Madeira on a budget – Part I – Food

Madeira Island on a budget: Cheap bars/restaurants in Pingo Doce supermarkets
"Here prices are always low" - Pingo Doce budget buffets

For all of you, fulfilling your dream of visiting Madeira Island, but with a very limited budget, I have prepared a new series of posts about budget options for meals, accommodation and transport in Madeira. 

Today, a couple of ideas for cheaper or cheap meals in Madeira.

  

How expensive is food on Madeira Island?

The age-old question of most tourists: are restaurants in Madeira expensive? Where to find cheap eats in Madeira?

In Madeira you will find something for every budget. In most restaurants, prices range between 10 and 20 euro per dish/ per person, excluding drinks. In addition to expensive and moderate restaurants in hotels and touristic places, you will also find smaller and cheaper restaurants and bars, where locals eat. Usually, they are located outside the city center, but even in Funchal, turning into smaller side streets and outside the tourist areas you find bars serving well-priced dishes and sandwiches.

The same applies to coffee in Madeira. In tourist places, especially around the Funchal Marina, a cup of coffee can cost a couple of euro, while in small local bars you can pay as low as 80 cents. It’s worth taking a quick look at the menu before you sit at the table.

 

“Prego” sandwiches, Madeira hamburgers and other cheap options

Warm sandwiches called “Prego” are very popular on Madeira. They are steak sandwiches served with the beloved local garlic bread called “Bolo do Caco”. A plain “Prego” sandwich includes only the steak, but the most popular is the “Prego Especial” sandwich containing typically, besides a piece of beef, also ham, cheese and vegetables. In many places, for just a couple of euro, you will be able to get a garlic bread, either plain or filled with chicken meat, tuna or salmon (+-3 euro) or simple toasts with cheese, ham (+-2 euro). Some bars also serve “simplified” burgers – small burger kind of sandwiches served in ordinary bread or garlic “Bolo de Caco” bread.

What to eat in Madeira. Madeira on a budget - Prego & Prego Especial Sandwiches

You can find such “Prego” sandwiches or Maderanian burgers, for around 3 euros, for example at: Casa dos Pregos, Castelo dos Hamburguers or Casa do Bolo do Caco.

What to eat in Madeira. Madeira on a budget - Prego & Prego Especial Sandwiches
What to eat in Madeira. Madeira on a budget - Prego & Prego Especial Sandwiches
What to eat in Madeira. Madeira on a budget - Prego & Prego Especial Sandwiches

“Tourist menu” options in Madeira

In touristic places, especially in the Old Town of Funchal, where on one small street more than 10 restaurants are fighting for clients, you can see “Tourist Menu” options including three-course dinners as little as 10-12 euros. What to expect from such a menu? When choosing a “Tourist Menu”, you will get smaller portions of popular local dishes. You are not likely to save a lot, but it is a good option for those who would like to try many local dishes in a short time.

Lapas - Limpets: fried and served on a frying pan with garlic and butter; typical dish from Madeira
Lapas (Limpets) & Bolo do Caco (Garlic bread) - a winning combo which every tourist should try at least once. PHOTO: Say Yes To Madeira
Largo do Corpo Santo Street in Funchal, Maderia Island ~ Turystyczne restauracje na ulicy Largo do Corpo Santo w Funchal na Maderze
Largo do Corpo Santo restaurant street in the Old Town PHOTO: Say Yes To Madeira

Cheap bars/buffets in Pingo Doce supermarkets

If you travel to Madeira on a budget, I recommend that you also check out the Pingo Doce supermarket buffets

Pingo Doce is the most popular supermarket chain on the island. Inside some of these supermarkets, there is a buffet-restaurant, where you pay only 10.59 euro per kilogram during lunch, or 8.99 euros after 5pm. The economic menu costs 5.49 euros per kg and for grilled chicken costs as little as 5.29 euros. There are also some other cheap options to choose from.

Here is a list and a map of five Pingo Doce supermarkets where these buffets are present:

1.  PINGO DOCE MONUMENTAL 
ESTRADA MONUMENTAL 318, 9000-100 FUNCHAL

2.  PINGO DOCE – INSIDE ANADIA SHOPPING CENTRE
RUA DO RIBEIRINHO 90, 50-020 FUNCHAL

3. PINGO DOCE – INSIDE MADEIRA FORUM SHOPPING CENRE
ESTRADA MONUMENTAL 390, 9000-693 FUNCHAL

4. PINGO DOCE  – INSIDE LA VIE SHOPPING CENTRE
 BRITO CAMARA, 9000-039 FUNCHAL

5. PINGO DOCE  IN CANICO
ESTRADA DA GARAJAU 9125-067, CANIÇO (close to Cristo Rei Statue)

Madeira on a budget: budget buffets in Pingo Doce supermarkets ~ Madera tanio: tanie posiłki na Maderze. Bufety "Sabores ao kg" w supermarkecie Pingo Doce #madeira #funchal
Madeira on a budget: budget buffets in Pingo Doce supermarkets ~ Madera tanio: tanie posiłki na Maderze. Bufety "Sabores ao kg" w supermarkecie Pingo Doce #madeira #funchal
Madeira on a budget: budget buffets in Pingo Doce supermarkets ~ Madera tanio: tanie posiłki na Maderze. Bufety "Sabores ao kg" w supermarkecie Pingo Doce #madeira #funchal
Madeira on a budget: budget buffets in Pingo Doce supermarkets ~ Madera tanio: tanie posiłki na Maderze. Bufety "Sabores ao kg" w supermarkecie Pingo Doce #madeira #funchal
Madeira Island on a budget: Cheap bars/restaurants in Pingo Doce supermarkets
PHOTO: Courtesy of Pingo Doce pingodoce.pt

 

Cheaper restaurant meals thanks to discount apps such as The Fork

THE FORK–  a website and an app linked to the most popular tourist guide in the world – Trip Advisor  – often offering good discounts to recommended restaurants. We noticed this app quite late and we tested it only during the last group dinner in Madeira. We chose a place offering a 40% discount on a la carte. With a hungry group of 10, it was a very high amount.

Initially, we were sceptical, but when we received a bill discounted by 40%, we already knew that this app would be a hit during all our holidays. We really regretted noticing it so late, as the night before, we missed a 40% discount in a great restaurant, where a day earlier, with a large group of wedding guests we spent over 400 euro… And it was not at all a bad “tourist trap” restaurant, but one of our favourite and recommended ones in Funchal, serving great espetada.

With the same app, since then, we have discovered several nice restaurants in Spain and Portugal.

As always, when choosing a place, you should check the restaurant’s ratings also in other sources. Nevertheless, I recommend it.

And you? What are your tips?  Help others and share your tips in the comments below!

Madera tanio: Tanie posiłki na Maderze
Madeira Island on a budget - Cheap meals ideas and info about bars/ self-service buffets in Pingo Doce supermarkets #budgettravel #travel #madeira #portugal

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