With more than two decades of experience managing Latin bars in Tokyo, owners Stewart Bailey and Masa Tanaka decided to create a venue people could call their own “Latin Paradise,” giving Paraiso its name.
Two world-renowned Peruvian chefs—“Lucho & Lucho”—are the stars of Paraiso’s kitchen, and the menu that the duo has put together satisfies both die-hard Latin food lovers as well as the more temperate taste buds of those not accustomed to the traditional spices and ingredients of Latin American food.
You can find many of the standard dishes you would expect on a Latin style menu, such as chicken quesadillas, beef and chicken tacos, and burritos. But perhaps the most impressive entrées that set this Latin spot apart from the rest are the homemade recipes that Peruvian cuisine is known for, such as Lomo Soltado (beef stir fry with vegetables, fried potato slices and rice), Anticuchos (grilled skewered meat), and arguably the best Peruvian ceviche you will find in Japan. Portions are generous, and intended to be shared!
Complementing the varied culinary offerings are a wide variety of cocktails, with the most popular being the Pisco Sour—Peru’s national cocktail. The bartenders blend this drink up with grape brandy, lime, sugar, egg whites, and Angostura bitters, topping it off with a hit of cinnamon. They also offer 20 different types of frozen mojitos, as well as a full array of standard cocktails.
Paraiso is located just a short walk from Roppongi Station, on a side street off Gaien Higashi Dori. After heading down a flight of stairs and walking into the venue, which was newly opened in 2012, we were greeted with a warm smile and a “buenas noches” (good evening) at the reception desk. Heading inside, we could hear the salsa music and feel the upbeat energy from the bartenders, the friendly serving staff and the dancers practicing their steps on the dance floor. An eye-catching chandelier, made from wine glasses and illuminated by color-changing LEDs, is the centerpiece of the bar.
The venue is split into two sections: a “tropical island–themed” dining space on one side, and a Latin “city-style” dance floor area on the other, with the big round bar serving as a partition. The dance floor fills up with dancers as the night goes on, and works as the perfect place to practice those Latin moves, whether you are a beginner or a professional dancer. Paraiso offers daily salsa dance classes with experienced Latin instructors, and gives you a chance to try out your new moves. A different live salsa band also hits the stage every Sunday night. They also host events such as guest DJs or live dance performances throughout the month.
For large groups or private parties, Paraiso offers a customizable menu or a reasonably priced nomihodai (all-you-can-drink) and tabehodai (all-you-can-eat) set menu. You should also consider Paraiso to be a go-to spot to host a birthday party, a year-end office party, or even a wedding party.
After we finished our food and drinks, we decided to head to the dance floor to enjoy the beats of Paraiso’s in-house DJ, Peruvian/Japanese DJ Ricardo, who kept the music going all night long, running the gamut from salsa and bachata to merengue and reggaeton. The music and energy on the dance floor made us feel like we were worlds away from Japan, tucked in a lively corner of South America, and we had to remind ourselves that there was that last train to catch.
So if you’re in the mood for some good Latin hospitality or a place to dance until dawn—or both!—Paraiso is a hotspot you should put on your restaurant to-do list.
And stay tuned to the Tokyo Weekender Events Calendar for listings of events at Paraiso.