An Azorean Food Guide – Where to Eat, Drink, and Be Happy in São Miguel, Azores

The Azores archipelago has experienced many changes over the years. What has remained consistent is their talent of producing delicious food. From citrus to pineapples, world-class cheese, and tea - the rich volcanic soils on the islands provide an ideal environment for agriculture. And lucky for us, good soil = great food!

7 minute read
A smoking bbq in a park in the Azores
The perfect summer lunch in the Azores

You will find the classic restaurants known and loved by tourists on the list, as well as lesser-known gems that deserve some love! From cozy breakfast spots to farm-to-table experiences, local vineyards, food trucks, dinner spots, and how to have an Azorean picnic in São Miguel - Lets dive in.

Contents

Breakfast and Brunch, Where to Get a Drink, Local Eateries and Lunch Spots, Dinner Spots, Picnics São Miguel,

What to Do After

Breakfast and Brunch ˗ˏˋ☕ˎˊ˗

Jardim Natural Food & Coffee

Brunch spot

📍Ponta Delgada

Located in the Antonio Borges Botanical Garden in Ponta Delgada, you will find this lovely little café nestled between massive trees, ponds, and a bamboo garden. The pancakes here are huge and fluffy, and the chai latte is also really nice. They open at 10am, so it is perfect for brunch. They are closed on Mondays.

Intz48 Coffee Roasters Azores

Speciality coffee roastery and café

📍Ponta Delgada

This is a great spot for espresso, as they roast their beans in-house. They serve a highly rated breakfast as well as pastries and pizzas! 

Where to Get a Drink 🍸🍹🍺

Quinta Da Jardinete 

Vineyard and wine tasting

📍Fenais da Luz

If you want to see an island vineyard, this is the place to go! Owned by an Azorean-Austrian couple, this vineyard is simply beautiful. They offer a tour of their property where you can walk through the vineyard, take in the ocean views, and learn about how they make their wine. 

After the tour, you will be taken to a small chapel on the property where you can taste a selection of their wines. I recommend picking your favorite and buying a bottle or two to bring home or drink the next day.

Tip: Call or message them ahead of time to reserve a tour and tasting.

Résvés

Cocktail bar

📍Ponta Delgada

Delicious hand-crafted cocktails with really great owners. They are really knowledgeable and happy to tell you anything you want to know about what you're drinking. It's a small space with a really cozy atmosphere. If you're able to get a table, you'll have a nice time here.

Tip: The Drunken Bee cocktail is delicious!

Taberna na Boavista

Tapas restaurant and bar

📍Ponta Delgada

This restaurant and bar has tasty small plates and a relaxing garden terrace. They have a great espresso martini and cocktail menu!  It's connected to a hostel, so the atmosphere is really fun and relaxed.

Santa Barbara Beach Club - Surf & Snacks

Beach bar

📍Praia Santa Barbara

This small beach bar is a great spot for a casual coffee, beer, or snack. It is located next to the Santa Barbara Eco-Beach Resort, overlooking the ocean. Come here to relax and watch the surfers below. Use the parking lot next to the resort and head down the pathway to the beach. There is also a surf school here where you can rent boards or take a lesson!

Tip: It can be hard to find as there's no signage. Follow the signs to the Santa Barbara Eco Resort and you'll find it!

Gorreana Tea Factory - Sao Bras

Tea plantation and café

📍Sao Bras

Stop by to taste the tea grown on the island - it's completely free! They also sell some pastries, sandwiches and souvenirs as well.

Tip: While you're here, wander through the beautiful tea fields and go on one of the hikes nearby. 

Local Eateries and Lunch Spots🍔🍕

O Moinho Terrace Café

Ocean-side restaurant - casual

📍Praia dos Moinhos

This is a wonderful spot for a casual lunch. It is located right on the Praia dos Moinhos beach. The terrace is full of picnic tables, and you will likely see a rooster or two running around. 

We have been here many times and have never been disappointed in a meal. Our favorites are the goat cheese, burgers, fish sandwich, and soup of the day! And the deserts have always been great...you will leave full and happy. 

Come Bebe Food Stand

Bifana spot - food truck

📍VIla Franca do Campo

Have you heard of bifanas? If you are on the island, or in Portugal in general, it's something you should try. The makings of a bifana include a pork steak, seasoned with garlic and spices, then put inside a bread roll. 

This colorful food truck offers one of the best versions of the local bifana, as well as burgers.

Rulote Vamos Vandim

Bifana spot - food truck

📍Santa Barbara, Ribeira Grande

Authentic local spot to get a quick bifana and a beer after a surf session. They also have a yummy vegetarian burger.  The local drink of choice to pair with a bifana is a small beer which you can find on the other side of this food truck!

Tip: They are vegetarian friendly and offer a veggie burger here.

Dinner Spots 🍽️

For seafood in São Miguel, go to..🐟

Café Canto do Cais

Tavern

📍Capelas

Come here if you like fish and are extra hungry! The portions are not only generous, but beautifully plated with fresh fruits like pineapple, passion fruit, and more. 

The atmosphere is like a fisherman style tavern with walls covered in messages from past guests. It's one of our favorites for a relaxed, delicious dinner.

Bar Caloura

Ocean-side restaurant

📍Caloura

For fish of the day, this ocean-front restaurant is hard to beat. It is often quite busy here and there are no reservations, so you may have to wait to be seated. This isn’t usually a problem and the average wait time in high season is 30 minutes max. While you wait you can enjoy the ocean views!

Tip: There is a natural swimming pool right next to this restaurant that you can relax at, but it can get busy when it's nice out. It's worth checking out while you're there!

