UPDATED: Must-Eat Restaurants in Pico
Updated: Jul 29
Whoever knows me knows that I'm a HUGE foodie! A lot of you know that I am also together with another HUGE foodie (Nathan) so us two foodies together means we're almost always eating.
I think food is one of the biggest reasons we travel.
Now that we've tried alottt of restaurants here in Pico, here are the ones I recommend knowing wholeheartedly that you will have an incredible experience. Btw, these are not listed in any particular order :)
(Slide for all photos) P.s I wish I had more photos, but when I'm at Fonte I'm normally too busy having a mouthgasm and I always forget to take photos.
There are just some places that fulfill your heart and hit the spot. Fonte Tavern is that place.
We have eaten here 4 times and we drive 35 minutes there and 35 back to indulge in their delicious food - yes even in the rain on our scooter. But it’s not just the food that’s perfect at Fonte Tavern, it’s everything else too.
The setting indoors is a cool modern vibe while outside is an enchanting patio with a waterfall and lots of plants!
They make incredible gin & tonics - my favorite - using herbs like basil from their own garden!!
The service is always amazing, with friendly and on-the-ball waiters. In fact, it’s the best I’ve had in all of Pico so far.
Now for the food - what can I say, we’ve tried about 8-10 dishes here and they have all been spectacular.
What’s so cool is they switch up their menu every couple of months and they are always having new daily/weekly special features.
One dish that stood out to us recently was their featured tuna Alcatra. Not sure if that was the name but it was fresh tuna pieces cooked with potatoes in the oven like a dry stew, oh my lord it was so good.
I can literally recommend anything on their menu in a heartbeat, so don’t worry about what to choose, whatever sounds good to you just get it! 🙌🏻
Their prices are also super fair, especially for some of the best food you will try in Pico. We normally have a bill of around €40 euros for 2-3 starters, 1-2 mains, dessert, and 2 gin and tonics.
They also have live music some nights (especially weekends).
Make sure to make a reservation in advance because this place is rightfully popular!
R. Cap. Mor Garcia Gonçalves Madruga 26B, 9930-129 Lajes do Pico
Caffe 5 "Cinq"
If you come to Pico you’ve probably eaten at Cafe 5. It’s right on the main road in Madalena just a quick 2-minute walk from the ferry terminal.
Their Patio is the place to be but the inside has so much character with cute sayings and funny jokes hanging all around the restaurants. Take a look at the ones in the washroom - the cutest!
Their food is frikken delicious. We’ve tried quite a few dishes and the ones I can highly recommend are “Vegetais a bras”, the grilled Lulas (squid), the octopus, the durum falafel wrap, and our absolute favourite the DONNER FALAFEL! We get it with both sauces - the garlic and spicy, thank us later.
We have eaten that falafel way too many times already and we don’t plan on stopping, it's a weekly thing. 😏
The service is also nice and their prices are very reasonable - we normally don’t have a bill higher than €20-25 for 2 giant falafel wraps, fries and a drink.
Caffe 5 "Cinq"
Rua Carlos Dabney 5, 9950-327 Madalena
Right in front of the ferry terminal in Madalena, you’ll find arguably the most lively restaurant & bar in Pico.
With some awesome tracks playing on their sound system, you sit there on the giant patio that’s almost always full and enjoy some of the best food in Pico.
The owner is a sweet, very hard-working lady that has an incredible amount of passion for cooking. All of her dishes are perfection.
This place is so versatile because you can come here for breakfast, and have an Acai bowl, or you can come here for lunch/dinner and have some of the freshest gourmet sushi (upon pre-request)! I’ve tried all go these dishes on the menu and loved them all:
Caril (curry with your choice of protein)
Lulas (their grilled squid sauce is to die for)
Polvo (their octopus is tasty, soft, and drenched in addicting garlicky oil, paired beautifully with sweet potato and more)
Acai bowl (fresh and light and unique)
Sushi * pre-order a couple of days before! (in my top 3 sushi experiences ever and trust me I have eaten a lot of sushi - a bit on the expensive side but worth the experience 1000%)
Salmon in Mustard Sauce (tangy and refreshing)
They also have vegetarian/vegan options available.
Their desserts are delish too!
Prices are slightly leaning on the pricey side but it’s because the food is worth that value!
