Eating out on Faial

Our rental home was situated in Almoxarife, so we ate out at one of Praia do Almoxarife’s restaurants Mini Mar the first night and we went back a couple more times as well.

The food was good and plenty, reasonably priced, and the menu was available only in Portuguese.Mini Mar Restaurant in Praia do Almoxarife

Mini Mar Restaurant in Praia do Almoxarife

We also noticed that most dishes at Mini Mar came with the same trimmings: French fries, a bit of rice, and undressed salad. We ate there three times in two weeks and had our fill.

Next we tried O’Esconderijo in Cedros (Northern coast), run by a couple of Germans. One tour guide described as hard to find, but once we got to the center of the village, we just had to follow the only two signs leading out of it. Do not be surprised to find this restaurant at the very edge of it! Just follow the tractors heading out towards the fields, and if you have hit the dirt road, then you have missed it as it is the last house on the left.

The food was excellent!!! They have a limited menu, but it has something for everyone (lamb, fish, vegetarian, etc.) The trimmings vary with each dish and the food arrangement is very pleasant to the eyes as well. Hans, one of the owners, waited on us in a very congenial way and was most helpful. Fränkie runs the kitchen. The restaurant has a very nice ambiance and seems to be booked out often. The inside was all taken up by Portuguese patrons, who had called to reserve (recommended!) We were out on the terrace with Germans at a neighboring table. Next to the restaurant is a gorge and a bit of a jungle with a sign inviting you to take a Walk in the Wild, which we did. Alltogether, this is a great place if you are not on a tight budget!

Contact: Hans and Fränkie

Rua Joan Alves 3 in Cedros, Faial tel: 351 – 292 – 946 505 (closed on Tuesdays)

O'Esconderijo in Cedros on Faial

The restaurant at the very edge of the village.

O' Esconderijo's "Take a Walk in the Wild".

O'Esconderijo's "Take a Walk in the Wild" area.

Hans is responsible for the service area.

Hans is in charge of service at O' Esconderijo.

One thing we noticed on Faial is that there are not enough restaurants. I guess it must be a bit more difficult to get your merchandise when it comes by ship. Hans mentioned he had been waiting for more than two weeks for a shipment of vanilla ice-cream and waiting for overdue orders might be a challenge for some restaurant and grocery shop owners.

One peculiar thing we noticed as well as we ate our way through different snack bars and restaurants – only ONE menu for four people would be brought to the table. After a couple of minutes – quick service! – the waitress would be back ready to take our order, when we weren’t.

The cheapest places to eat are definitely the snack bars which are abundant on the island. Fries are usually 70 cents, a cheeseburger costs 1 Euro, espresso café can be had for 50 cents. These snack bars all show the red SICAL sign.

A typical lunch at a SICAL snack bar.

A typical lunch at a SICAL snack bar.

Beware though of these big burgers! The low price might fool you into believing you are getting a bite to eat! Some of these burgers were so big they looked dangerous…

It’s a Dog’s Life on Pico

We were enjoying one of those very reasonable lunch specials in one of the snack bars around the Azorean island of Pico, when an unexpected visitor came in – namely the dog of one of the kitchen helpers.

Granted, by then we had had some good red Pico wine with lunch but it did not taint the dog’s special looks. Back in the sixties, my mom had the very same dog, painted in white enamail, sitting on the kitchen shelf… No more words are needed, just see for yourself. We know the dog’s name, but will not share it out of respect for her right to privacy.

Travelling book

Within the next few minutes I will release the book Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto in Horta on the island of Faial, Azores.  This is the second time I have read this book and it is recommendable. At the time of writing, Banana was only 23 years old and the success of this book labelled her one of Japan’s brightest young literary stars.

Once you have found this book, please leave a comment and let me know where it will travel to next.

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

Thanks, and obrigada!

Whale Watching on the Azores

One of the highlights about our trip to the Azores was booking a boat trip to go whale and dolphin watching, while staying on the island of Faial. The weather on the Azores is very changeable throughout the day, so by the time we got out to sea, the weather had turned a bit rough.

Infamous cloud cover on the Azores

Infamous cloud cover over the Azores

But nevertheless, it was worth braving the wind and rain to see the whales come up to the surface (after feeding on squid at the bottom of the ocean for 45 minutes = regular intervals).

sighting of a sperm whale (female, 12 m in length)

sighting of a sperm whale (female, 12 m in length)

The dolphins were the most fun to watch as they did little tricks for us without any prompts. Snorkeling with the dolphins is sometimes available, but only if they do not move away too fast, as this was our case.

Returning to the port of Horta

Returning to the port of Horta

At the end of our close to four-hour boat tour, our guide, a marine biologist, answered more of our questions. If you are thinking about joining one of the few organizations offering whale watching tours, then I can recommend the following:


Another briefing held by our guide, the marine biologist.

Our whale/dolphin watching guide in front of "DiveAzores".

* Boat tickets are € 55 for adults , €35 for children.

* No facilities on board!

* Bring your rain coats as there is always some rain clouds just waiting to unload out on the open sea.

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