A Food Journey Around Madeira

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A wave of new restaurants and dining experiences make this tropical corner of Europe a foodie’s delight all year round 

Madeira has long celebrated all things epicurean, however the creative energy across the archipelago has exploded in recent years with a wave of exciting new restaurants and bars, as well as innovative dining experiences in nature. According to the Financial Times, it is ‘high time this culinary hotspot got its dues’.

And with temperatures being warm all year, as well as some of the most stunning landscapes in Europe, the foodie string to Madeira’s bow gives even more reason to head there this winter.  

New wave of gastronomy 

Contemporary restaurants are springing up across the capital city of Funchal, with the likes of plant-based Kouve by one of the top chefs on the island, Júlio Pereira, the quirky and innovative Já Fui Jaquet, which is a hit with the locals and Terra Food Concept, a multicultural and vegan friendly restaurant serving up flavours from around the world.  For brunch, Loft and Prima Caju are very popular. Outside of the capital, there are some beautiful new dining spots too, including the beautifully designed Socalco Nature Hotel by top talent Chef Octávio Freitas. 

The bar scene has also taken off. For cocktails, Dive In, Three House rooftop and Dash cocktail bar have recently opened, or for craft beer lovers, there is Barreirinha, complete with Atlantic views.  

Dining in nature  

Many opt to enjoy their dining experiences surrounded by the beauty of Madeira, which is one of the most fertile places on earth, where exotic fruit and vegetables grow wild as you pass along levadas and roads.   

A new foodie sensation on a beautiful sailing boat by another of the destination’s best chefs, Filipe Janeiro, is called Happy Hour and Terra Bona, the vineyard with jaw-dropping views on the north coast, is the perfect spot to enjoy some wine tasting in between adventures. Faja dos Padres on the opposite coast, is an organic farm and beachside restaurant close to Funchal, only accessible by cable car or the sea. For luxe lovers, Reid’s Palace offer an exceptional sunrise breakfast and jeep tour. In land, Quinta do Barbusano serve up a traditional espetada (beef skewers) experience surrounded by the UNESCO Laurisilva Forest.  

Other culinary highlights 

For fine dining, head to the likes of William Restaurant at Reid’s Palace, Galaxia Skyfood at Savoy Palace, Il Gallo d’Oro at Cliff Bay, AVISTA and Nini Design Centre. There are of course many excellent places serving up traditional Madeiran dishes, including espetada (beef skewers), espada (black scabbard fish) and lapas (limpets), and the Mercado dos Lavradores food market in Funchal is an absolute must-see.  

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