It would be so easy to focus on restaurants in Funchal during your stay. But Madeira’s food scene casts a wider net. Naturally, we’ve combed the island to bring you the best restaurants in Madeira. And, yes, there are a few in Funchal. But we’ve handpicked a couple you’ll want to go the extra mile for. Happily, one of the further afield restaurants may swing by to pick you up in a shuttle bus. You can’t really ask for more than that, can you?
The best way to tackle Madeira’s walks? Onboard some healthy grub at Prima Caju. One of the few restaurants in Funchal where you’ll find a menu full of nutritious goodies that never make you feel like you’re missing out. The acai bowls are Instaworthy and the oatmeal pancakes feel like a holiday treat – minus the calories. Eggs are simply served with toast and salad if you’re looking for a brunch, though the savoury bowls may just tempt you if your first meal of the day is nearing lunchtime. Drinks start off wholesome enough: hello detox juices, smoothies and kombucha. But, you can hit the hard stuff with a morning coffee or even a beer.
Madeira food fiends will be familiar with one very important delicacy, the Pastel de Nata. And, Portugal’s most famous bakery item is too tempting to ignore at Petit Fours. This bakery is awash with sugary treats, freshly baked breads and light lunch options. Yes, you could swing by for some pizza or a salad, but this is the spot for the best Pastel de Nata on the island. Enjoy them warm and fresh from the oven, take some to go, or grab a table and a coffee and savour the moment. You could, of course, try some from all the other bakeries in Funchal but really, why bother, when the best ones are right here.
Orbzii tip: Vegans, if you see honey on a vegan menu, check whether it’s the Madeiran ‘mel de cana’, which is a type of sugar cane that’s actually vegan and used in a lot of cake making and desserts on the island.
Vila do Peixe
When it comes to the best restaurants in Madeira, all eyes tend to point towards Funchal. But, they are missing this cracking seafood restaurant in Camara de Lobos. Though, that’s not to say it’s easy to bag a table here. The industrial-style building has doors which open full to maximise the stunning views. Overlooking the bay – and gorgeous fishing village – Vila do Peixe’s approach is simple. The daily catch is artfully arranged in a display counter and you pick your poisson. It’s then weighed, cooked however you wish and served with your choice of side dishes. There’s a couple of soup, bouillabaisse and pasta dishes if you’d rather. And, unusually, but helpfully for a seafood restaurant, they’ve not forgotten the vegetarians among us – with two veggie dishes and a menu for kids too.
Orbzii tip: Ask your hotel to call and make a reservation and Vila do Peixe may be able to arrange a complimentary shuttle service to taxi you too and from your hotel.
You’re going to be dining at Olives for two reasons. One, the menu is heavily influenced by Madeira food classics and two, the chef is carving out a nice little niche for vegans and vegetarians. The second point might feel a little underwhelming, but the meals for the plant-curious go far beyond your basic bean burger and pasta. Here, you’re looking at walnut cheeses, white bean veloutés and a paw paw and Madeira wine risotto. Inventive, flavourful and accommodating to all dietary requirements, Olives isn’t a place where you go just because there’s a vegan choice or two on the menu. You’ll be back more than once to try every dish on the menu. It might not have the view of Vila do Peixe, but the central Funchal location keeps you at the heart of things to do in Madeira.
Il Gallo d’Oro
If you like your menus sprinkled with a Michelin star or two, Il Gallo d’Oro fits the bill nicely. Among the best restaurants in Madeira, it’s the only one to have been awarded the coveted two stars. So, is it worth a look? Yes and yes, with a side order of yes. The airy indoor space in Funchal captures all the essence of Madeira. Green foliage is thoughtfully draped here and there – accentuating the sea views that are only enhanced by the recently installed picture windows. Keep your eyes on those plates though, because the innovation draws on the kitsch, modern and the revolutionary areas of the food scene. You can’t help but smile on their take on the ‘steak on a hot stone’ theme. Artistic, but not without a sense of humour, all the dishes delight in different ways. Plump for the 6 course menu by Chef Benoît Sinthon. It’s a flavour-filled romp through the best of Madeira’s produce.
Quinta do Furao - Santana
Perched on the north coast, Quinta do Furao is a rustic kind of spot that just happens to have some of the best views on the island. Happily, the menu stuffed with organic and local produce is a winner too. Madeira recipes feature, though you could easily accuse the restaurant of poaching their menu from an Austrian ski lodge. Roasted bone marrow, chicken broth and marinated beef cheek with smoked mash would be just the ticket after a day on the slopes. But, this menu represents real Madeiran food. There are some elements of finesse – marinades and confit items make sporadic appearances. Overall, there’s much to delight diners who like hearty meals in chunky buildings with a smidge of retro styling. Vegetarians are well catered for, though vegans may struggle a little.
One nice touch – for anyone looking to avoid allergens, the menu is clearly labelled and lists everything from tree nuts and gluten to soy and sulphites.