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Mystery Diner: Monterey chicken sandwich highlight of Paradise Cove 220

YORKVILLE – Oh, the weather outside is about to be frightful – but this Mystery Diner got a taste of some tropical atmosphere before it gets too cold.

Paradise Cove 220 is a tropical themed restaurant and bar owned by Yorkville residents Irma Castellanos and Donna Wood, who also owned Captain’s Cove Bar and Grill in Ottawa. The restaurant, which opened at the end of November, occupies the former Capitano Deli and Sweets space at 220 S. Bridge St. in the city’s downtown area.

After Record Newspapers covered the restaurant’s eventual opening and I heard they were set to open not long after Thanksgiving, I knew I had to go for my next Mystery Diner adventure.

My guest and I both thought the atmosphere was nice walking in – we definitely were catching some relaxing and inviting vibes as we seated ourselves. Since it was so well-lit and brightly decorated in general, it also struck us as being family-friendly on top of having a lively bar atmosphere.

On that same note, the service at the location was fantastic and definitely helped set the tone of my guest’s and my whole dining experience. Not only was our server attentive and pleasant to begin with, but she also was quick to answer questions about allergens and other details about the menu.

For starters, we ordered the fried shrimp appetizer. My guest and I both thought the fried exterior had a good crunch while the shrimp itself was well-cooked and not at all rubbery.

The cocktail sauce that came with the shrimp was unlike any sauce I’ve had; it was almost a sweet yet slightly spicy combination of flavors. My guest agreed the sauce was sweet but not to the point of it being overwhelming.

I ordered the Monterey chicken sandwich, which was listed as a customer favorite of the restaurant in its menu. I can absolutely see why: This sandwich was a Midwesterner’s dream. It had a crispy battered fried chicken base, which was then covered by Monterey jack cheese and then two buns. My guest also tried some and they also agreed it was definitely a highlight of the experience.

My sandwich came with fries, and I can’t think of a better way to explain my delight about these fries than this:

For you 1990s kids out there, do you remember those potato smiley fries? Remember their golden brown crispy exterior with a delightful creamy potato filling? These fries reminded me fondly of those, and my guest agreed 100%.

My guest had the buffalo chicken grilled cheese as his main dish. They said it definitely lived up to the “cheese” part of the name – diners beware, this is a messy one to eat if you’re not careful – but the chicken was cooked well and the buffalo part of the sandwich wasn’t too spicy.

My guest also ordered sweet potato fries with their meal at a little extra cost, which they said were fine as well. They said the fries weren’t crunchy to crisps but weren’t too soft, either.

I have but one regret when it came to this dining experience: I wish my guest and I had the opportunity to try some of the tropical drinks that other customers have been raving about on social media ever since the location opened a few weeks ago. We both had to drive separate cars to run errands and go back home, so we wanted to be at least a little responsible about our beverage choices this time around, but it didn’t even occur to us until we got home that we probably could’ve asked for virgin versions of those alcoholic drinks.

I will also say that the food was enough to persuade me to come back with a little planning ahead to ensure we enjoy those drinks responsibly. And, with all of that said, I would definitely recommend Paradise Cove 220, both for the laid-back dining experience and delicious food.

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