Last year a new restaurant opened in downtown Easton in the space that was once home to the Easton Sweet Shop. This long-abandoned storefront was, to be quite honest, an eyesore for the downtown, so I was excited when Valenca on the Square filled that void... and in style.

This restaurant specializes in Portuguese cuisine which I must confess I am not very familiar with. Having heard good things about it from friends and colleagues, my boyfriend, Jeff, and I finally dined there on a recent Friday night.

We were promptly seated by the friendly hostess at a table along the long wall of windows overlooking Centre Square. (Valenca also has al fresco dining in the warm weather months for which I am anxious to go back.) The decor features beautiful wood work in a warm brown tone which made it very inviting if not a tad formal, though other diners were dressed as casually as we were.

I had heard that the paella (pictured) was their signature dish so I decided to give it a try. I love seafood, so this entree fit me like a glove. The saffron rice and vegetable mixture was chock full of scallops, shrimp, clams, mussels and even half a lobster tail with a claw. Eating the lobster was a bit messy despite the metal cracker and moist towelettes provided to me, but it was worth the extra trouble to free the tasty crustacean from its shell. The paella portion was so large and filling that I left with a hefty to-go container - two (or maybe three) meals for the price of one!

Overall the meal, the service and the dining environment were great and I hope to go back again soon. Then again I'm told that Valenca also has a wine cellar dining room in the basement for up to 30 people who want an intimate dinner for a special occasion. And I DO have a birthday coming up next month...