The majority of Madeira’s restaurants serve Portuguese cuisine, and you'll find many casual, family-run eateries and snack bars serving similar dishes to those on the mainland. Most offer delicious freshly grilled sardines, tuna steak, and scabbard fish, as well as caldeirada de peixes variados (a slowly simmered combination of fish, shellfish, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and olive oil), and carne de vinhos e alhos (pork marinated in wine, oil, garlic, and spices, then gently boiled and quickly browned over a high flame). At the higher end, restaurants serving more international cuisine with a modern flair tend to be attached to upscale hotels, such as the Michelin-starred Il Gallo D’Oro at the Cliff Bay, and Uva at The Vine.

Though the Portuguese traditionally eat late, dinner in Madeira tends to be on the early side, running from about 7 till 9:30 or 10. In high season, it’s best to make reservations for dinner to avoid missing out. The midday meal is usually eaten between noon and 2 pm since many shops and museums still close for lunch, though more tourist-oriented restaurants serve all day. In general, smart-casual resort attire is the norm.

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