Food is what makes a trip fabulous or just okay.  You go back home and remember the amazing meal that made the long drive worth it, the standing in line for an hour justifiable or getting lost and finally finding it worth the adventure. For when you think of a meal the taste buds aren’t solely in your mouth but also in your other senses. Such as the sight of the spectacular view you got to witness when eating your meal. Or your ears hearing the waves crashing against the rocks as you sipped your after dinner wine. Not only does your appetite get quenched but so does your body enjoying each nuance that makes that meal unforgettable!

Day View at Montanha Churrascaria 
Night view at Montanha Churrascaria

If you are looking for a restaurant that speaks to your soul try Montanha Churrascaria, one of Madeira Island’s true treasures. The view overlooking the sea and the city of Funchal is truly captivating. It is situated inside the Ocean Gardens Hotel, +351 291 790 760. Or check out their website www.oceangardenshotel.com.  The service is outstanding, they specialize in meats & the Madeira wines are incredible! Try their swordfish w/a banana plantain, it will be one of your favorites!

For a twist on a Portuguese dining experience try Figos Ristorante and Wine Bar in the city of Funchal. Visit their website at www.figos.net or call 291 934 004. The owners add a bit of a California flare to its interior design and the glass windows surrounding the establishment let’s you take in the surrounding city. Yet, its culinary arts are Mediterranean and Portuguese. So, if you are in need of a restaurant that gives attention to detail through its service, food and no smoking section (very rare for any restaurant in Portugal) then add Figos into your travel itinerary…relax and enjoy!

Now how about a drive through a winding mountain, passing through beautiful homes on the edge of hillsides and draped with vineyards. This passage is ironically named The Monte . Once you get to the bottom of  The Monte, you will reach a seaside village so quiet only the sounds of the sea caressing the rocks will pinch you in saying, enjoy the moment! Here you will find a café and order a um garoto, small white coffee or a maracuja , passion fruit juice. Get addicted to the carbonated passion fruit juice Briza, the taste is so refreshing you will want to lug 20 bottles home. Unfortunately, Madeira Island is the only place to get it. Then sit back and enjoy the scenic view of the sea, the mountains, the fresh air and the calmness and solitude that comes with paradise!

Sea view from the cafe