A guide to food and drink in Madeira

After a long day walking there are many top restaurants to choose from in Madeira, serving regional and Portuguese cuisine as well as international fare. Some venues are located high on the hills with terraces overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, or in bustling city centres like Funchal. As you head further into the countryside, you’re more likely to find restaurants utilising the local produce to make true Madeiran food.

Exploring Madeira's delicacies

The island of Madeira is a place unto itself when it comes to food – not only is the cuisine very different from other European countries in the area, it even varies greatly to mainland Portugal. The island’s sub-tropical climate invites a fantastic array of fruits and vegetables, and catch of the day often includes the sought-after espada fish, or black scabbard fish. Espada with banana is one to try, along with the fresh Madeiran-style grilled tuna served at most restaurants.

Fine international cuisine at Cris' Place, Funchal

This is one of the top restaurants you can visit on your holidays to Madeira, serving fantastic international food. They offer a concept menu with a fixed price, which includes wines and soft drinks.

The choice of food is fantastic, from foie gras to chicken fettucini and lamb shank. This is a fine dining experience and the food is beautifully presented, with the chef popping his head around the door once in a while giving you the chance to show your appreciation. The restaurant interior here is elegant and offers wonderful ocean views.

Popular with locals at Amarelo, Canical

Traditional Madeiran food is served at this restaurant located at Canical port. The interior is very well presented with a laid-back feel and the food is predominantly seafood. Popular dishes include seabass, bream, fried damselfish, shellfish and delicious homemade chips. There’s also a varied children’s menu. Following a leisurely lunch or dinner, sit back and enjoy the sea views with a refreshing cocktail.

High-end Italian dishes at Villa Cipriani, Funchal

This is an Italian restaurant offering panoramic views over Funchal and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a high-end venue and belongs to the luxury Belmond Reid’s Palace Hotel. The interior feels traditionally Italian with its red and white tablecloths, a theme that carries out onto the lovely terraced area. Try the linguine with lobster sauce, black ravioli with duck and ginger or fish stew. They offer a good wine selection and a children’s menu is also available.

Tucked away in a side street at Sabor da India, Funchal

If you love a good curry, this is the place to head. The restaurant is tucked away up a steep hill, but it’s worth the small amount of effort to get there. Whether you’re after a tandoori mixed grill, jalfrezi or delicious korma you’ll find it here, as they serve up all the usual favourites. The portions are plentiful and service is very friendly and attentive.

Down-to-earth at A Traineira, Canico De Baixo

This typical Madeiran restaurant in Canico De Baixo has gone with the nautical theme in terms of its decor and small aquarium. So, not surprisingly it serves up some fantastic fish dishes including traditional espada, red snapper and shellfish platters that are fun to share. There are meat alternatives as well as a nice selection of Madeiran wine. This is a down to earth restaurant with a nice outdoor space that leads onto the throbbing street outside.