Alabote

Ocean-side restaurant

📍Ribeira Grande

For fresh seafood, great wine, and a view of a surf beach for entertainment, it has everything that makes for a good dining experience. Try the cheese starter - it’s a delicious assortment of cheeses made in the Azores!

They have a large terrace that overlooks Monte Verde beach. If you’re in Ribeira Grande, it's a great spot to enjoy the evening.

For vegetarian and vegan options in São Miguel, go to.. 🌱

Taberna na Boavista

Tapas (small plates)

📍Ponta Delgada

You might have seen this listed under “drinks” as well. It's great in both regards! Some places have it all. The vegetarian options here are varied and interesting, from beet tartar to fried green beans - we loved it all.

For a farm-to-table experience in São Miguel, go to.. 🌱🌱🌱

Lapsa Garden

Farm to table experience

📍Relva

Lapsa Garden offers an incredible dining experience. After a 15-minute hike down the Rocha da Relva trail that offers sweeping views of the ocean, you reach a cozy house where you will be greeted warmly with the smell of aromatic herbs and flowers. The owner is an Azorean chef who worked professionally in London for ten years. Now he is back on the island, working as a farmer and offering his top-notch chef skills through this experience. A few cats and dog might also come to say hi to you while you enjoy the sunset from the patio!

If the view wasn’t reason enough, his food is incredibly prepared and paired with a local selection of wine.

Tip: Don't just show up - call or message the number on their website to make a reservation for this experience.

Picnics in São Miguel 🧺🌷🌳

Why should you have a picnic here?

Usually placed in front of expansive ocean views or lush forests, these aren't your average picnic setups. You'll come across tables made from volcanic rock, wood, and concrete. Most of them are strategically placed near barbecues, with the added bonus of free firewood for you to use! We didn't see many people using them when we first arrived, but then again, the chance that it would rain or have strong winds are pretty high on winter days. 

Quite picnic and BBQ spot on the north side of São Miguel, overlooking the ocean

Little did we know that come summertime, these picnic spots become such a beloved pastime for the people living in the Azores!

Pre-Picnic Recommendations

  • Check Spot Azores for real-time webcam footage of the area you want to go to. (even if it's sunny in one part of the island, it can be totally different somewhere else!)
  • Use Windy for the most accurate weather predictions (Although the best way to lie in the Azores is to say you know what the weather will be).

Finding the Perfect Picnic Spot

So, how are you supposed to know where to go? The picnic spots on the island are not very well documented yet. Mostly, you will happen upon them by chance. You might find a few, but you won't get to enjoy them without knowing in advance! If you want to plan your trip better and not leave it to chance, download our map to find beautiful picnic spots near you. We've been to just about all of them - and found some really dreamy locations.

Picnic table under a shelter at a viewpoint in the south-east of São Miguel
A great spot for a picnic under a large tree overlooking a beach on the south side of São Miguel

Where to Get Local Produce 🍍🍓🧀

Vegan or Vegetarian Protein Alternative

If you're looking for a fun vegetarian or vegan option, MyMush is a small business on the island that grows delicious oyster mushrooms! You can send them a message to pick some up or find them at the Santana Farmers Market on Thursday mornings.

Fruits and Veggies

If you want fresh, sweet, locally produced strawberries, look no further than Casa da Mouca in Ribeira Grande. This family-owned strawberry farm produces fruits that will make the perfect addition to an Azorean picnic. It's also a really fun experience to pick the strawberries, meet their dog, and learn all about growing the berries. Call them before you want to visit to make sure they are open to welcome you.

If you are in São Miguel on a Thursday morning, head straight to the Santana Farmers Market in Rabo de Peixe. It’s full of local produce, flowers, fish, fresh cheese, honey, mushrooms, eggs, and sweets. My mouth is watering just writing this! It’s a great way to experience the local culture and food. Don’t forget to bring small cash and practice your Portuguese greetings and numbers before you go.

An Azorean picnic is the perfect chance to try some of the famous pineapple from São Miguel! You can buy this straight from one of the pineapple greenhouses, (we like this one) or from one of the grocery stores listed below.

Cheese, Meats, Fish, Bread

For everything you can't find at the farmers market, you can find at the grocery store! We like Continente as it has a lot of options, as does Pingo Doce. The Spar on the island are relatively small, but they also have all the essentials.

Ready-made Picnic

If you prefer to have a ready-made picnic, put together by a wonderful local small business, look no further than Maria Picnic Azores. She will put together a delicious meal for you, including a picnic blanket and basket!

Picnic Packing List

  • Picnic blanket
  • Local drinks like Kima (passionfruit soda), wine, beer, water
  • Food for grilling 
  • Fresh fruits
  • Azorean cheese
  • Firewood - just incase*
  • Bag to put your trash in incase there is no trash can nearby

*For firewood, stop by the Agriloja closest to you. If you buy too much, you can leave it at the BBQ for the next group :)

Don’t Forget

This island isn't just a vacation destination; it's home to approximately 140,000 people. So, while you're here, it's essential to clean up after yourself and be open to embracing the local way of doing things. When you respect the local culture and the beautiful surrounding environment, you will get an authentic Azorean experience. We also wrote an article about the driving culture here and how driving in the Azores works.

What To Do After 

So, you just had a wonderful picnic overlooking a lush landscape of rolling green hills. What should you do after? You can go into an ancient volcanic cave, have a tasting at a local vineyard, go on a hike if you're not too sleepy from the good food, tour the pineapple plantation, try surfing those beautiful Azorean waves, take a dip in a hot spring, or simply take a nap and be happy after a beautiful day.

Hi we're Sarah & Gregor
We love unconventional adventures and exploring ruins. You can typically find us petting a cat, fermenting veggies, surfing (trying to anyway), or writing another article for you to enjoy.