MADEIRA | Typical Fruits & Dishes

Madeira – Typical Fruits & Dishes


The vegetation is incredible and very versatile. There are various fruits to try. In the center of Funchal you can visit the market „mercado dos Lavradores“. Better buy the fruits in the basement. The prices are lower than on the first floor.

Following, there is a list of specialties that I tried on Madeira and which are typical for this Portuguese island…


Cherimoya: It is a green fruit which can also become purple. Its shape is round and it looks like a pine. The taste is a mixture of pear and chewing gum. The white flesh has to be eaten with a spoon and the black pits have to be removed.

English tomato: It is a mixture of a tomato and a passion fruit. Also the taste is a mixture of both fruits – sour, bitter and a little sweet at once. Eat the pulp with a spoon.

Banana passion fruit: It is a mixture of a banana and a passion fruit. Though, the taste is almost like a usual passion fruit – sour. The color and the shape remind a little bit of a banana, but it is straight and not curved. Eat the pulp with a spoon.

Ananas passion fruit: It is a mixture of a pineapple and a passion fruit. Eat the pulp with a spoon.

Lime passion fruit: It is a mixture of a lime and a passion fruit. Eat the pulp with a spoon.

Cucumber passion fruit „Pera Theloa„: It is a mixture of a cucumber and a passion fruit. It almost only tastes like a cucumber with just a little bit sourness. The consistency is very watery, almost exactly like a cucumber. Eat the pulp with a spoon.


Dragon fruit „Pitahaya„: a little tasteless. Eat the pulp with a spoon.

Ananas-banana „Filoderidro / Fruita deliciosa„: It looks like a pine and it quiet tricky and time consuming to eat. It has to be eaten by segments – piece by piece. The taste is in between pineapple and banana. The fruit is ripe when the segments start to split and pop up by themselves. Also the grip is a little softer by then.


Pimpiniela: good for kidneys. A Madeirense told as a joke: This fruit is called “Pimpiniela” because you have to do “pippi” soon after you ate it.

Traditional vegetable soup:


Espada: The famous back and long fish from the deep sea with big eyes. The meat is white though and it tastes delicious. There are two typical ways of eating it: Either way with a cooked banana and passion fruit sauce or with roasted almonds.

Espada with roasted almonds

Espada with a cooked banana and passion fruit sauce



Almost every day, we bought fresh fish from the Atlantic and cooked it in our AirBnB apartment.


Espetada: the traditional meat skewer.


Pastries from a bakery in the street „Rua de Santa Maria“ with artistic doors in Funchal.

Traditional vanilla pastry – super delicious! You need to try it when it’s warm!


Madeira wine: There are four major styles of Madeira wine: Sercial meaning dry, Verdelho meaning medium dry, Bual meaning medium sweet and Malmsey meaning sweet. The dark wine is sweet and strong. There are several flavors but most of the time you will taste caramel, burnt sugar, orange peel, walnut, hazelnut, and peach.

Poncha: The traditional rum cocktail or aperitif is a mixture of rum, honey, lemon juice and passion fruit or orange.


It is simple to find a good place to eat. In the historical zone of Funchal „zona historica do Funchal“ there are many excellent restaurants. It is placed in a side street of the harbor. The entrance is two parallel streets away and on the right hand side of the historical market „mercado dos Lavradores“. Each restaurant there has its own charm and each door is a unique piece of art decorated with street art, graffiti, paintings, collages or applications.

The first restaurant of the street „Restaurante Típico Jaquet“ was my personally favorite place to eat. It is the perfect spot for having fantastic fish meals. All fish are super freshly and directly fished from the Atlantic. The kitchen is open and integrated into the restaurant. So, all visitors can watch the chef cooking. I ordered a tuna steak which was the best one that I’ve had so far and my friends ordered fried Atlantic mackerels with regional vegetables that were also good. The exact address is Rua de Santa Maria, 5 – 5a, 9060-291 Funchal, Portugal
Tel.: 291 22 53 44
M.: 96 562 0701

Restaurante Típico Jaquet

delicious tuna steak with garlic and olive oil

lapas (local limpets)

lapas (local limpets)

lapas (local limpets)



