The Most Romantic Places for Couples to Dine in Madeira

by Barbara Rogers

Sep 7, 2019

Stillman Rogers

Travel Tips

The island of Madeira is steeped in romance. Rising almost vertically out of the ocean, 600 miles off the coast of mainland Portugal, it combines a dramatically mountainous inland with an equally dramatic coastline of high cliffs and crashing surf. Flowers bloom everywhere, thriving in its balmy tropical climate.


This same climate gives Madeira an abundance of tropical fruits (there are seven different varieties of passionfruit alone) and the sea provides an equally wide palette of fish and shellfish. You may be surprised at the creative ways Madeira’s chefs combine these two into delicious dishes. To appreciate the variety of fruits and seafood, stop in at the daily market in the capital city of Funchal. Or better yet, dine your way around the island at its most romantic spots.


Champagne for two, Restaurant Do Forte, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal. Photo: Stillman Rogers

In an Old Fort

Sip Champagne on the ramparts overlooking the sea, before descending to the dining room of Restaurante Do Forte. You can arrive at the 17th-century Sao Tiago Fortress in a classic Rolls Royce or other in the restaurant’s fleet of antique cars, which will pick you up and return you to your hotel. Or stroll there though the neighboring narrow Rua de Santa Maria, admiring its painted doorways, decorated by local artists.


Beside a Romantic Garden

The Portuguese have a talent for creating the world’s most romantic gardens, and Monte Palace Gardens are a prime example. Tropical greenery and blossoms seem to tumble down through a ravine to a plant-ringed pool with an island. Winding through this lush setting are paths and staircases bordered by walls of magnificent colored tiles. Beside the garden entrance, savor lunch at Pátio das Babosas, where the chef creates dishes whose artistic presentation matches their flavor.


Dine by Design

At Nini Design Center Restaurant in the studio/show room of the internationally known Nini Andrade Silva, you can admire her designs in the gallery before taking a table overlooking the harbor. Choose sea bream carpaccio with crab meat, or scallops in a creamy sauce with caviar and herbed risotto. Presentations are spectacular, as you might expect at a restaurant in the atelier of a preeminent designer.


On a Clifftop

West of Funchal the intimate Estalagem Quinta da Ponta do Sol is reached by an elevator and sky bridge to its cliff-top setting. From the glass-enclosed dining room or a table on the terrace you can look almost straight down into a pretty little village square. Time your reservation for the spectacular sunsets.

Sunset at the Estalagem Ponta do Sol, Ponta do Sol, Madeira, Portugal.

Sunset at the Estalagem Ponta do Sol, Ponta do Sol, Madeira, Portugal. Photo: Stillman Rogers

Under a Cliff

You’ll ride down to the secret hideaway of Fajã dos Padres, in a vertigo-inducing cable car that descends almost vertically to a narrow shingle beach. Walk through the garden — where the ingredients for your dinner were grown — to a row of tables for two, shaded by palm trees and overlooking the sea. You simply won’t believe the miracles they perform with tuna, so when the server suggests you should begin with that salad, don’t argue. The restaurant is open until 6 p.m., and it’s easy to spend an afternoon over lunch on this little strip of land between the soaring cliff and the sea.



Insta Feed
Destinations / Asia
Sep 20, 2019

5 Kid-Friendly Activities in Incheon

One of South Korea’s most-visited and famous cities, Incheon is home to nearly everything your family could want from a vacation. Between the city’s stunning temples and historic landmarks to its modern shopping centers and world-class amenities, including golf courses, spas and dining establishments, you’ll have your hands full in just choosing what to see and do.

Age Specific / Kids
Sep 20, 2019

Guadalajara with Kids

Looking for a vacation that will immerse your family in Mexican culture? Book a flight to Guadalajara where they can listen to authentic mariachi music, explore cathedrals and historic buildings, shop for handmade crafts and more.

Sep 19, 2019

It’s Uphill From Here!

Zermatt’s colorful ski boutique-lined Bahnhofstrasse, stylish apartment-style lodgings of every description and views of the Matterhorn from every angle make up one of Europe’s most family-friendly destinations — and it certainly does not hurt that it is proclaimed the “world’s best ski resort” by organizations like SnowOnline.com year after year. During the warmer months, meanwhile, you will see many family groups with kids strolling the shopping streets (sometimes alongside a herd of about 50 free-range Valais Blackneck goats around 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.), enjoying fondue and pizza at nearby cafés, and taking advantage of the many hiking and bike trails.

Take Me to Tahiti

Mana is the life force Tahitians believe connects all things. Feel the mana for yourself on a visit to the islands of Tahiti, and sample some of these activities as you connect with the breathtaking nature of the South Pacific. Fly Air France from the United States to Tahiti in the most convenient and comfortable way and let your holiday start on board.

Sep 19, 2019

Cheap Thrills in San Diego This Fall

San Diego is a great destination for families looking for fun no matter what time of year it is, but this fall, there is plenty to do for everyone — even when you have a budget. Thanks to year-round sunshine, the best way to explore this city is by heading outdoors and enjoying the beautiful weather.