The Azores are known for being both a beautiful and affordable vacation destination in Europe. This Portuguese archipelago is located in the Atlantic Ocean and is home to nine major islands and eight, smaller formigas (Portuguese for ants, these are appropriately named because they are rockier and more spread out than the larger islands).
Home to some of the tallest mountains on the planet—if one were to measure from the seafloor—the Azores are home to breathtaking, diverse landscapes that include everything from volcanic craters to flat prairies and bodies of water that sparkle with brilliant blues and greens that dazzle the eye.
However, the Azores aren’t just known for their natural beauty, though travelers will certainly be captivated by it. The vibrant cuisine is also another great reason to visit as these diverse archipelagos are home to a surprising number of regional dishes that will be sure to satisfy any discerning foodie.
What To Eat In The Azores
Before visiting the Azores it is a good idea to become familiar with some of the local highlights so you can sample all the must-have delights the islands have to offer.
Everyone agrees that the cheese is a must for anyone visiting the Azores. One of the most widely known products in the region, much of the cheese (about 50%!) found on the mainland in Portugal originates in the Azores.
It’s not surprising that seafood is one of the best things to eat while visiting these colorful islands in the Atlantic. Tuna fans will be jumping for joy at the islands’ fresh offerings, while those who are more adventurous may want to try something a bit different such as leopard-print moray eels, wreckfish, or even barnacles!
To experience the full island experience, nosh on delicious tropical fruits like pineapples, bananas, and passionfruit—the fruit grown on these fertile islands will beat anything you can get at home.
Anyone who has visited the Azores can tell you the beef is worth a try. Maybe it’s the beautiful prairies filled with bright green grass, or maybe the cows are just happier in this island paradise. Either way, the beef is not to be missed.
The Azores was once home to many convents throughout its history—many of which influenced the types of breads still served today. Keep an eye out for the pastries too, as they are famous for being amazingly delish.
Where To Eat In Sao Miguel
Now that you’ve had a crash course in some of the islands’ most well-known foods, it's time to head out and explore some of the best restaurants in Sao Miguel—the largest island in the Azores.
Stop here for a delicious steak dinner you won’t soon forget. Despite a reputation for being a bit pricey, the meals are generous and the food is delicious.
- What To Try: Steak With Passionfruit Sauce
A popular local spot, this restaurant is always bustling. Located in the Ponta Delgada (the biggest municipality in Sao Miguel and a cultural and religious center), A Tasca is known for its amazing seafood.
- What To Try: Grilled Tuna Steak With Sesame Seed Crust (Lambo de Atum grelhado)
Restaurante Terra Nostra
There’s plenty to try at this popular hotel restaurant that offers imaginative twists on classic dishes. Well-known house specialties include the forkbeard fillets for visitors who want to step outside the box.
- What To Try: Cozida das Furnas Stew (A hearty stew slow-cooked in cooking holes warmed by volcanic heat)
Casa Da Rosa
Casa da Rosa is known for its cool vibes and live music. Combine that with a diverse menu that includes both local faves and fabulous fusions and foodies everywhere will be lining up to take a bite.
- What To Try: The dishes are always changing so be sure to keep up with the menu on Facebook. However, this great spot always offers soups and stews—something the islands are known for. They also have vegetarian options such as Lasanha Vegetariana.
Visitors describe this spot as cozy, intimate, and affordable. Be sure to try the popular cheese plate to get a sample of the famous Azores cheeses.
- What To Try: Sandes Ou Tostas (toasted sandwiches)
Quinta Dos Sabores
Organic farm-to-table restaurant Quinta dos Sabores is a treat for any palate. Visitors will love the intimate atmosphere and fresh, local flavors.
- What To Try: It is a fixed, multi-course menu so there’s something different every time—however, reviewers rave no matter what the menu. They also have vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options. Be sure to make a reservation in advance.
The Azores are known for their vibrant food scene that is different on every island. However, as the largest of the islands, Sao Miguel takes it to another level with a food scene that is as eclectic and welcoming as the island itself. With a plethora of delicious restaurants for every taste and budget, Sao Miguel is any traveling foodie’s dream come true.