#01 – Sao Miguel’s most famous dish is Cozido – a meat stew which is slow-cooked in the hot volcanic ground on the shores of Lagoa das Furnas. It’s not my favourite Azorean dish if I’m honest – it often feels more like a meat-eaters endurance challenge than an enjoyable meal. If you are planning to eat a cozido for dinner, my advice is to skip lunch (and probably breakfast).
The most famous exponents of cozido are Tony’s Restaurante (just next door to the Igreja da Nossa Senhora de Alegria in the centre of Furnas). Dig deeper into their menu, and you’ll find some great traditional Azorean dishes:
#02 – A good option for a reasonably-priced steak and a cold beer is the Restaurante Caldeiras & Vulcoes at the eastern-end of town, close to chã das caldeiras geysers and the Furnas Boutique Hotel. Owner Mendonca and his sons have also created their own queijada – the Queijada de Inhame das furnas. Queijadas are small Portuguese tarts whose recipes vary from island to island – chef Paulo Costa developed his own variation from a puree of yams, almonds, cinnamon and lemon zest:
#03– Just around the corner from Caldeiras & Vulcoes is the Chalet Tia Mercês – a small teahouse on the banks of Ribeira Amarela. Originally constructed as a bathhouse in the 19th Century, present-day owner Paula Aguiar serves home-made cakes, Azorean cheeses and local Gorreana tea – brewed using the naturally-heated waters of the chã das caldeiras geysers:
#04– Another good lunchtime option (but it’s a great little eatery in the evenings too) is the 3 Bicas Pub (just next door to the Terra Nostra Hotel). Cold beers and nice pizzas for a very reasonable price. More of an option if you’re staying Furnas (rather than passing through) as it’s tricky to park nearby:
#05– A Quinta (on the Avenida Dr Manuel Arriaga) is one of our favourite evening venues in Furnas. Part music venue/part wine bar, they’re popular for their caipirinhas, mojitos and sangria, their great Portuguese wines, pesticos/tapas, home-made burgers and steaks. It’s semi-alfresco – the main barn-like building is long and thin, with a small stage and undercover seating. The southern-side of the barn is fully-open into the extensive gardens which have a typically-Furnas semi-tropical feel, with hand-made furniture and serene lighting under the canopy of trees:
#06 – If you’re staying at the Furnas Boutique Hotel, you’ll naturally spend time in their À Terra Fornaria restaurant. The restaurant is also open to non-residents and I highly recommend a visit – together with their sister hotel the Azor (in Ponta Delgada), they’re big promoters of seasonal Azorean produce:
#07 – Heading out of the Furnas, down to the south east coast of the island – this area of Sao Miguel tends to be overlooked by visitors. This area was once devoted to wheat farming and the cultivation of oranges. In the mid-19th Century, Sao Miguel was the largest exporter of oranges to the UK and the rolling hills and ‘lombas’ in the east were covered in orange groves.
The town of Povoacao has a colourful main square and it’s Jardim Municipal is lined with cafés – my favourite lunchspot is the Pic Nic Bar. Good for soups, sandwiches, pizzas, burgers and fries – all excellent value. Be sure to try their locally-made Fofa pastries – best-described as a giant chocolate éclair, which you normally only see in Povoacao (and occasionally on the island of Faial):
#08 – Down on the seafront is the Cantinho do Churrasco Piano Bar & Grill. Povoacao’s south-facing, sheltered harbour was the arrival point for the very first settlers on Sao Miguel in 1432. The Cantinho isn’t the most attractive building from the outside, but it’s a nice modern restaurant inside, with a lovely view of the ocean and a good menu of Azorean staples:
Our Where to eat guides are based on our first-hand experience and our love of great Portuguese cuisine:
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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