Where to eat and where to sleep in Madeira? Our experiences and recommendations – restaurants, bakeries and hotels

Though Madeira is a small island, it offers a large range of flavours, tasty fruits, delicious seafood and local fish without forgotten some sweets! Of course you can pair pretty much all the local food with a glass of Madeira wine :).

We have listed our favourite food spots we visited during our trip. They are spread across the island. This includes a combination of some must-try restaurants, welcoming bakeries and some astonishing spots for sunsets.

If you’re about to travel to Madeira and are looking for some ideas about where to eat or what to expect, then this food post could be very useful to you. We are about to tell you where we enjoyed our best meals during our trip.

You will notice there are also many hotels that you can book for your stay. As Madeira is a rather cheap destination, we decided to select very comfortable and luxurious hotels. We are telling you about our top-notch experience in both hotels we stayed. We recommend both of them without any hesitation.

Our favourite restaurants in Funchal, Madeira

Armazem Do Sal

Adress – Rua da Alfândega 135, 9000-059 Funchal

Our favourite option among this list :)! Our diner was a gourmet and romantic experience. We heard about this place from different blog posts. This restaurant is among the best tables of Funchal. It is recommended by the Michelin guide as “a contemporary take on traditional cuisine.” For less than 50€ per peson (as of November 2020), you can enjoy a very tasty diner with a glass of wine pairing with all your dishes. Our favourite dishes were the fois gras terrine starter and the Filet Mignon Rossini. It was simply delicious.

This experience completely met our expectations :). It was our best diner in Madeira during our 10 days itinerary. We highly recommend you to book a table in advance to avoid any disappointment.

Principal Bistrô

Adress – Rua da Praia, 47, 9000-643 Funchal

We ate our first diner at Funchal in this restaurant. We were really surprised by the great quality of the food for a very decent price. The octopus dish with local sweet potato and the cod loin with a vivelotte mash potatoes were perfect.

This address is a very good value for money with great portions. The 2-course menu costs less than 30€ per person (as of November 2020). Very nice and relaxing atmosphere and cool service.

The Ákua

Adress – Rua Dos Murcas 6, 9000-058 Funchal

As you can guess with the name, at the menu you find a large choice of fresh and tasty fish and seafood. For the starter, we didn’t hesitate and choose a seafood ceviche. And for our main dish we tried a tuna steak with clames risotto and the fish and seafood fideua, the Portuguese equivalent to the paella.

It is not the cheapest address you can find in Funchal, but our diner was really tasty and fresh. The chef inspiration is a mixed between a creative cuisine and the sea flavours of Madeira.

Uva restaurant at the Vine Hotel

Adress – R. dos Aranhas 27, 9000-044 Funchal

This modern restaurant gets its name from the long history of winemaking in Madeira as uva means “grape” in Portuguese. The restaurant is at the last floor of the hotel with a rooftop bar. The view on the city with the bay is the cherry on the cake.

The menu is limited to 2 options for each dishes, which is updated every day depending of the chef’s inspiration of the day. We ate a very fresh ceviche, some pasta with seafood, Osso Bucco (beef) and finish our meal with a cheesecake. The food is pretty simple but with fresh and local products and tasty.

Of course, you will be tempted by the numerous options on the wine list. You can find a bottle as an appetiser or to marry any of your dishes. We choose a rosé champagne from Portugal. It was a very nice diner for our last evening in Madeira.

Our favourite bakeries and coffee shop in Funchal, Madeira

A Confeteira

Adress – Rua dos Aranhas 52, 9000-044, Funchal

If you love pastry, you have to try this address. This is one of the best bakery and pastry shop in Funchal. There are a large choice of great quality breads and pastries, including almond croissant, palmier, mille-feuille, cookies and of course Pasteis de nata. If you don’t know what Pasteis de nata is, check out our post about what to do in Lisbon. The best bakery to eat those custard tarts is located in Belém near Lisbon.

You can seat and enjoy your breakfast or a well deserved snack after spending the day strolling through Funchal. This bakery is so popular that there are several shops in Funchal.

Opan bakerie

It is the only spot from this list that we didn’t try. We visited Funchal during the weekend. Contrary to many other European capital, Funchal is very quiet on Saturday and almost ghost town on Sunday. So the bakery was closed when we wanted to try it.

