In this article we will list not only the best restaurants in Ponta Delgada, in our opinion, but also the best restaurants in São Miguel and in the Azores in general.
If you're reading this article, you're likely looking to answer the question "where can I eat well without spending a fortune in Ponta Delgada, in São Miguel island?"
All of the suggestions you'll find in the list below are guaranteed to provide a gastronomic experience you'll want to repeat. The price might oscillate between the different suggestions, but there are options for wallets of all sizes.
The largest concentration of restaurants in São Miguel islands can be found in Ponta Delgada. For this reason it shouldn't be too surprising that the list is mostly dominated by restaurants located in Ponta Delgada.
Located in Rua do Aljube, in the centre of Ponta Delgada, A Tasca is one of the most sought after gastronomic points of interest for those visiting the island. With a rustic decor, in the style of a tavern ("tasca" in Portuguese), the restaurant takes great care in the cuisine. Proof of this is the fact that there is rarely an empty table: try to schedule a reservation well in advance. The space is mostly decorated with a maritime motif and, on the ground floor, there's a space dedicated to art, where artists can display their works. The menu has a very original format: it's in the form of a newspaper. The delicious grilled tuna loin with sesame seeds, the codfish and the tavern-style octopus are some of the house specialties. The pork flakes, fava beans with spareribs, or calf sirloin steak are also delicious dishes worthy of attention.
Alcides distinguishes itself with its welcoming, homey and well decorated ambiance, one of the most famous restaurants in downtown Ponta Delgada, with its famed "Alcides Steak," with a succulent and delicious meat. You'll also find fresh fish and a varied menu of dishes typical to the region.
Rotas is one of the most famous vegetarian restaurants in Ponta Delgada. With a concept and décor that sets it apart from all others on the island, this restaurant has an inviting air, making you feel at home. Of the delicious vegetarian dishes, there is the soy lasagna, vegetarian chop suey with whole grain salad, or the daily specials with very accessible pricing. The menu is seasonal, lining up with the ideal timing for each product. Reserving a table in advance is recommended, as the restaurant doesn't have many tables and is almost always full, especially at dinner time.
Boca de Cena, located at the historic centre of Ponta Delgada, wagers on its personalised service and Portuguese cuisine. The menu is composed of various original and under-explored delicacies from the island and is only managed by one person, who cooks and waits the tables, without ever neglecting the dishes' presentations! The dishes are built based on the various energy groups – protein, vitamins, etc – which, besides being a balanced meal, is quite delightful. A cozy restaurant, inviting to the tasting of dishes such as the honey-brazed tuna, crispy octopus, or pheasant breast in rosemary sauce.
Located in the parish of São Roque, the restaurant specialises in regional food, famous for its region-style steak, making it deserving of a visit. This is one of the more traditional locations, ideal for tasting the sirloin steak with egg, pepper, french fries and a delicious sauce. The space is modern and simple, with a terrace with a view of the sea, relying also on a diverse menu that includes daily specials.
Tasquinha Vieira is a dynamic space, composed of two small rooms (one of which is ideal for groups) and a terrace, in Ponta Delgada. Every week, novelties are added to the menu, influenced by the current season. The dishes are quite different from what you can find elsewhere in São Miguel: fish custards, swordfish belly with peppers and vegetables, pork bellies with yam puree from Furnas and grilled season's vegetables, as well as various Azorean cheeses.
P'alma Sushi is the first restaurant in São Miguel presenting a menu exclusively dedicated to sushi, using the region's fresh fish. Located in Ponta Delgada, the restaurant incorporates several different ideas and presents a menu dedicated in large part to sushi fusion, to distinguish itself from traditional sushi, ideal for those who dislike the texture of raw fish.
Otaka, located in Ponta Delgada, dedicates itself to local products, like the fish of the day, representing a Japanese base. Try a sampling menu, the "Descobertas" (discoveries), the "Õtaka," or the "Experiência", or simply order a la carte. Salads, tempuras, and even the much sought after Alaskan black cod, are some of the dishes you can choose and chase down with teas, sakes and Azorean and Japanese beers, or Japanese wines and liqueurs.
Bar da Caloura, located in Rua da Caloura, in Água de Pau, is one of the mandatory stops on this island. One of the most popular restaurants in São Miguel, it specialises in fish dishes and with a gorgeous view of the sea. It's the ideal spot to do some sunbathing in the natural pool before sampling the entrees and having a delicious wine. The restaurant is nearly always full during lunch hour, so, when you arrive, write your name and number of party members on the slate to wait for a table.
If it's your intent to also stay over in Caloura, there are two options: the Casa do Monte, if you're traveling as a family or in a larger group (up to 8 guests) or the Solar das Araucárias, which is 10 minutes by foot from the beach and has a terrace with a view of the ocean. Any one of the rooms (twin room, balcony suite or queen suite) has a private bathroom. Consult the different options for stays in Caloura on the link.
Cantinho do Cais, located in São Brás, in Ribeira Grande, counts on a typically Azorean menu, specialising in fish. With a fish soup specialty (a must-try!), fish sauce, stewed and roasted octopus, among others, it receives fresh fish daily, such as cutlassfish, rosefish, hake, alfonsino, red snapper and wreckfish, which will delight any great fan of fish.
Very close to São Brás is Porto Formoso. A place of natural beauty that you won't want to miss and where you'll find one of the most beautiful beaches in São Miguel, Praia dos Moinhos. If you'd like to be lodged in Porto Formoso 2 minutes on foot from the beach, the Casa do Porto Formoso is the perfect solution for fans of sand and sea. Two stories tall, the rooms on the upper floor and the social areas, the kitchen and the living room on the lower floor, this house is also fitted with a billiards table, salamander, free cable television and Wi-Fi. You can also cook delicious lunches outdoors on the covered terrace with a cistern and barbecue. Check out the link to rent the Casa do Porto Formoso.
Associação Agrícola, located in Ribeira Grande, is an association of local producers which opened a restaurant in its premises, becoming a classic of São Miguel. A modern space, specialised in Azorean beef, the "Associação style" steak or the steak with Queijo da Ilha are a delight. The restaurant includes an ample room, a bar and a terrace with a lounge and meal areas, allied to the menu of regional flavours, good wines and good desserts, it's the perfect place to dine.
The restaurant is located in Largo do Barracão, in Água de Pau. Prioritising regional products, Casa do Abel offers different dishes from the ones already available in the region. However, the biggest highlight is given to the selection of grilled Azorean meats and the typical codfish, "the faithful friend." As far as entrees are concerned, the cheeses and sausages board, the soup du jour and the "from the garden to the plate" salads – a vegetarian suggestion. The space is quite intimate, with an aesthetically pleasing decor that invites good times.