When you combine a stunning Algarve setting with authentic Italian cuisine and a large selection of national and international wines, you can expect a truly memorable dining experience.
We arrived early in the evening and were greeted by sommelier Miguel Martins who gave us the choice of sitting indoors or outdoors. With the hot weather outside, the air-conditioned indoor dining area was certainly inviting, flaunting a modern, stylish décor in tones of beige and grey, flooded with natural light, an impressive wine wall display and an equally impressive showcase of fresh oysters on ice!
However, we were not going to miss out on one of the Algarve’s most spectacular sunsets, so we decided to brave the heat and sit outside on the very private terrace with just four tables, while waiting for the cooler evening breeze to arrive. And it was definitely worth it …
As we took in the breathtaking views from the fourth floor over the immaculate gardens featuring a musical water fountain and the ocean and cliffs in the distance, Miguel served us a refreshing mimosa and, to tease our taste buds, some garlic pizza bread sprinkled with rock salt and a drizzle of olive oil.
The philosophy behind the Paper Moon international chain of restaurants is simple – to “serve good value, top-quality Italian cuisine in a casual environment”.
As Miguel explained, Vino by Paper Moon is a new concept combining authentic Italian and Mediterranean flavours with a carefully selected list of wines for diners to share and enjoy with family and friends.
The wines take centre stage, and wine lovers are in for a treat. “We take great care when choosing the wines that are paired with the dishes prepared by our Neapolitan chef Ciro (Piedimonte),” said Miguel, adding that the chef is very meticulous with the choice of ingredients to ensure the perfect combination of food and wine.
Chef Ciro uses seasonal products that only a Mediterranean region bathed by the Atlantic Ocean can provide, combined with international flavours that enhance the whole experience. “We offer an exquisite wining and dining experience,” emphasised the sommelier.
Each dish is carefully paired with a wine selected by the sommelier, like the world-famous New Zealand Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2022 which accompanied the delicious Selezioni di Tartare and which set the tone for the rest of the meal. The tuna tartare stood out from the wild sea bass and amberjack, and we could only describe it as a ‘flavour explosion from the sea’ in the mouth.
The fish was followed by a beautifully-plated dish consisting of a Mondeghili veal meatball served with tartar sauce, crispy polenta with summer porcini mushroom and aromatic herbs, and roasted asparagus with smoked bacon, all perfectly paired with a 2019 Prazo de Roriz Red from the Douro Valley’s Symington family. This fresh and fruity wine made from the grapes Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca and Tinta Francisca was smooth and elegant, and just ideal to sip while watching the sun set over the cliffs on the west coast.
Next on the menu was a mouth-watering meat dish of flamed beef striploin with cherry tomatoes, fresh baby gem lettuce and Porto wine sauce. The wine accompanying this dish was a superb 2019 Quinta das Mestras Reserva Red from the Dão. Aged for 12 months in French oak barrels, this limited-edition wine is produced from the grapes Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro and Aragonês, revealing fruity and delicate aromas.
To round off a perfect meal, we were served a Meringata, a pistachio and orange candied meringue cake served with a creamy vanilla sauce. Delicious!
The Vino by Paper Moon experience was excellent, thanks to a first-class service from the attentive staff, and especially Miguel for his guidance on the wines served.
Dishes start at €14, and wine by the glass starts at €10. The menu changes according to the season, and the chef’s daily specials are not to be missed. Vegetarian options are also available.
Booking is highly recommended: 289 372 371
W Algarve is located at Estrada da Galé, Albufeira. Vino by Paper Moon is open from Thursday to Monday, from 6pm to 11pm. Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Restaurant Review by INÊS LOPES