Every destination is so much better if the food there is good. Luckily, Madeira will not let you down.
If you are planning a trip to Madeira, here is some of the local food, you should not overlook:
- Exotic fruit
Here in Europe we are not use to having freshly picked up mangoes, papayas, bananas and passion fruit. But due to the mild climate, Madeira is full of these exotic fruits.
Travel tip: The most known market in Funchal has loads of exotic fruit, but be aware that the prices there are high. You will pay 19,80€/kg for passion fruit. Not far away from the market, we have found a small fruit and veggies shop and guess what, the prices were half lower than at the market; passion fruit (9,80€/kg), mango (4,50€/kg), papaya (3,30€/kg), bananas (1,30€/kg), strawberries (3,90€/kg), tomatoes (2€/kg).
- Street food
Forget about burgers and kebabs, as you will not be able to find that on Madeira. The best street food in Madeira is their local garlic bread Bolo Do Caco. The bread is done as a toast on which they put lots of butter and garlic. If you are not into the basic variety, you can also add cheese, bacon, meat or tuna.
Travel tip: Bolo Do Caco is a really nice snack. It is good and also very affordable – the price depends on the type, but you will pay from 2-3€ for it.
- Lunch or dinner
No matter if you like meat or fish, Madeira will offer you both. But to be honest, Madeira is loaded with fresh sea food, so don’t miss trying it. One of the best known fishes is scabbard fish, which does not look very attractive as a catch, but it is pretty good on a plate. It is normally served fried.
We also tried grilled limpets (muscles), calamari, shrimps, tuna… And everything was amazing!
If you are keener of meat, you will definitely love their Espetada – grilled meat on long sticks. We have eaten ours at a local restaurant La Cala in a small town Carnical. The place is nothing fancy, but the food is delicious and also fairly priced.
Travel tip: You will get the cheapest and often best food in local restaurants, which don’t really look attractive, but inside there is always lots of locals. We really recommend the La Cala restaurant. In fact, we liked the place so much, that we came there again for lunch on our last day. (Coordinates: 126.96.36.199 / 016.44.32.0)
*Even though we only got great and positive feedback from our readers for the La Cala restaurant, we recently got one bad too. Our reader visited the place in September 2018 and was greatly disappointed… Not sure if it was for the ambient or the food, but if you do have any recent feedback yourself, we would love to hear from you, also helping others when looking good food in Madeira.
We admit, we did not taste much of desserts. In fact, we have ordered Madeira cheesecake once and it was not bad, just a bit too sweet for our taste.
We also did not miss the Madeira sugarcane syrup cookies and Bolo de Mel (Honey cake). Both were really good and you should definitely try them.
Who would ever imagine that such a small island like Madeira can offer so many types of local drinks? Did you even know that Portugal was once one of the largest sugar cane exporters due to Madeira? Even nowadays Madeira grows sugar cane and mostly uses it to produce sugarcane rum.
The sugarcane rum is the basic for its local drink Poncha, made out of rum, honey and juice (orange, passion fruit…). A glass of Poncha will cost you from 2-3€.
Guess what, Madeira is also known for its good wine and beer.
Don’t forget even on delicious freshly squeezed natural juices like mango, papaya and our favorite, passion fruit. The price depends of location, but expect to pay something from 1,80€ to 3,00€.
We like to start our day with good coffee and no matter how many cafés we have visited, we could not find coffee with a normal name, like café latte, macchiato etc. Well, we did find cappuccino eventually, but to our surprise it was served with cream and not with hot foamed milk.
Madeira might be best known for its nature and hiking trails, but food here will also not be a disappointment. Believe it or not, but you might fallen for Madeira for its food – we surely did.