Restaurant “Santa Maria”:https://www.santamariafunchal.com/ is located in central Funchal down the now trendy, but previously run down, Rua de Santa Maria, a narrow cobbled pedestrian street with pavement tables and eclectic art on the painted “wooden doors.”:http://www.arteportasabertas.com/en/info.html.
Although Santa Maria has tables on the pavement, we were led through the restaurant to a lovely garden, ideal for groups with long white wooden tables and benches (these would have benefited from cushions!).
The “menu”:http://www.santamariafunchal.com/images/pdfs/menu_restaurante.pdf was pretty unique for Madeira with fish, seafood, Italian pizza and Japanese sushi. Most of the group settled for traditional food and we shared platters of mixed olives (served in old sardine cans), charcuterie, warm triangle of flat bread with small portions of garlic bread attractively wrapped up like old fashioned sweets and pesto and oil. Slices of large ripe tomatoes with a local goats cheese was a simple dish but delicious, as was a plate of limpets cooked with lemon.
For main, the majority chose the Madeiran speciality of espada – black scabbardfish fillets rolled in flour, egg and breadcrumbs and fried with banana and sweet potato. The smallest sushi trays of 14 pieces, looked very appetizing but defeated the diners.
Having looked at the dessert menu, it just had to be gin and tonic ice-cream (two of my favourite things!). Three scoops of snowy white ice-cream which was more like a sorbet were served in a large glass goblet with what appeared to be a double shot of gin poured over it. Absolutely delicious!
A great meal and a lovely atmosphere and after the pudding, we walked carefully along the cobbled street, admiring more of the painted wooden doors back to our waiting taxi.