During our time in São Miguel, we stayed in Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Açores. Ponta Delgada reminded me a bit of Punta Arenas in Chile – the sophisticated and historical European architecture combined with the marine and coastal influence really gave me the same vibe. We wandered into town often to pick up drinks and to have lunch or dinner.
Lapas, or limpets, are a very popular dish in the Açores and it is one of my favorite dishes that I’ve ever had. Limpets are tiny little mollusks and have the texture of tiny abalones. They were usually served grilled in a sauce of butter, garlic, and spicy red pepper. We had our first taste of lapas at A Tasca, a cozy little local restaurant.
We also had lapas at Restaurante Gastronomo, among other dishes.
Ananás, or pineapple is also a must try when you’re visiting the Açores. São Miguel is the only place in the world where pineapples are grown in greenhouses. The pineapples grown in the greenhouses are smaller, but much sweeter and less acidic than those grown in other parts of the world. We had pineapple just about every day in São Miguel – for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Cozido das Furnas, or Furnas stew, features pork, beef, chicken, cabbage, kale, potatoes, taro root, carrots, chouriço, and blood sausage steamed for 5-6 hours underground. It’s such a unique way of cooking stew and the end result is a dish full of super moist and tender meats and veggies. We had Cozido das Furnas at Snack-Bar Tony’s, as part of our tour with Pure Azores.
Seafood is a must-have when you’re in the Açores. The island has some of the freshest seafood I’ve ever had. We had a variety of dishes during our time on the island – squid, fish, octopus, scallops, limpets, and shrimp. One of our favorite meals was from A Tasca – stewed octopus with beans, more stewed whole octopus, and grilled fish of the day.
Stews are the heart of Azorean cuisine. We encountered a variety of braised and stewed dishes – featuring all sorts of ingredients, including their famous bife or beef, fish, squid, chicken, pork, etc. We had a buffet of traditional Azorean dishes at Restaurante Lagoa Azul and it was absolutely fantastic. Peep the Kima in the background, a delightful passion fruit soda.