It is not an independent coffee shop as it is a small chain. But they have a large choice of pastry and it is highly recommended from different blog posts.

Our favourite restaurants on the rest of the island, Madeira

Alambique restaurant at the Saccharum Hotel

Adress – Rua Serra de Água, nº1, 9370-083 Arco da Calheta 

This restaurant is located at the Saccharum hotel with an incredible view over the ocean. If you can seat outside, go for it. The spot is perfect spot for a romantic diner with a nice sunset. As we stayed at the Saccharum Hotel, we ate twice at this restaurant. The first time, we choose the Halloween menu with some pumkin soup and Harry Potter roasted potatoes. The second time, we tried the octopus and the fish market of the day.

The service is welcoming and the atmosphere is pretty fancy. It is a must try address if you stayed in the Calheta area and want to enjoy a romantic diner with local food.

Restaurante Beira Mar

Adress – Avenida Dom Manuel I Nº8, 9370-135 Estreito da Calheta

We tried several local Madeira specialities in this restaurant. As a starter we ordered Bolo do caco, a traditional bread) with garlic. The “Bolo do Caco” is a typical local round wheat bread. In the past, it was put on a basalt stone called “caco” and cooked on hot coals. Hence the stone gave its name to this bread.

We also ordered one of the most famous local dish that you have to try in Madeira call the scabbard filet (Filete de Espada in Portuguese). True this fish can looks a little scary on a fish market stall, but you have to try it. You can select the normal recipe but it is even more tasty with banana and passion fruit, which is the local recipe.

This cheap restaurant is a nice option, if you want to eat like a local.

Where to stay in Madeira?

We definitely recommend you to organise your trip in Madeira outside the peak season. Thanks to its tropical climate, Madeira is a very pleasant archipelago to explore in spring and in autumn. If you book your stay during that period, you can treat yourself with amazing and very luxurious hotels.

As the island is pretty small, you can reach each side of the island is less than 2 hours. So we decided to stay several nights in the same hotel instead of changing every day. It is much more comfortable and less stressful than having to pack and unpack all the time. It also means that we have time to enjoy the amazing facilities of our hotels.

Saccharum Hotel resort & spa in Calheta

We stayed 6 nights at the Saccharum Hotel. It is located in Calheta, a lovely little coastal town and one of the best spot to catch the sunset. Less than 30 minutes from Funchal, this five-star resort is perfect to escape from the capital and to relax. The location is beautiful with the cliff and in the middle of banana and cane gardens. 

What a treat to get our private terrasse just in front of the ocean with beautiful orange and pink sunset! If you are not travelling on a budget, it is definitely worth adding a little extra to get a sea view room. If you are travelling as a couple or a family and like contemporary design with amazing view, we highly recommend to stay in this hotel.

We had a fantastic experience. The ambiance is luxurious with elegant décors referring to the sugar cane or elements of old mills blended. You can take a drink at the rooftop bar or enjoy a romantic diner with a view on the Ocean. And if one day during your stay it is raining, it will be a good excuse to try the spa ;). As we stayed almost one week, we had time to discover the other amenities from the hotel. We had a lot of fun by playing squash and playing pool!

The cherry on the cake, the breakfast buffet is included and delicious. There are such a large choice of breads, sweet and salted options and above all a great view on the Ocean and on the outdoor pool. We looked forward to it each morning!

The Vine in Funchal

We finished our stay in Madeira at the Vine. It is one of the most modern hotel we ever stayed. As you can guess with this name, the start of the hotel is the wine :). True you can’t see a vineyard from the rooftop but you will feel the wine spirit spread across the different floors of the hotel. There are vinous photographs in the room and the colours of the hotel are purple, green and brown.

The hotel is perfectly located at the heart of Funchal. From the airport, you can reach it less than 20 minutes. From the rooftop pool there is a unique view on the city with the bay! You can also enjoy a panoramic view on Madeira from the jacuzzi.

We booked a junior suite. Hence, as expected, the room was prestigious and huge! My favourite part was the lovely bathtub in the middle of the room. Alexis liked the very cool and relaxing waterfall-effect shower :). We felt very comfortable here, it was perfect for our last days of our trip.

If you are looking for luxurious holidays or planning a romantic getaway, staying at the Vine is a very good option!