Normally, I would say that I fell in love with Paco Ciao the second I walked in. However, my first impression was one of confusion. I was inside a piano room covered in plants, wondering if I had opened the wrong door. Busy with photographing this tiny jungle, an older couple made me realize how to get inside Paco Ciao. Walking through an antique wardrobe leads you to this magical restaurant in Leiden. Like something out of Narnia, it was an unforgettable introduction.

Furthermore, what followed was equally stunning. An interior straight out of my dreams that was all about high ceilings and antique furniture, with a bohemian twist. Upon entering Paco Ciao, you’re greeted by a marvelous staircase lit up by lanterns. I immediately knew I was somewhere special. After all, the first impression was such a cinematic one.

paco ciao restaurant cozy interior

My visit to Leiden was short and included lots of walking in the cold wind. So I was glad to have escaped the chill and settle in at Paco Ciao. It felt like walking into someone’s old house, filled with eccentric finds from travels and flea markets. And if I’m being honest, that’s my dream interior. One that reflects both my love of antique finds and my eternal wanderlust. So naturally, Paco Ciao felt like my second home. If I ever opened a café, this is the exact vibe I would go for.

The interior feels like the perfect combination of grand vintage elements and warm and inviting aspects. Vintage furniture and antique parasols coupled with enormous lush plants and bright airy spaces. From boho chic to old-world elegance, it works together perfectly. You can tell a lot of thought went into this place. In short, having a meal here is a genuine experience!

However, this gorgeous restaurant doesn’t limit itself to one floor. Don’t forget to climb the stairs and discover more dreamy interiors. Grand old fireplaces or walls covered in books, you name it. You can even sit next to an enormous four-poster bed. Honestly, I absolutely adore the concept!

beautiful vintage interior at paco ciao restaurant

Be that as it may, here am I going on about a restaurant and not even mentioning the food! As amazing as the interior is, the food scene is equally great. With an all-day breakfast menu, lunch dishes, and creative diner food, there’s something for everyone. Lastly, their cocktails are a delicious way to end a meal. While I was enjoying my lunch, the waitress kindly offered me a sample of one of their strawberry mocktails. It was so good that I was tempted to order one, had I not had a train to catch!

paco ciao restaurant interior

In a way, eating here feels like being invited into a secret society. Who would ever guess all of this is hiding behind that little introduction room? It’s one of those places that are impossible to forget and that you’ll want everyone to discover for themselves. And best of all, its location is perfect, being unbelievably close to the train station.

One of the interior highlights is the winter garden. Resembling a greenhouse veranda, it was the perfect spot on that cold but sunny April day. But in general, I couldn’t stop taking photos of everything while there! With such original decoration and each corner being so unique, I challenge you not to do the same. I mean, you have books dangling off of the walls and painted glass in the same place. Anyone would be hard-pressed to find a restaurant this remarkable!

Unsurprisingly so, Paco Ciao is quite popular so expect the weekends to be busy. However, I visited on a Tuesday afternoon and once the lunch crowds cleared out, it felt like I had the whole place to myself. Considering the huge space, it also seems like a great place where you can work. Finding a quiet corner should be easier on the top floor.

All things considered, I never thought a closet door would lead me to any place, let alone a stunning restaurant. It was like Narnia in real life! As a matter of fact, Paco Ciao is one of my favorite cafés and restaurants I have ever visited. A true hidden gem in Leiden, I urge you to discover it for yourself. Personally, I know where I’m going next time I’m in Leiden. Heck, if I lived there, I would be a regular at Paco Ciao!

antique parasol at paco ciao restaurant
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