I really enjoy eating here for the unique, tasty food and the overall welcoming atmosphere you feel when eating here, especially at sunset! 💛
Rua Tras do Castelo, 9950-301 Madalena
We’ve wanted to try this place since 3 years ago when we first came to Pico.
It is a casual fine dining restaurant in Sao Roque that makes you feel like you’re in a food tasting experience but in a fun, cutesy, classy, friendly environment.
When we went to Sao Roque, Nathan was super hungry and he’s heard super good things about this place and he said we should try to get there right at opening, 7pm - and since they have no reservations (first come first serve), Nathan didn’t want to take the risk of us not getting a seat.
I thought he was being a bit silly because how could a restaurant get possibly full even if we were 10 minutes late to open time.
We got there 7:01 and I kid you not there was a lineup of at least 7 people at the door already.
By the time we ordered, the place was entirely reserved.
The food was excellent. We had a little mishap with the service which ended up meaning that our main plates weren’t served until an hour later, but it must have been a rare case and everyone else around us got their food in a timely manner :) I can vouch for that as I was eyeballing every plate that passed us by, practically drooling.
We tried the watermelon gazpacho, which I had no idea was cold soup. It was one of the best appetizers I’ve ever had in my life! I would be lying if I said I didn’t scrape the soup to the last drop.
After we heard our food would still be a while we ordered the bread platter with butter and cheese and I’m not sure if it was because I was starving but damn that bread was warm and slightly toasty and they did not cheap out on the butter! 😍
We then had the polvo (octopus) and the fish on a lemon risotto.
The polvo was so fresh and soft and light and perfectly paired with a red pepper/chorizo tasting purée and vegetables.
The lemon risotto was tasty, I felt it could have used a few more minutes of cooking and the fish could have been a bit crispier.
But one of the highlights of our experience was their dessert! I can’t even describe how good both desserts were.
Unfortunately, our phone died so I couldn’t take photos of the desserts but basically one was a pudim of what seems to be ovos moles but I’m not sure (for those of you who don’t know what ovos moles is, it’s basically sweet egg curd and it’s delicious). It was a delight! We also had the Tarte de Maracujá with pomegranate and mango coulis - top 3 tarts I’ve ever had in my life.
Overall I would recommend Casa Âncora to anyone. It was, however, the most expensive bill we’ve had on the island (I believe it was about €70-€80 so it’s not a place I’d eat at regularly, but definitely worth it if you’re looking to treat yourself to some awesome food.
Rua do Cais 29-B, 9940-355 São Roque do Pico
Garrafeira Da Vila
Swipe for all photos.
We originally came to Garrafeira Da Vila for a wine tasting but when we got there we learned we could only taste wines if we pre-ordered the tasting. So we had a bottle of champagne instead.
It’s a hidden place in Madalena’s centre with a warm interior and cute little patio outback.
We don’t eat meat (unless it's a rare occasion where it’s something we can just try a spoon of and call it a day) but if you’re a meat lover, it smelled like they make really good meat dishes.
We ended up going back to try the food because it smelled so good the first time we went for drinks but we weren’t hungry.
The second time around, we ordered the salada de polvo (octopus salad), vegan sliders, fish sliders and fries. Boy were we surprised! Firstly they were pretty big sliders, the vegan patty is homemade with beans and other veggies and was very moist and tasty. It was topped with caramelized onions and delicious melted vegan cheese! We only ordered 3 at first and ended up ordering another 2 because it was just that good. We did add a tiny bit of salt to the burger but being a master vegan burger maker myself, I know it happens to the best of us and just sprinkling a bit of salt on the patty was all it needed to be an 11/10!! The fish was cooked perfectly as well. Their fries were also homemade, perfectly crunchy and just the right amount of salt too! 👅
The octopus salad was the best I've tried on the whole island, and the "why not" cola really made us feel like we were in an upscale diner experience which was very fun.
Overall I would recommend this place to anyone looking for a bite and drinks in Madalena for dinner.
Can’t wait to hopefully go back and have a wine tasting there, I’ll let you guys know how it went!
Garrafeira da Vila
Rua Engenheiro Álvaro de Freitas 1B, 9950-335 Madalena
(Swipe for all photos)
If you’ve looked for restaurants in Pico, you have definitely heard of Cella Bar. It’s home to the Award for the building of the year by Art Daily in 2016.
