A close friend called us with a lunch invitation. “Meet me at my house, and we’ll drive together to the restaurant,” he said. “Where are we going?” we asked. “A place in Cascais that is worth getting to know,” our friend answered. That is how, on a warm winter Saturday, we visited a small village near Cascais called Areia.
The restaurant occupies the first floor of a spacious house. It is managed by a charming young Iberian couple, Vera Rente from Portugal and Javier Marquez from Spain. They met in Barcelona, where Javier apprenticed as a chef.
Vera told us that when she brought Javier to visit Sintra, he started dreaming about having a restaurant in this region. In late 2019 they opened Casa da Volta.
Our meal started with an elegant “Ajo Blanco,” a white gazpacho made with almonds that came with green grapes and delicate shrimp from the coast of the Algarve. Large slices of rustic bread allowed us to scoop up every ounce of the delicious soup.
Soon we were tasting another delight: lightly grilled slices of a fish called Sarda dressed with a green piriñaca sauce that perfectly harmonized with the fish.
The service, orchestrated by Vera, is seamless. Much thought and care go into crafting every detail of the dining experience.
Our culinary journey continued with brioche and shrimp served in American sauce. It is lovely to see this traditional sauce, invented by the French chef Pierre Fraysse em 1860, come back into use.
We were trying to elect our favorite dish when the choice became harder with the arrival of a majestic blue lobster cooked with mushrooms and spinach.
And there were more marvels: a perfectly cooked mullet, so fresh we could taste the sea. And then hearty slices of deer paired with parsnip.
The meal ended on a sweet note with a warm almond cake with a soft inside and a crumble made from banana and passion fruit.
We asked Javier how they endured the Covid period. “We were lucky because we could cook with amazing produce and live in this region that is paradise,” he replied. That sentiment sums up what Casa da Volta is: a place where a young couple is cooking the food of paradise.
Casa da Volta is located at Rua São José, Areia, Cascais, Click here for their website.