy, cool gentlemen who all happen to wear glasses. This curious restaurant's staff include cameriere (waiters) Claudio, Luciano, and Vito, GiGi the sommelier, and chefs Furio and Teo. Because women find the staff so enchanting, business is bustling and reservations are extremely hard to come by at this little Roman treasure.

Amongst all this, Nicoletta decides, on a whim, to work at the ristorante. Gradually, she begins to become interested in one of the gentlemen...

Delicious food and dreamy gentlemen await at the ristorante, Casetta dell'orso. For everyone who works there, a tender connection to the hearts of each visitor is spun, and the curtain raises on a story about these first-rate Italian gentlemen in spectacles.

The Review!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

Episode 5: The Flavor of Orsini

 

We open with Gigi visiting a cemetery. A woman is also there visiting a different grave. She asks Gigi his name, mentioning that she has seen him there very often (her own father is buried there). Gigi, of course, says nothing, as is his nature. But we get a close up of a grave (of someone named Orsini who died in 1981) and a close up of the label of a bottle of wine that Gigi has with him, a 1982 Orsini wine.

Coming back to the restaurant, Nicoletta sees her mother Olga all aflutter over a VIP customer, Senator Fassone. Apparently, the senator is a mature gentleman who wears glasses. Who didn't see that one coming? While Olga is busy peeking at the senator, Nicoletta is asked by the chef to take a plate of food to the owner, Lorenzo, who is sitting in the back room. As she is about to pick up the bottle of wine sitting on the table next to Lorenzo, seeing his empty glass, Gigi appears from nowhere, picks up the bottle and refills the owner's glass without a word. Later, when Nicoletta comes back to pick up the empty plate, she sees Gigi again filling Lorenzo's glass. Responding to her questioning gaze, Lorenzo says that Gigi knows the pace at which he drinks. When Nicoletta mentions that the two have known each other for a long time, Lorenzo notes that Gigi's been there since the start, and that they are brothers.

Brothers?

Yes, apparently Gig and Lorenzo are brothers, half-brothers, and we now know their last name, Orsini. I will not get into the strange mechanics of how they are related. They share the same last name, but that's not because they have the same father. And that is what causes all of the complications. Suffice it to say that we learn quite a lot about Lorenzo and Gigi from this outing. And we also learn that Gigi is extremely observant. Observant enough to correctly guess at the secret that Nicoletta has been hiding this whole time.

In Summary:

While at first setting itself up as a tale of Nicoletta, a young girl in the big city with all of the adventure implied in that premise, Ristorante Paradiso has instead been a series of character studies, as we learn about the pasts and present of a group of people who have through various circumstance come to work at a very peculiar restaurant in Rome. This time, we learn far more about Lorenzo and Gigi, who are half-brothers, and the way that family ties can both bind and separate people. Those who are expecting high drama and fast paced action, this show is not for you. It is instead best for someone looking to sit down with a glass of fine wine and follow the lives of everyday people going about their everyday lives, with the occasional tale of their past, which may not be so ordinary.

Features:

Japanese 2.0 Language; English subtitles.

Review Equipment:

Apple Mac Mini with 1GB RAM, Mac OS 10.5 Leopard.



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Crunchyroll
Running time: 25
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Ristorante Paradiso