Highlights from a Food-Filled Long Weekend in Madeira

Anona and passion fruit at Mercado dos Lavradores in Funchal, Madeira
Madeira may be a small island but it packs a large amount of flavor. Madeira is part of Portugal so the flavors are influenced by this heritage: think great seafood, wine, and more at great prices. Here are some culinary highlights from our long weekend break in Madeira.

Al Fresco Menu of the Day in Funchal

Pedestrian street lined with cafes in Funchal, Madeira
Small cafes line the streets of Funchal and are a great and economical way to get a bite for lunch. Sit outside and enjoy the island sun while noshing on a menu of the day for less than 10 EUR per person. We tried a thin steak seasoned with garlic on bolo do caco (Madeiran bread cooked on a flat basalt stone slab). My husband tried a fish fillet seasoned with tomatoes and served with potatoes and greens.
Steak on bolo do caco in Madeira
Fish platter lunch special in Funchal Madeira

Treat Yourself to Madeiran Gelato from Ottavia

Eating gelato from Ottavia on the streets of Funchal
After lunch, you'll be tempted to stop at Ottavia for gelato. There is a large window facing the street where you can peer in at the flavors on offer. We were quietly looking and discussing if we wanted a scoop when wham! the window flew up and we were faced with an order counter. It was a sweet, delicious trap! There is nothing finer though than eating gelato while strolling the mosaic stone streets of Funchal.

A Gourmet Dinner Experience at Cris' Place in Funchal

Live prawn in the tank at Cris' Place in Funchal
We'd heard great things about Cris' Place in Funchal's new town. The experience is top notch. At 50 EUR per person including unlimited wine and water, dinner at Cris' Place is expensive but actually great value for money. You get three courses with wine pairings plus an amuse bouche and palate cleanser as part of the deal. Every dish from our shrimp and mango starter through to our octopus main to our chocolate fondant dessert was amazing. I definitely recommend Cris' if you want a fine dining experience in Madeira.
Gourmet meal served at Cris' Place in Funchal Madeira

Try a Madeiran Specialty: Black Scabbardfish with Bananas

black scabbardfish (espada) at Mercado dos Lavradores on Funchal, Madeira
Madeira is famous for black scabbardfish (espada) served with banana. I'm not quite sure how such an ugly fish manages to taste so good, but believe me, it works! We had espada on three separate occasions on our long weekend trip to Madeira. You can't miss it.
black scabbardfish (espada) at Mercado dos Lavradores on Funchal, Madeira
black scabbardfish (espada) served with banana on Madeira

Sampling Passion Fruit at Mercado dos Lavradores

Passion fruit (maracuja) sold at Mercado dos Lavradores on Funchal, Madeira
Madeira is home to a bustling food market, Mercado dos Lavradores. We were wandering through having a look at the stalls when a woman came up to us and asked if we wanted to try the maracuja (passion fruit). She proceeded to scoop out a bit of fruit with a small spoon and placed it on the back of our hands. We tried several different varieties and ended up buying two different kinds of passion fruit to take back to the hotel. Be aware, the maracuja is quite expensive (up to 20 EUR per kilo at the market) but for us it was worth it to try something in Madeira that we don't get regularly at home. We also tried anona (custard apple fruit) which was hearty and filling. Simply cut the anona in half and have at it with a spoon working around the large black seeds that you find inside.
Mercado dos Lavradores on Funchal, Madeira viewed from above

Madeiran Espetada (Grilled Beef Skewers)

Espetada (Madeiran Beef Skewers)
Madeira is also famous for espetada, delectable beef cubes rubbed in salt and garlic and cooked on a bay leaf skewer over hot coals or wood. We sampled espetada near Santana at the gourmet restaurant at Hotel Quinta Do Furão. The meat tasted even better with a backdrop of dramatic cliffs over the coast. 

Bola do Caco Garlic Bread

Bola do Caco Garlic Bread on Madeira
We've already seen and sampled bola do caco earlier in this post. We encountered it again cut into wedges and filled with garlic. This Madeiran garlic bread is a great accompaniment to both seafood and steak dinners.

Pasteis de Nata

Beer and pasteis de nata served near the cable car at Monte on Madeira
Madeira has an advantage being part of Portugal compard to the Spanish Canary Islands in that you'll find mainland favorites such as pasteis de nata. We went for a sweet and savory combo by snacking on pasteis de nata with a glass of beer near the cable car at Monte.

