The majority of Madeira’s restaurants serve Portuguese cuisine, and you'll find many family-run eateries serving similar dishes to those on the mainland. Most offer delicious freshly grilled sardines, tuna steaks, and scabbard fish, as well as specialties like 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.

Though the Portuguese traditionally eat late, dinner in Madeira tends to be a bit earlier, running from about 7 to 9:30 or 10. Lunch is usually between noon and 2 pm, something to note because small museums may close during this time.

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