O Paquete is a bar and restaurant in the shape of a ship, located on a beautiful white sand beach Praia Formosa. It is quite a popular spot among visitors of Santa Maria, as for the visitors of the beach as well for those wishing to have a late night drink. You can get starters, soup, salads, meat, fish and seafood dishes, a great variety of crepes and ice cream, along with a large assortment of drinks, including cocktails.
Favorite Dish: I visited Praia Formosa in the morning of my first day and I immediately liked the relaxed and tranquil feel of the place. It was still early, the sun wasn't too strong yet and there were almost nobody. I enjoyed my ice coffee on a terrace of the bar, with a beautiful sea view.
My second visit was only shortly before I left the island. I had a late lunch and decided for grilled squid. It was accompanied by rice, cooked potatoes, mixed salad (lettuce, tomato, carrot, beetroot and olives) and a slice of lemon. A glass of cold beer was the best thing I could think of on a hot day, and I had a chocolate/caramel ice cream and a cup of coffee to complete the lunch. All together it was 12€. I was quite happy with my meal, as well with the service.
It is not common to serve breakfast in the restaurants of Vila do Porto. So I went to a supermarket in front of Valentina's house to buy some bread, cheese, fruit and water. I happily found there was also a bakery with a few tables where local people were buying fresh bread and pastries for their breakfast. Others enjoyed their morning cup of coffee while having a chat with a neighbour. The atmosphere was relaxed, it seemed that they all knew each other.
The smell of freshly baked breads and pastries filled the place and my body called for a strong coffee.
Favorite Dish: Pastel de coco, orange juice and a cup of coffee was a good breakfast and it was only 2,40€.
Restaurants are quite limited on Santa Maria so you have to be prepared that you won't find it in every village. It was already an early afternoon when I reached Maia. Soon after I descended to the coast I sighted a little restaurant O Grota. Some drops of rain started to fall, so it seemed just a perfect time for a lunch break.
The Azores offer an amazing variety of fish dishes, including swordfish, sea bass, cherne and parrot fish, and wonderful seafood - lobster, crab, mussels, lapas, cracas, squid and octopus - all freshly caught. The islands maintain a culinary style from the time of Portuguese settlers. Grilled fish and rich fish stews are especially delicious.
Favorite Dish: I had grilled cherne (wreckfish) which was served with cooked potatoes, mixed salad (lettuce, tomato, pepper and olives) and a slice of lemon. I rinsed the meal with locally produced wine vinho de cheiro and had a cup of black coffee after lunch.
The food was freshly made and very tasty, and I paid 14€ for everything.