Bar Snacks and Beer

ham and cheese empanada served in Funchal, Madeira
We like wandering in to local places on our travel adventures. We spotted a cute, local restaurant and bar on R. das Maravilhas near our hotel in Funchal. We went there twice: once for an afternoon beer, and once for a lunch snack and coffee. We really enjoyed this ham and cheese empanada. The outer shell was corn-based to our surprise and delight. The place was full of locals and people spoke very little English here so it felt good to get outside the tourist track a little while.
ham and cheese empanada served in Funchal, Madeira

Freshly Made Poncha at One of Ronaldo's Haunts

Poncha made fresh at Venda do Sócio in Madeira
Poncha may be the most famous drink in Madeira and Cristiano Ronoldo may be Madeira's favorite celebrity. Poncha is made with aguardente de cana (essentially rum), honey, sugar, lemon rind and lemon juice (traditional) or other fruit flavors like orange or passion fruit. Ronoldo is a professional football player and so revered on Madeira that they just named the airport in Funchal after him. We got to experience both of these famous Madeiran things at Venda do Sócio. We watched as the bartender created a fresh batch of poncha just for us.
Madeiran poncha
As we sipped our cool, tart beverage (I like to think of poncha as a Madeiran margarita) we took a look around the bar at sports memorabilia and photos of Ronoldo smiling with the proprietors.
Venda do Sócio in Madeira

Madeira Wine

Bottle of wine served in Funchal Madeira
Madeira is known for its namesake fortified wine and we definitely had our share of Madeira wine on our long weekend in Funchal. We also discovered that Madeira makes a respectable traditional wine too. Reds and whites from Madeira are harder to find than their mainland Portuguese counterparts but they are worth seeking out when you're on the island.

Have you visited Madeira? What are your favorite food memories for your trip?

Did you enjoy this post? Sharing is caring...

Pinterest Pin: Highlights from a Food-Filled Long Weekend in Madeira


#DrJSabbatical Adriatics Africa Americas Ann Arbor Argentina Asia Asia Pacific AUNZ Australia Austria Baltics Barcelona Belfast Belgium Berlin Best of Beyond Dublin Big Island Bologna Boston Brazil Bruges Brussels Bucharest Budapest Buffalo California Cambodia Canary Islands Canterbury Cape Town Cardiff Central Europe Chile China Christmas Market Commute Chronicles Copenhagen Cork Costa Brava Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Dresden Dublin Dublin_Archive Dusseldorf Eastern Europe Edinburgh El Calafate England Eruption Essen Estonia Europe Europe_Archive Evora Faro Faversham Featured Financial District Finland Fisherman's Wharf Flanders Florida Food France Frankfurt Fringe Festival Galway Gdansk Georgian Dublin Germany Girona Granada Greece Greece and Cyprus Guest Posts Guiness Storehouse Hamburg Hangzhou Hanoi Hawaii HCMC Helsinki Ho Chi Minh City Hobart Hoi An Honolulu Hungary Hurling Hyderabad Iceland India Ireland Ireland_Archive IRELAND_REMIX Italy Itinerary Jackson Square Japan Kaunas Kilkenny Kilkenny Cats Kiluaea Kona Krakow Kuala Lumpur Kyoto Languedoc Lanzarote Las Fallas Latvia Leinster Leipzig Liechtenstein Lima Limerick Lisbon Lithuania Liverpool Ljubljana Lloret de Mar London Los Angeles Louisiana Lucerne Machu Picchu Madeira Malaga Malaysia Mallorca Malta Marrakech Marrakesh Marseille Massachusetts Med Mendoza Menton Miami Modena Monaco Monte Carlo Montenegro Montpellier Morocco Muenster Munich Munster NA_Archive Naples Netherlands New Orleans New Year 2011 New Years Eve 2010 New York New Zealand Nice Nob Hill Noe Valley Nordics Norrkoping North America North Beach Northern Ireland Nuremberg Oahu Oakland Ollantaytambo On The Road Osaka Outer Sunset Palafrugell Palma Paris Parma Patagonia Pennsylvania Perth Peru Philadelphia Pingyao Piran Pittsburgh Poland Porto Portugal Potrero Hill Prague Puerto Natales Punta Arenas Queensland Recent Regensburg Reykjavik Riga Rio de Janeiro Rochester Romania Rotterdam Rovinj Rugby Russia Russian Hill San Francisco San Sebastian Santiago Scandinavia Scotland Seattle Segovia Seoul Seville SF - Further Afield SF_Archive Sicily Siem Reap Singapore Sligo Slovakia Slovenia South Africa South America South Beach South Korea Spain SPWC St. Petersburg Stockholm Strasbourg Street Performance Stuttgart Sweden Switzerland Sydney Tallinn Tasmania TBEX Telegraph Hill Temple Bar Texas Thailand Thames Festival The Mission ThisIsAthens Tipperary Tokyo Torres del Paine Transylvania Trieste Uganda UK Union Square United States Uruguay Valencia Valparaiso Vienna Vietnam Vilnius Volcano Waikiki Wales Walking Warsaw Washington Waterford Western Australia Westfield Where's Wally? Whitsundays Wicklow World Record Wroclaw WWI Xi'an Zurich
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Highlights from a Food-Filled Long Weekend in Madeira
Highlights from a Food-Filled Long Weekend in Madeira
Learn about food highlights on a long weekend vacation in Madeira, Portugal. A photo-rich post by travel blogger Jennifer (aka Dr. J) from Sidewalk Safari.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
Not found any posts VIEW ALL Read more Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS CONTENT IS PREMIUM Please share to unlock Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy