You can enjoy some fabulous food in Madeira. The local produce is amazing. I have already spoken about the bananas which to me are the way bananas should taste, really sweet and slightly waxy in texture. But the locals are not satisfied with just having them as a dessert, they pair them with fish too. The dish that you will see in many restaurants is scabbard fish with bananas (espada com banana), a seemingly odd combination but actually delicious. A deep water fish, the scabbard is long and silver when in the water but as soon as it comes up to the surface it turns black. It has a very subtle taste, so is perfect to be accompanied by stronger flavours.
Most people have tried Madeira cake at some point. The pale yellow one with a darker crust. Simple and delicious. However, a more traditional cake is the honey cake (Bolo de Mel). This is a dark, dense delight that’s very sweet and nutty. My favourite, though, are Pastel de Natas, small custard tarts usually served slightly warm with a coffee. Nothing like the custard tarts you get in England. The pastry is light and flaky and the custard is creamy and sweet. Absolutely delicious. Lucky for me, my local supermarket sells them and although they are not quite as good as the ones in Madeira, they are not a bad substitute.
The market place in Funchal is a great place to visit. Full of beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables, it also has a wide selection of chillies and fresh fish and flowers for sale. Definitely worth a visit just to browse or buy flowers to take home. They will pack them up for you to take on the plane.
Here is a quick roundup of my favourite restaurants in Madeira:
La Vaca Negra
If you like steak, this is the place for you. Every cut of steak you could ask for, beautifully cooked, flavoursome and served simply with a jacket potato or chips, and salad. Go hungry as the portions are large.
This is one of three restaurants by the same owner that are situated within a square mile. Cris’s and Cris’s Flambé are the other two. All three have a similar concept whereby there is a set menu at a fixed price, offering three courses plus coffee and wine. The wines are chosen by Cris to complement each course and they are good quality. if you find choosing Portuguese wine a mine field this is a good choice. The service is excellent and it has a very upmarket feel.
Fancy a curry while on holiday? This one serves up some of the best I have tasted. All your favourites with rices and beautifully fresh, fluffy naans to complement your dish. Great service too.
Frango de Guia
Grilled chicken, rosemary and garlic flavoured chips and a nice fresh salad. If that sounds good this is the place to visit. They do lots of other dishes but every time I visit that is what I order because to me, there is nothing better.
Hole in One pub
I have to give an honourable mention to this pub. It has the best atmosphere and attracts a lot of tourists. There’s live music most evenings and sport on large TV screens will keep you there for several drinks. It also has great range of gins, local beers and wine, plus food.
This is the third part in my Guide to Madeira, for the first two parts scroll down below.
This post is not sponsored. I paid for all meals and excursions.