UVA in Funchal, Madeira Islands

One of the restaurants that took a while to find when looking for enjoyable dining experiences in Funchal was UVA. I have no idea why, because they have all the makings of a good experience. Reasonable prices (€35 for three courses, €50 for 4), a great wine menu, very good service and a very decadent interior. Perhaps people don’t write about it because they want to keep it well hidden, but here I am writing about it for your benefit!

Poolside at Hotel The Vine

The restaurant is located on the pool level of the Hotel the Vine, and bookings are recommended. We were able to book the day we wanted to go, but I’m not sure they did multiple seatings and the restaurant was definitely full for most of the evening.


Some of the food we had included Steamed black scabbard fish with basil, tomato chutney vinagerette, risotto, Roasted sea bream pave, vegetables and seasonal fruits tangine, poultry sauce, Roasted duck filet with creamy polenta and chestnut, sautéed spinach, celery, Spices cake with chestnut and quince confit, chestnut ice cream and quince sorbet, and Fresh peppermint in jelly and ice cream, soft Valrhona grand cru chocolate moelleux. I think for this post the pictures speak for themselves.

I will say that the experience was wonderful and we even thought of booking a second meal to try a number of the other dishes.

Name: UVA
Found at: Hotel the Vine, Rua dos Aranhas, Nº 27 – A, Funchal
Website: http://www.hotelthevine.com/en/uva.html

Armazem do Sal

Another of the fantastic restaurants we ate at was Armazem do Sal.

Restaurante Armazém do Sal

The restaurant is tucked down a little alley. The interior walls made with beautifully composed and exposed stones and art that you can buy hanging on the walls. The small alley leading into the restaurant also had a number of alfresco tables for dining where they also had a small jazz band playing the night we went. We reserved a table in advance (it’s a popular place) and I opted for a table inside because it was simply too cold (for me) to be sitting outside.

Bread and butter soon arrive as we are deciding the menu. Like all restaurants, they seemed to offer a great value three course meal (you choose items from the menu yourself).


They even presented a nice palette cleanser (a small iced block of roasted peppers and horseradish or something like that). It was only a mouthful, but beautifully executed.

Not content with serving us a three course meal, this restaurant also served a small charcuterie plate including some silky iberico ham, a picked onion, an olive and cheese. A definitely unneeded, though welcomed dish to kick start our appetites.

Impressed by the prawn starter from Restaurant Mozart, I was tempted to order the crispy prawns at this restaurant as well. Fortunately they did not disappoint. Giant, sweet orange fleshed shellfish sitting atop a small mound of mashed avocado.

Crispy Prawns

My sister opted for the foie gras starter (it’s far too rich for me). Just as beautifully presented and apparently quite tasty.

Foie Gras

We both ended up ordering the same meal – my sister on a foie gras rampage (I didn’t really eat mine), or the Filet mignon rossini with a crispy potato “tower”, onion compote and truffle oil topped with a piece of foie gras. Perfectly cooked meat, super tasty and with a good selection of vegetables on the side.

Fillet Mignon

For dessert, I couldn’t resist not having the Chocolate volcano, vanilla ice cream and pistachio crisp. The island seems to have a thing for them on the menu, and they execute them just so well. If you like chocolate-based desserts, this one will not disappoint. I particularly like the hot-cold contrast provided by the vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate volcano cake

I mean, who wouldn’t want to have a cake that oozed like this…

Chocolate volcano cake

A great value meal for less €30 a head. Go, and enjoy the atmosphere and food.

Name: Restaurante Armazém do Sal
Found at: 135 Rua da Alfândega 135, Funchal
Website: http://www.armazemdosal.com/

Restaurant Mozart

We ate very well in Funchal, and one of the recommended restaurants on the Island is Restaurant do Forte (or the Fort Restaurant). During one of our walking-around-town days, we stumbled across the fort and tried to book a table for the evening but it was all very full. Fortunately they have a sister restaurant called Restaurant Mozart serving pretty much the same menu only a few blocks away.

Like many of the restaurants around town, they do a very reasonable three course meal including wine for around €30 (I can’t remember exactly how much we paid. They even brought us a little amuse bouche to start with.

Amuse Bouche

And that was before bringing us bread, butter and a fish mousse to spread on the bread as an option.

We both ordered the same appetiser, a fresh mushroom risotto with crispy prawns in a green salad with aromatic basil pesto. The prawns were massive – probably good enough for a main with some more risotto, and the risotto was perfectly cooked, full of umami with the rest level of creaminess. The fiery peppery characteristics of the rocket help cut through the richness of the dish although I think the pesto was just a touch too much.

Crispy Prawns

We ordered a couple of different things. My sister ordered the Salmon steak with raisins, aromatic herbs, and orange and fennel sauce. Pretty good upon report although I didn’t try it.

Salmon Steak

I, instead, wanted to try something other than the scabbard fish we seemed to be eating all the time, so I ordered the White grouper with olive oil in a crust of herbs and fried garlic. Delicious although the crust wasn’t as crunchy as I had been hoping. I’d imagined a sort of panko-crumb style flavoured crust, but was let down a little bit. The rest of the dish was still very good.

Crusted Grouper

We both ordered the same dessert, a Hot chocolate cake with ice cream. It’s a dish I only really expected to see a lot in Britain, but very well executed here.

Chocolate Cake

Name: Restaurant Mozart
Found at: Street D. Carlos I, nº 50, Zona Velha da Cidade – Old Twon, 9060-051 Funchal – Madeira
Website: http://restaurantedoforte.com.pt/mozart-en/