Bolo do Caco with garlic butter. Meat kebab aka Espetada da Madeira. Limpets on the grill. The delicacies of Madeira don’t stop there.
In this article, I’ll show you my favorite Madeiran restaurants so that you can try them on your next trip to the island.
Explore the local cuisine with these food tours
Lá ao Fundo, Funchal
My favorite restaurant in Madeira leads this list, of course. Lá ao Fundo is located in the old part of Funchal, close to the streets that have their doors decorated.
Don’t expect to find the traditional Madeiran kebabs, but dishes that get inspiration from African lands, such as the Mozambican curries.
But Madeira is well represented here by the fish that make up some of the dishes of this fantastic restaurant. The high-quality tuna or swordfish never disappoint.
As it is one of the best restaurants in Funchal, you should reserve a table before you go.
Engenho Velho Restaurante, Arco da Calheta
This restaurant is one of the discoveries on my last trip to Madeira. I stayed at the Engenho Velho Hotel, and when I decided to try their restaurant one night, I had a pleasant surprise.
The well-seasoned limpets were a luxurious first introduction. I followed it with the Espetada à Engenho, which combines the traditional meat kebab with other elements such as bacon, peppers and onions.
The wine cellar is very well stocked, and the service was top-notch!
O Virgílio, São Vicente
I had never been to O Virgílio because from the outside it looked like an expensive restaurant, but the tuna belly on the menu caught my attention the last time I went there. And it didn’t disappoint!
Besides having prices well within the range of what is normally charged on the island, the portions are quite generous and the dishes arrive at the table with plenty of quality.
Nothing like giving new places a chance!
Braseiro Grill, São Vicente
It’s a very standard restaurant, serving bolognese, risottos and pizzas. But here, you can also count on a good grill that serves well-done meats.
It’s not a phenomenal restaurant, but the food is good, and its location right in front of the beach and a terrace on the second floor make it a good option if you are walking around the northern part of the island. Oh, and the prices are also quite inviting.
Viola, Câmara de Lobos
This restaurant in Câmara de Lobos is excellent off the beaten track if you are looking for a good quality Madeira kebab at a reasonable price. You can have an “espetada” for two, of loin, for just over 10 euros! And, in case you’re not so hungry, you can opt for a half kebab and even half Bolo do Caco with garlic butter.
This restaurant fills up quickly for its quality and price (despite having a reasonably large room). Go early, or you risk having to wait your turn outside.
Polar, Câmara de Lobos
Another great discovery from my last trip to Madeira! It’s amazing how this island continues to surprise with good restaurants.
Polar came about by luck, on the recommendation of a Madeiran friend. The locals undoubtedly know the best restaurants to go to.
The star of the house here is the Espetada à Madeirense, which arrives at the table succulent and in generous portions. Maybe it deserves a little more bay for my taste, but it’s a beautiful espetada and at a very affordable price.
Definitely worth the trip. But since it is a very popular restaurant, get there early or try to book in advance so the trip won’t be in vain.
La Parreira, Campanário
Well, here’s a different experience for eating a Madeiran style “espetada”. La Parreira is not just any restaurant. Before you sit at the table, you will have to go through different stages.
Let me explain.
When you arrive at La Parreira, you will find a butcher shop on one side of the street. That’s where you go in to choose (and pay for) the meat you will eat. Then you go next door to the cafe, where you select (and pay for) the side dishes and drinks.
Once you have passed these two stages, cross the street to the restaurant itself, sit down at the table, and wait for them to serve you everything you chose before.
Be aware that the portions of the side dishes here are pretty generous.
Casa de Pasto Justiniano, Chão da Ribeira
If you go to several restaurants in Madeira to try the famous kebab, you will see that it comes to the table on a metal skewer in almost all of them. However, the authentic Espetada à Madeirense began by being cooked on a laurel stick.
Today, there are few places where this happens, but this is still the tradition at Justiniano’s.
This small restaurant is nestled in the middle of the mountains and already in the Laurissilva Natural Park area, so the trip there is well worth it.
Note: I was at this restaurant in March 2023 and it was closed for renovations. I hope it will open soon, but please call before you go to confirm.
O Farolim, Ponta do Pargo
Good limpets and a well-composed wine list attract me most about this restaurant, although the meat dishes are also of good quality.
This is a great restaurant to go to after watching the sunset at the westernmost tip of Madeira Island.
Joe’s, Jardim do Mar
An old classic, especially for the surfing community that visit Jardim do Mar.
At Joe’s, order some limpets or try the Chicken Piri-Piri. But the charm of this place is the conversations that cross between a coffee, a Coral (local beer), or a snooker game.
And speaking of classics…
Taberna da Poncha da Serra d’Água
It’s not a restaurant, but it deserves to be on this list of places to visit in Madeira. Going to the island and not making a stop at the “church”, as many call it, is unthinkable.
At Taberna da Poncha, in Serra de Água, you can find the best Madeiran Poncha. Besides the classic Poncha, you can try passion-fruit Poncha, tangerine Poncha, and Pescador-style Poncha.
If you aren’t a fan of this local drink based on sugar cane brandy, you can always opt for a Nikita, which combines beer and ice cream or a non-alcoholic Nikita (ice cream with pineapple juice)… my favorite!
Food around here is only in the form of peanuts accompanying the drinks and whose shells – don’t be surprised – are always thrown on the floor.
Where are the best restaurants in Madeira?
And we came to the end of my list of the best restaurants in Madeira. If you know any other restaurant and believe it’s worth trying, put it in the comment box below.
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A note from Marlene
The opinions expressed in this post about restaurants in Madeira are from my personal experience, and I paid for all meals. However, I can’t be responsible for any situation that goes so well for one of the readers.