READERS' PICK: This little Eden in the university bottleneck between Euclid and Park avenues wins the prize for comfortable outdoor seating, hands down. Shaded half by pine trees and half by sedate green canvas umbrellas, an L-shaped patio wraps around this remodeled old house. More than a dozen tables sing their silent siren's song to the steady flow of students, professionals, cyclists, shoppers and neighborhood residents, who can't resist congregating here throughout the day to bask in the warmth of sun and society. Solo drink orders are most efficiently handled at the counter, but if you visit this Italian paradise to partake of their delicious homemade soups, sandwiches, salads or desserts, seat yourself comfortably and the waitstaff will take good care of you. Paraiso is the perfect place to read a book, write a book, discuss a book, or just enjoy the view. The newly revamped Geronimoz Plaza courtyard further augments the outdoor options here, with a lovely flagstone patio, softening patches of lush green lawn, and willowy desert acacia.
READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: The Cup Café, 308 E. Tenth St. (in Hotel Congress). If you like to witness day's end, you can't ask for a better seat than on Cup Café's patio. A tiny, fenced area provides the setting for an intimate dinner that is punctuated by a glorious sunset, if you are there at the right time. You'll have to check the paper for time of sunset as it changes from day to day; we can't do everything for you. It can be a true western experience; while Patsy Cline plays in the background, the train rolls into the station, and the sun gives up its daytime reign in fiery protest. Putting all this in the background, you will experience downtown's collection of diverse people cruising to their random destinations. A great place for contemplation, observation and conversation, the Cup's patio truly is one of the best of Tucson!
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