Restaurante Típico Jaquet

Arsenal: This restaurant was more touristic. There we tried the famous deep-sea fish “Espada” with banana and passion fruit sauce and the meat skewer “Espetada”. The quality was ok, but I preferred the other restaurant. The taste was simple and not luxurious. The food was okay, but nothing special (the vegetable soup tasted like nothing in this restaurant). At least the prices were normal. Luckily the „Espada“ was the dish of the day for 10€ instead of 15€. The exact address is in the same street as the „Restaurante Jaquet“: Rua de Santa Maria, 30, 9060-291 Funchal, Portugal

Arsenal outside

Arsenal inside

Another very good restaurant which I tried in Funchal is the “restaurante a bica”. Also many locals come to this place. The food was delicious, but we had to wait almost 1,5 hours because it was super busy. The exact address is R. Hospital Velho 17, 9060-129 Funchal, Portugal

Our diving guide Stephan recommended us to go to the next city „Camara de Lobos“ for having original and the real traditional dishes of Madeira. Unfortunately you need to rent a car to visit this city. As far as I know there is no bus line.  The food seems to be more traditional out of Funchal in almost every restaurant.

Places To Visit:

Monte – Cable Car – Slide:

Right in Funchal there is a wonderful mountain called „Monte“ where you can go up by the famous cable car starting in the harbor. It costs 10€ one way or 15€ for a return ticket. If this is too expensive for you, you can take the bus line 21 or 22 starting on the central bus station in Funchal called „Centre“. It will take you to the end of the cable car stop at Monte. I tried it both ways. 🙂

On top you can visit a botanical garden or just walk around a bit, admire the vegetation, visit a white church or just relax in a small café while a woman is playing an accordion nearby.

I recommend you to take the historical slide up there. It is super expensive but once in a lifetime you should definitely try it! It is sooo much fun!Two Madeirenses will pull the basket, control and navigate it on the street. The distance is about 2 km and the ride takes about 5-6 minutes. Unfortunately the slide ends at a point where no public busses go directly back to Funchal. But no worries, instead of taking an expensive taxi we just walked straight back to the harbor. It is not so far as it seems and it took us maybe 15 min.

Costs per basket:
Only 1 person: 25€
2 persons: 30€ for both
3 persons: 45€ for all three together

Forte de São Tiago in Funchal:

Botanical Garden „Jardim Botânico“:

Costs: 5,50€

Typical Trees & Flowers of Madeira:

The island is the perfect destination for all nature & adventure lovers. It is a botanic fascination. Especially during this time – the beginning of spring – all flowers start to bloom. In Madeira some people have never been to the doctor because they take the healing plants from the island instead of medicine. The leaves of several flowers are suitable for making tea for example.

palm tree

Eucalyptus: The Madeirenses make delicious liquor and sweets out of it.

Laurel: It is an aromatic evergreen tree. In the Mediterranean region the bay leaf is used for cooking. The Madeirenses make also bay oil for medicine out of it because it has multiple surprising health benefits as antiseptic, antibiotic, etc.

Strelitzia reginae:

Acacia dealbata: Madeirenses use these flowers on weddings.

Agapanthus, the “flower of love”: It is a lily from Africa in shades from blue to violet. On Madeira they have it in white and blue. It is called the “flower of love” because Mark Anthony gave the flower to Cleopatra. Their historical story is a tragedy.

African Fire tulip flower tree:

Dropping bottle brush from Australia:

Angel’s trumpet: Extremely poisonous! Don’t touch it!


Gorse (Stechginster): Piercing bushes with yellow flowers. Madeirenses use the leaves for cooking tea.

Sugar Cane: Madeirenses use it for making the super sweet honey “Mel de cana”. It tastes a little bit like licorice.

Banana flower:


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See you soon, XOXO

By | 2018-03-06T21:31:30+00:00 April 11th, 2017|Blog, Food Blog, Travel Blog|19 Comments

About the Author:

My name is Alina Spiegel. People call me "Miss Mirror" because of my last name "Spiegel" which means mirror in English. I love to express myself through fashion every day in a new way depending on the mood I feel. I have always been fascinated by fashion and I have designed my own clothes since I was ten years old.


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