Name of establishment
Paixa, Vale do Lobo
Cool, modern, and ‘discovered’ by the in-crowd. Owner João Lourenco has bought his superb Portuguese tapas food from the former Paixanito to a modern, hugely successful new location with a wider appeal and greater access for all.
Think beautiful people and you will get the general idea. Greeted by waiters in black and a champagne bar where you can sip Mumm and Pommery by the glass at €10.50 or Billecart Salmon Rosé for €19.50 per glass. They also have an excellent wine list with no less than 28 wines that you can order by the glass! From €3.50-€9.50.
The main restaurant is open-plan, so depending on your mood you can bar-prop, sit at a table or take the air in the small garden at the front.
What to eat?
The food is a take on tapas but with a Portuguese influence rather than Spanish. Be warned - the portions are quite large, and two will easily satisfy one person for a full meal. It’s a good place to go with a group and all share. We particularly love the xerem, the Portuguese twist on polenta which in this case comes with prawns and clams and is simply delicious. Also try the morcela with roasted apple. This black sausage will convert the most avid hater of black pudding! Soft, creamy and no lumps in sight! The fish cakes (pataniscas de bacalhau) are out of this world, and the list goes on: great pata negra, lovely charcuterie and an unusual couvert with homemade pumpkin jam. It is worth trying something you have never heard of to really understand that Paixa does traditional Portuguese food of the highest quality.
What to drink?
A huge wine cellar dominates the entrance, and as expected the wine list delivers on all elements. Paixa really does try to celebrate the best of everything Portuguese, so it is worth talking to the waiters about your wine choice. They are knowledgeable, won’t break the bank, and will introduce you to some wines not found on most wine lists. Even by the glass, the variety is great, so you could ask for a wine pairing throughout your meal and enjoy different wines from different regions.
This is the perfect place to have afternoon drinks as it’s open all day. It’s proved to be a fabulous summer venue, but even on an impending wintery day, this will be warm and cosy.
This is perhaps not the ideal place for very young children, as it has lots of glass and candles everywhere. The garden is small and a bit plain, but 8-12 year olds will probably find the large cushions on the grass fun to play with. Teenagers will love it as it is definitely ‘cool.’
The inspirational bit?
Whilst we loved the original in its old Portuguese house, Paixa scores on the cool stakes and gives us a great place in the heart of Vale do Lobo to meet, gossip and enjoy.
40/50 inside. A few tables outside for fine weather.
52 Quadradinhos, Vale do Lobo. In actual fact, this restaurant is just outside the main resort of Vale do Lobo. As you come to the main roundabout with the new water feature and the supermarket, instead of turning left to VDL turn right and go first left, left again and the restaurant is on the right.
Lunch for 2 with a glass of wine can easily come in under €50. However it is very easy to go slightly mad here and indulge once in a while. Go ahead. You’re worth it.
Lunchtimes and evenings every day (closed Sundays during the winter).