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“great food and atmoshere but pricey”

Ristorante Villa Cipriani
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Ranked #28 of 644 Restaurants in Funchal
Certificate of Excellence
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Business meetings
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations
Reviewed February 11, 2013

A lovely romantic experience with superb Italian food and a vast wine list ( all portuguese wines) but you will need a deep wallet

Thank Peter W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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499 - 503 of 809 reviews

Reviewed February 9, 2013

Right on Estrada Monumental and part of Reid`s Palace this romantic restaurant with brilliant views over Funchal Bay was a superb place to celebrate my wifes birthday. Lovely Italian based food with excellent wines. A more formal restaurant but not "stuffy".

Thank BirminghamGourmet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2013

Have been meaning to review this lovely restaurant since we got back in the autumn; now, looking at the Janus review (rant?), I feel even more impelled to do so, in order to redress the balance.

We found the atmosphere to be charming, the service excellent and the food of a high quality: well-presented, beautifully cooked and delicious. We had 2 starters of crab tian and fish soup (with sea bass); seafood risotto and a pasta dish for mains, and shared a chocolate dessert. (I kept notes for the review, as it was so good!) With a bottle of wine, I see from our credit card statement that the bill came to 104.50 Euros.

Being November, it was dark but can well imagine what the views must be like at other times of the year, as we were staying at the Cliff Bay Hotel virtually next door.

Villa Cipriani is high on our list of Funchal restaurants for our next visit to Madeira.

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1  Thank Roma B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 24, 2013

Having enjoyed tea at Reids on our last visit to Madeira, we decided to celebrate my husband's birthday with dinner at their Italian restaurant. Booking by internet was easy and they sent a copy of the current menu. We were delighted with our meal. The service was excellent and the sea bass the best we have ever eaten. If you enjoy being made to feel special this is for you.

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1  Thank musicwriter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2013

Let's be clear from the outset - the food at the Villa Cipriani is not bad. Not bad that is, in the sense that it ought to be sent back. So why such a poor review? In a nutshell, for the prices they charge one has the right to expect so much more. My partner and I had two courses each, plus a bottle of wine, and the bill came to 134 Euros. For this price, one expects to be left with a warm glow of satisfaction and a urge to return one day, not a lingering sense of resentment, bordering on outrage at having been fleeced in the culinary equivalent of 'Chase the Lady'.

The setting of the restaurant is very fine (one reads that there is a good view - when we were there it was dark and could see none of it) but what is one to make of a restaurant that boasts its Italian credentials and its affinity to the celebrated Venetian Hotel Cipriani, and yet (apart from sparkling wine) has not a single bottle of Italian wine on its list? (Correction: not a single bottle for under 500 Euros - no kidding.) The Portuguese list was probably very fine and we were recommended a bottle of red which turned out to be quite acceptable. But as bad luck would have it we were recommended this wine at another restaurant the other night for 20 Euros less. Some restaurants have extravagant markups on wine, but at Villa Cipriani this is plain silly. This may explain why Italian wine is absent: at this level of markup there would not be much for under three figures a bottle.

For a first course I had a terrine of grilled vegetables with fresh cheese (the menu didn't say what kind of cheese and tasting it left us no wiser.) The grilled vegetables were bland to the point of anonymity. My partner had cannelloni. This was two cannelloni, to be precise, grilled directly on a plate which was served to us with a health warning not to touch it if we did not want to risk third degree burns. (Alright I exaggerate slightly - but about the warning, not the temperature of the plate.) The cannelloni were quite acceptable. In fact my local Italian pizzeria does something very similar as a starter for £4.50 (including the red-hot plate), but for 17 Euros, this was just bad form.

