Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria are three of the smallest islands in the Azores. They’re seductively isolated places where you can escape the trappings of modern 21st Century life for while.

Here’s our handy guide on where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria.

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

#01 – Beginning on the island of Flores, in the small west coast village of Faja Grande – at first sight, the Maresia Restaurante  isn’t much to write home about. It’s not an impressive building; maybe even a little scruffy, with it’s ramshackle outdoor furniture and rusty lean-to. Look again and you’ll begin to understand why Maresia is one of our favourite restaurants in the whole of the Azores.

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

First, you have an incomparable location – with the pounding Atlantic on one side and the cascading waterfalls of the Rocha da Faja escarpment on the other.

Second (and most importantly), owner and chef Jorge serves by far-and-away the best food on Flores. If you’re offered a menu, throw it away and allow Jorge to bring you dish after dish of his wonderful seasonal creations.

#02 – Just along the Lajedo trail which traverses Flores’ dramatic west coast, you’ll come to the village of Fajazinha. The Restaurante Por do Sol is perfectly placed for lunch – the trail passes right by the front door and they’re open from 12:00 until 14:00. The menu is straight, traditional Azores – really nice dishes made with fresh ingredients, and the big portions will provide all the energy you need to complete the walk.

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

#03 – Tucked away in the north-eastern corner of the island, is the Restaurante o Pescador in the village of Ponta Delgada. Although ‘Pescador’ translates as fisherman, I’d heard they serve an excellent slow-cooked lamb stew (rare to see on an Azores menu) – I’m happy to say it didn’t disappoint.

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

#04 – Flores’ capital Santa Cruz has a nice selction of restaurants with traditional Azorean menus – Restaurante Sereia, Rainha do Bife and the Restaurante Macau are all good options. Jake from our Archipelago team is a big fan of Azorean fish dishes and one of his favourite places is the restaurant at the Hotel Ocidental. Known locally as the Hotel Cafe, it’s open to non-residents – Jake’s dish of the day would be the grilled octopus.

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

#05 – Crossing the channel to Flores’ smaller neighbour – the island of Corvo is a firm favourite with Paul from our team here at Archipelago. It’s the smallest of all the islands in the Azores, with just one town (Vila do Corvo) and a population of around 450. The southern end of the island around Vila is fairly flat, whereas the west is dominated by the Monte Gordo caldera.

Vila’s a tiny place with just three restaurants. The Caldeirao Restaurante & Pastelaria down on the southern-most tip of the island is Paul’s recommendation – for it’s fabulous view of Flores, it’s fofas (eclairs), pastel de macas (apple pasteries) and bolo marmore (marble cake).

#06 – Heading to the east of Azores, the island of Santa Maria is a favourite destination amongst Azoreans themselves – for it’s sandy beaches, it’s striking coastal scenery and it’s relaxing rural atmosphere.

history of the azores

Arguably the best restaurant in Santa Maria’s capital Vila da Porto is Mesa d’Oito on Rua Teofilo de Braga. It’s within the Hotel Charming Blue but is open to non-residents – they have a modern Azorean menu with some nice veggie options (the mushroom risotto using Sao Jorge cheese was excellent) and great desserts.

Charming Blue (Casa dos Monteiros)

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

#07 – If you’d prefer a more laid-back and informal evening, the best place for pestiscos, pizzas, cocktails and cold beer is the romantically named Organizações Central Pub E Ginásio – known locally as the Central Pub.

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

#08 – Santa Maria’s Grande Trilha is one of the best-loved walks in the Azores – if you’re planning to walk the trail, there are restaurants conveniently placed across each stage of this classic hike. Day One takes you by O Paqueteoverlooking the beach at Praia Formosa. It’s a lovely spot on a sunny summer’s day and the obvious choice for lunch if you’re spending the day at the beach.

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

#09 – Beginning Day Two, the Restaurant Prazeres in the village of Maia is perhaps a little early in the walk for food but it’s a nice coffee stop. You’re more likely to be peckish as you arrive in the village of Santo Espirito – I’d recommend a stop at the Handicraft Co-op. At the front is the bakery selling fresh bread and orelha biscuits, and at the rear are the hand-driven looms which are used to create the traditional blankets and tablecloths you’ll also see for sale.

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

#09 –  Towards the end of Day Two, you’ll pass through the east coast village of São Lourenço – home to one of our favourite restaurants on the island: the Restaurante Ponta Negra. The terrace has one of the best seaviews in the Azores, and the menu is pretty good too.

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

Across the steep hillside which forms the backdrop to the village, you’ll see family-owned vineyards extending as far as the steep gradient will allow. The grapes are used to produce sweet liqueurs and each family has its own closely-guarded recipe. The Ponta Negra usually has a few varieties available: Aguardente, Licor de Amor, Vinho Abafado and Vinho Abafadinho.

Across the steep hillside which forms the backdrop to the village, you'll see family-owned vineyards extending as far as the steep gradient will allow. The grapes are used to produce sweet liqueurs and each family has its own closely-guarded recipe. The Ponta Negra usually has a few varieties available: Aguardente, Licor de Amor, Vinho Abafado and Vinho Abafadinho.

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

#10 – Day Three of the Grand Trail takes you across Santa Maria’s north coast, meandering inland to take in Pico Alto, the highest point on the island at 587m. Senhora Alice Bapista’s café is your last coffee stop/food opportunity before you head into the forests on Pico Alto, and via the red desert at Barreiro da Faneca to the north coast town of Anjos. Bar dos Anjos is the place to refuel after a hard day’s hiking – followed by a swim in the nearby Zona Balnear seapools.

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

#11 – Completing your circuit of the island on Day Four, you’ll be walking along the remote western coast trail which brings you back into Vila via the main harbour. Lookout for the (blue and white) Clube Naval – good for lunch or dinner, and they serve excellent shellfish.

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

Where to eat on Flores, Corvo and Santa Maria

 

Our Where to eat guides are based on our first-hand experience and our love of great Portuguese cuisine:

Where to eat in Ponta Delgada

Where to eat on Sao Miguel – Sete Cidades and the west

Where to eat on Sao Miguel – the north coast

Where to eat on Sao Miguel – Furnas and the east

Where to eat on Sao Miguel – the south coast

Where to eat in Angra

Where to eat on Terceira

Where to eat in Lisbon

Where to eat in Funchal

Archipelago Choice Azores specialists

We specialise in tailor-made holidays to the nine islands of the Azores Call Paul on 017687 721020 to begin planning your personalised trip.

 

 

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