Cella bar is almost always full, so either have a reservation or come at a non-busy time like 4 pm.
We didn’t know if Cella Bar would live up to the hype, since it looked more like a tourist attraction and a place for drinks.
We were happily surprised. 🤩
We sat on the patio with an incredible view of Faial.
We ordered the Polvo (octopus) that came with roasted carrots, roasted potatoes and a delicious spinach dip on a garlicky olive oil sauce. It was probably the best polvo we have had in 5 months of being here. It was cooked to perfection, honestly, kudos to the chef!
We also had the bread with the olives and butter starter, both very delicious. The port-wine was also incredible - even though we were charged extra for it than what was on the menu, but it was still worth it.
The only thing I would recommend to them is to have their menu on QR code’s on the tables so that people can begin looking at what they want instead of waiting a really long time to get a menu (because they’re just so busy so sometimes it’s hard to maintain all those tables and promptly provide menus - for example, we waited a good 15 minutes just to get a menu).
Can’t wait to go back and try more of their dishes.
We went back the next day for dessert and coffee. This time we sat in the beautiful wooden barrel-looking structure which has a super cool vibe. We had the chocolate mousse … it is THE CHOCOLATE MOUSE that you want to try from their desserts - although I’m sure the other ones are great too. It’s not like traditional chocolate mousse, but rather more of their own take on it. It’s like a denser version of mousse, almost like a chocolate caramel dip, they put hardly any egg whites for sure. It was lovely, 1 enough to share though since their portions are huge and it’s a filling one!
Their coffee is also really tasty. We tried the espresso - yummy!
We also mustered up the courage to try their coffee iced tea.
Who the heck thought of putting coffee in iced tea? A smart human that’s who. It was weirdly refreshing and fun and completely new but pleasantly familiar. I would recommend you try it for the hell of it!
The price is standard for Canadian/American prices so a bit pricey for Pico but definitely worth it.
p.s Went there again recently (summer 2022) and did not enjoy their "Tabua de Natura" or their "caramelized squid" would not recommend those dishes.
Rua Da Barca, 9950-303 Madalena
This cute restaurant just beside the Esplanada Dark restaurant, right in front of the ferry terminal, is a great place for delicious traditional Portuguese food.
Owned by a husband and wife, with family cooking the food, going to Arruda is like stepping into a Portuguese home.
Their lunch is a buffet-style experience at a whopping €8 for all you can eat!! But it’s not just a regular buffet. Their food is frikken delicious! Just like a traditional Portuguese mom/grandma would make it. They have plentiful options from veggies to fish to meat and everything is fresh all the time.
For dinner, the space turns into a regular restaurant where you can order dishes off the menu. Try the Lulas!! (Squid/calamari) 😍
Try the Lulas either grilled or fried, they’re some of the best I’ve had here. We also got to try their bacalhau- perfectly soft and juicy.
Also, get their wine - so good and I believe it’s under €3 for a pitcher!
Overall, Pub Arruda is a place I highly recommend as a budget-friendly, extremely delicious restaurant with great service!
Rua Atrás do Beco, S/N, Madalena, Pico 9950-000 Portugal
U7 Lanchonete (Food truck)
This food truck in the Brico Dutra (their Home Depot) parking lot had to make it on my list.
A gentleman from Germany moved to Pico over a decade ago off of one trip to Pico where he knew this was home for him.
Falling in love with the peace here, he picked up everything and moved here with his wife.
They serve pitas, wraps, and appetizers that will wow you!
The pita bread itself is homemade with fresh ingredients, and you can definitely taste the difference. 👌🏼
The ingredients inside are fresh, mostly raw, and with the delicious homemade hummus and sauces, it makes the most refreshing, light wraps.
They also make homemade ice cream which was very tasty and the kind gentleman offered it to us complimentary since we’d been going there pretty often - the wraps are just damn good.
Oh, and did I mention that including appetizers like wedges, falafel balls, 2 wraps and drinks, the bill almost never passes €15?
Highly recommend this food truck for a quick, healthy, delicious snack!
Rua dos Briscoitos 9950-104 Madalena, Portugal
Last but not least, Georgette. Located on the farthest right side of the island, about an hour from Madalena lies a cute little restaurant owned by a couple from France.
It overlooks the ocean and has a beautiful patio with lights as well.
We attempted to eat here before but they are always fully reserved, so we booked a week in advance.
