Surf and turf in Rosemary Beach
Courtesy of Restaurant Paradis / Tommy Crow Studios
Cast-iron filet seared in duck fat and served with lobster tail tempura.
If you frequent Rosemary Beach, you’re likely well aware of Restaurant Paradis, the premier fine dining venue that has been a local favorite since 2009. Co-owned by husband and wife team Danny and Monica Cosenzi, Paradis serves surf-and-turf like you’ve never had it before.
The couple, originally from “up north,” was drawn by the allure of coastal culture and cuisine and vacationed in the area for some 16 years. Danny Cosenzi, who has run restaurants for over 30 years, says the establishment of Paradis was as simple as taking a chance on an opportunity that presented itself. That opportunity led the Cosenzis to establish permanent residency on the Emerald Coast so they could run a four-star restaurant.
It’s not difficult to see how Paradis earned its esteemed rating in overall quality. Cosenzi explains that Chef Mark Eichin gives 110 percent when it comes to the restaurant’s menu, which fluctuates seasonally. Eichin’s talents are also featured at Cosenzi’s newest restaurant in Panama City Beach, Back Beach Barbecue. Eichin has been with the Cosenzis since the advent of Paradis, where, along with Sous Chef William Weihl and Chef de Cuisine Simon Sullivan, he constructs gourmet dishes in accordance with the freshest catches and produce.
“We try to use local farmers as much as possible,” Cosenzi says. “We’re using all the coastal seafood that comes in, like snapper and grouper. And we’ve got great steaks and chops.”
Among those “great steaks and chops” is the cast iron filet, a delectable cut of meat seared in duck fat that customers refuse to let Paradis take off the menu. Other favorites tend to be the bone marrow encrusted ribeye and the tomahawk pork chop.
As far as atmosphere goes, Paradis offers a variety of options to suit your fancy. Customers are free to take advantage of the restaurant’s full patio seating — a place to enjoy the night air while maintaining a secluded, private dining experience. Just inside is the dining room, embellished with chandeliers and art. Alternatively, there’s the Paradis Lounge, featuring cozy cubbies and bar seating. Cosenzi likes to think of it as a more “family style” ambience for the usual patrons.
“Our bartenders know everybody who walks through the door. We definitely have a cast of regulars who are with us year round, even beyond busy season, which is just amazing,” he says.
New patrons can ask the talented bartenders for recommendations, perhaps one of Paradis’ signature martinis.
Cosenzi stresses that they are a staff-driven restaurant. “We owe it to our manager, Sara Reese, and the rest,” he says. “The pride they take in their work and what they’ve done to allow my wife and I to have this opportunity … All I can say is, we’re truly blessed to have them.”
That passion and dedication translates into the flavor of each dish, where one bite is a transportation to paradise.