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DC Atelier Photo: Emma Holmvist Deacon
DC Atelier Photo: Emma Holmvist Deacon

Places

Madeira tips for foodies

Madeira’s culinary spread is diverse but the region’s strong fishing traditions make it a particular haven for fish and seafood lovers. At these eight places, you’ll find plenty to choose from, whether you’re after fish, meat or a sweet local treat.

Taberna Madeira Photo: Emma Holmvist Deacon

Madeiran with a twist

One of the best restaurants in Funchal in our humble opinion, Taberna Madeira cooks up traditional food with a twist. Instead of serving the island-staple of fried espada and banana, you’ll get to try this deep sea-fish enrobed in a thin, crisp batter topped with finely chopped onion and a fresh lemon and ginger sauce. Portions are generous, but try to make room for a dessert, homemade by co-owner Ana Rita Macedo’s mother. Ex-architect Macedo has designed the space in a contemporary but cozy way, with walls and ceilings partially covered in hand-tied wickerwork.

Taberna Madeira

Travessa João Caetano 16, Madeira

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DC Atelier Photo: Emma Holmvist Deacon

Flavors of the fortress

Perched above Design Centre Nini Andrade Silva, DC Atelier has 360° views across the Atlantic Ocean and Funchal cityscape. The menu is a creative re-interpretation of regional cuisine, and the cafeteria lounge on the floor below – where the atmosphere is less formal but the views just as splendid – serves snacks and drinks during the day. Wherever you decide to dine, you’ll be immersed in Nini Andrade Silva’s minimalist but homely interior design.

DC Atelier

Estrada da Pontinha, Forte de Nossa Senhora da Conceição 9000

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Photo: Emma Holmvist Deacon

(Madeira) wine and dine

Located within Blandy’s famed Madeira wine lodges in the city center of Funchal, 1811 Bistro & Wine Bar has an extensive wine list with some 250 Portuguese wines as well as an additional 44 types of Madeira wine, including the exclusive Blandy's 1920 Bual. There’s plenty to choose from the food menu, too – including 22 Portuguese cheeses and a range of charcuterie. You can have a multi-course meal paired with Madeira wine from start to finish.

1811 Bistro & Wine Bar

Rua de São Francisco 10, Madeira

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Mussels and more

This nice but casual downtown eatery specializes in mussels, and there are a dozen different variants from Portugal and beyond to choose from. Aside from the classic Belgian white wine and cream variety, mussels come smothered in flavors including pesto, lemongrass, mango and chilli (not necessarily all at once). There are other types of food on the menu, too.

Mula

Rua dos Tanoeiros 37, Madeira

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A fine fusion

Located in the heart of the Old Town, La Ao Fundo focuses on fusion cuisine, combining Madeiran flavors with African influences, for instance. You’ll find dishes such as shrimp Mozambique and cod and couscous on the menu as well as European classics including steak and homemade chips. The white table-clothed restaurant is perceived as a bit of a fine dining option, but prices aren’t too steep (about €15 for the steak).

La Ao Fundo

Rua Portão de São Tiago 17

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Photo: Emma Holmvist Deacon

Rice and shine

Rice in every imaginable form is the order of the day at Riso. Chef Fausto Airoldi has made it his mission to broaden the appeal of this cupboard staple, and he does it with panache and flexibility for each diner’s preferences. Whichever shape your rice dish may take, you’re sure to get an amazing view across the Atlantic Ocean as the restaurant sits cliff-side at the edge of the old town.

Riso, Risottoria del Mundo

Rua de Santa Maria 274

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Piece of cake

The Portuguese have a way with baked goods, particularly the sweet variety. Head to local bakeries Penha DÁguia and Opan to sample Madeiran specialities such as queijadas, a little cake made of sweetened cheese, and the ever-present bolo de mel, the famed Madeira honey cake.

Penha DÁguia

Rua do Hospital Velho 36

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Golden Gate Grand Café

For a fancier outing and some good people watching, take a seat at the newly re-opened Golden Gate Grand Café, established in 1841.

Golden Gate Grand Café

Avenida Arriaga 29, Madeira

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