We drove 1 hour in rainy conditions on our scooter and 1 hour back just to try this place that we’ve heard about serving fine dining food from a French chef! Yes, we had a separate change of clothes just for our scooter ride 😅
Their menu is a flat rate of different combos like either appetizer & a plate or appetizer + plate + dessert. We did the 3 courses each at €23 per person.
We also ordered a bottle of wine which we drank half of and took the rest home.
We immediately loved how they only had a perfect amount of tables so they could focus on making your experience memorable.
For the starters, Nathan got the bone marrow (remember I said how we only eat meat on the rare occasion when it’s something completely new and just a bite - well this is one of those times) and I got the smoked fish starter.
Oh, spoiler alert, you’ll probably never try the same dishes as us because they change their menu every single week! How cool is that? 😎
But don’t worry, almost all do their food is organic and originates in Pico. They only make dishes that week based on what’s fresh and available at that time. So I’m sure your menu wi be just as cool as ours!
Both of the starters we ordered were immaculate and literally melted in our mouths. We were hooked.
For the entrees, I ordered the Lulas (squid) with butternut squash 3 ways and rice. Nathan had the panko-crusted Aubergine (eggplant) with lentil salad, roasted tomato and sautéed bok Choy. The butternut squash was divine! The Lulas were a bit on the harder side for my taste if I’m being honest but still chewable so it was fine for me. The eggplant dish was delightful. The aubergine was cooked to perfection and when mixed with the roasted tomato it tasted like what an eggplant parmigiana should taste like. The bok choy was a real winner on that plate too.
For dessert we had the spongy orange mousse with fresh orange pieces and a ginger-like crumble, the mousse itself was made out of egg whites so it wasn’t creamy but rather foamy. It was light, refreshing, and delicious!
We also had the creamy mousse with fig compote, fresh fig, cooked egg white (suspiro), and a creamy, almost lemony sauce. It was also delicious.
The coffee was a real highlight too - their bean is just the one we love the most - not too much acidity, dark roast, and super tasty.
Overall, our 2-hour drive in the rain was worth it and I would recommend this place as a fine dining, creative food experience. For our dinner, we paid €60 on the dot. So it’s one of the highest bills we’ve had, which is normal being a fine dining restaurant.
Can’t wait to go back and try an entirely new menu - hopefully their homemade ravioli is on the next one we try!
Estrada Regional 1-2 N°12, Foros, 9930-055, Calheta de Nesquim, Portugal
I recently got to try out some restaurants on the north side of Pico Island, one of them being Adega Açoriana.
The place is super cute, beautifully decorated and beautiful right in front of the ocean. We went on a rainy day so we sat inside but I’m pretty sure they have a cool patio too. The chalet-type interior felt very cozy and modern.
I must admit that the experience of entering the place could have been a little better as it took us a little while to be greeted considering the host was right there all along - we thought they were a guest and only noticed after that his shirt had the company’s logo. But that’s no biggie because what was yet to come would make up for it tenfold.
The food is tapas style - my favourite - which allowed us to try a bunch of different dishes in one sitting. And we came with an appetite!
We ordered the bacalhau (codfish) toasts, the mushroom toasts, the shrimp & cream cheese toasts, the grilled tuna plate and 2 glasses of wine. We also got 2 desserts because, well, this was my birthday celebration 🥳
The codfish toast was one of the best codfish I’ve ever had. It was grilled perfectly, it was the perfect level of salty, garlicky, oily and very fresh! The mushrooms were juicy, full of flavor, and overall an excellent toast. I would probably skip the shrimp next time just because I know how super good shrimp tastes and it didn’t hit that mark, but it was pretty good nonetheless. The tuna was also fresh and delicious.
I can only imagine what their meat dishes taste like - so for the meat lovers out there, let me know if you try it out!
The house wine was so good that we actually questioned if it was indeed house wine. At something like 2€ a cup, we were astonished by the quality.
The desserts were homemade and incredible! We got a slice of “bolo de bolacha” which is basically cookies and cream cake which is usually done with “Maria cookies” (a portuguese staple in every house) but they did it with a delicious cookie that’s Azorean called - Mulata. It’s a chocolate thin cookie and I think their unique spin on the regular Portuguese cookies and cream was awesome! We also had a homemade maracujá (passionfruit) cheesecake which was light, fluffy, and delightful!