At this point we did not feel sufficiently confident that the linguini I had ordered would be served al dente, and it took us two separate conversations with serving staff before we were sure this had been understood. As it turned out, the linguini were fine, and the prawns and lobster sauce to go with it were up to scratch. But when they were served, the waiter asked if I wanted cheese with it. Now no self- respecting Italian would dream of adding parmesan cheese to pasta with fish, and when I raised an eyebrow and queried 'With fish?' the reply came: 'Of course not madam' - so why ask? In fact for 22 Euros I would expect to be allowed to add tomato ketchup to it, if that's what I asked for, but that doesn't mean that I would expect a decent Italian restaurant to offer it at the outset.

My partner's duck was good enough. It was cooked well and was a generous portion. It came with some layered potatoes (with Gorgonzola, as he learnt from the menu) that he said he could have cooked himself, but why pay 28 Euros for something you can cook yourself? There was also something that claimed to be a pea flan, but all that could really be said for it was that it was a reassuring green, so presumably peas went into it somewhere. It was also accompanied by a piece of steamed broccoli. This was a fine piece of broccoli and it was undoubtedly steamed very well, but including it as part of a meal at this price was making demands of it that it could not possibly hope to meet. One felt it was radically unfair on broccoli in general.

The service was odd. Given the great disparity between the prices on the menu and the quality of the food the waiters were as diligent and obliging as one would expect them to be, perhaps as a matter of shame, if nothing else. Except when it came to the drinks, which they placed on a table just out of reach. Now if I'm paying a large amount of money I expect to be served the drinks by the staff if that's what I wish. But if the amount of money I'm paying is even higher than that (which it was) there comes a point where I expect to be allowed to serve myself too, if that's what I prefer. What I don't expect on touching the bottles is suddenly to be surrounded by a flock of waiters all insisting that it was 'not a problem' for them to serve it, and virtually wrestling it from my grasp. I too had to insist quite firmly that if it was not a problem for them it was not a problem for us to serve ourselves either.

Having got through two courses we decided to look at the dessert menu. On paper they looked fine enough, but for 10 Euros each we were skeptical. This feeling was not allayed when we were told that the tiramisu (at 11.50 Euros) was special because it came served in a chocolate shell. At this point we felt that if we went for the desserts we were heading for further disappointment. If they were to be the standard of the other courses they would need to be served by a troupe of bare-backed riders or dancing girls if they were to be value for money. We thought that this was unlikely, paid up (noting with further resentment only the 7.50 Euros charged for the bottle of San Pellegrini) and left.

The Villa Cipriani is apparently part of the Reid's Hotel empire. I have never eaten at Reid's but have been often tempted. This has now passed. So, in summary, if you have large amounts of money to throw at reasonably competent but unexceptional and grossly overpriced food, the Villa Cipriani may be for you. But have no illusions: in spite of the prices, this is not 'fine dining'. We had no regrets about skipping the last course and opting a cake and coffee at the Ritz café down the road. Our only regret was that we did not skip the first two courses too.

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1  Thank JanusLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ExperienceManager, Gerente geral at Ristorante Villa Cipriani, responded to this reviewResponded January 21, 2013

Dear Guest,

Many thanks for your contribution on this forum.

For sure we are not pretentious to the point of not taking your comments in high consideration, despite the fact that we feel on some a considerable exaggeration.

Definitely with fish and shellfish we should not offer the parmesan, I totally agree with you and although training is given on that direction, is so much requested, but we would further reinforce it. It will always be there for all that would requested anyhow.

The restaurant is positioned as a trattoria deluxe and definitely is recognized as one of the best in the island. We do have the name of our flagship hotel, but we do not promote it as a fine dining experience, although many would consider it.

We do try to promote as much as we can the Portuguese wines, that come as nice surprise for most of the guests, even when visiting an Italian restaurant. Nevertheless your point was taken as a constructive and one to look at.

I can only assure that the quality of the procucts used are of high level, with preference to local organic produce.

Once again we really thank youfor your visit and feedback that we will use to further improve our level of cuisine and service, never sitting on laurels of the past.

With best regards.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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