The service was super quick, perfectly paced and the waitress was sweet and helpful.
I would definitely recommend Adega Açoriana to anyone looking for a great restaurant in Pico.
Another recent restaurant I got to experience in Pico recently is MAGMA Restaurant. This restaurant is part of Lava Homes - one of Pico’s most well-known and luxury stays.
MAGMA’s location is an experience on its own. I recommend coming before sunset so that you can actually see where you are while you’re eating because it’s magical. You’re so high up that you get a perfect view of the ocean and São Jorge island. After all, it’s situated in “Terra Alta” which translates literally to “high ground”.
The restaurant from the outside and within is modern, upscale, and is the perfect place for a date night.
The service is excellent here, there is always someone to attend to your needs.
Now let's get to the part everyone is waiting for - the food.
We ordered the “favas” (traditionally made Portuguese beans) as a starter, the bacalhau, a vegetarian version of their “pulled pork” on a chestnut purée, and a dessert. We also ordered gas water, a caipirinha, and a gin and tonic as drinks.
The favas were great, very tasty and very Portuguese - just how we like it!
The drinks were amazing!! I know a good caipirinha when I taste one and this was IT! The gin was also perfect, 10/10 stars. I would definitely recommend ordering one of their cocktails/alcoholic drinks because the bar knows what they’re doing! The gas water comes in their own bottle and it’s such a cool experience because the bubbles rising with the word “MAGMA” on it looks like volcanic activity is happening in the bottle - I really wish I took a video but I think the caipirinha took away my ability to think ahead for this blog ;)
Guys! I am still dreaming about the vegetarian plate!! They basically changed the pulled pork into roasted zucchini engulfed in mouthwatering sauce, on top of a creamy chestnut purée with a side of pickled red cabbage. I still think about it at least once a week.
It seems their menu changes every once in a while so you might not get the exact plate as I did but don’t be afraid to try the “vegetarian” versions of the food on the menu. The dish will have a little green leaf next to the name on the menu if they can change it to a vegetarian version.
The bacalhau was good but not my favourite style. I felt like they took out too much of the salt and overcooked it a bit. But it could be that some people enjoy a less salty fish or that night's batch could have just been over-soaked so I wouldn’t rule it out completely.
For dessert, we got the warm chocolate cake brownie with vanilla ice cream and it was delicious!! I’m not a fan of sprinkles so next time I’d ask for it without the sprinkles but the taste and moistness were perfect!
Overall I would 100% recommend you to go to Magma during your visit to Pico.
Hopefully one day I will stay at Lava Homes and give a full review on the stay there too (it’s like €200 a night with a 3-night minimum during low season!).
As a brand new restaurant here in Pico, Stones Pico has brought a trendy and exciting concept to the island - cooking your own food. This concept has been on Faial for a while, but Stones Pico brings an elevated approach to it.
We ordered a natural juice (ginger and lime) and a mojito, which were both very tasty - especially the natural juice!
As for the mains, we ordered their salad and the fish dish on the hot stone!
Their lettuce & bulgur salad with goat cheese, pecans, raisins, and sweet potato was divine.
The stone comes sizzling from the kitchen and the fresh fish of the day is ready for you to cook to your liking. Along with the fresh fish of the day comes lemon mayo, cabbage salad with seeds and leek mash potato.
We couldn't resist dessert because we're a sucker for lime and they had lime mousse with graham cracker pudding! It was heavenly - really really good! So good we forgot to take photos and this last bite is all you get to see. :)
Overall everything was very tasty, the patio is gorgeous, the view is great with Pico Mountain in the background, and the service was fantastic!
The only thing I can comment on that I would change would be the value as I thought it was a bit highly-priced, but for a unique experience with the atmosphere and being the only one doing this concept on Pico, they still have ground for their value!
There are actually quite a lot of delicious restaurants in Pico. There are still some I have to try which I may update on this blog as I go.
Taberna, O Petisca, and Ancoradouro are also great restaurants that I’ve had delicious meals at, but the ones mentioned above just gave me a certain feeling that puts them in my favorites.
Comment your favourite restaurants below or let me know how your experience goes if you try any of the ones I’ve recommended above!
You can stay up to date with my next blogs on the Azores by following me on Instagram @Im_vacationista.
Happy Sunday y’all!