The Best of Madeira Island – 2-STAR Michelin Star Gourmet Restaurant “IL GALLO D’ORO”

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On my last trip to Madeira Island, I had to try one of the best restaurants of the island, the famous “IL GALLO D’ORO“, the only restaurant, at the time, award with a Michelin Star. Later in 2017, the restaurant received it’s second star, awarding the outstanding work provided over the years.

Il Galo D’Oro is located inside the luxury 5-star hotel The Cliff Bay, one of the most famous in the island, in Funchal, from PortoBay Hotels & Resorts.

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The restaurant has been managed by the amazing chef Benoît Sinthon since 2004, receiving for the first time in 2009 it’s first Michelin Star, an renewed every year until 2017, when the restaurant received it’s second Michelin star. For 8 years in a row, it was named the only restaurant in Madeira island featuring a Michelin Star. They are proud for the sophistication of the Iberian and Mediterranean cuisine that has resulted combines regional products with top-quality ingredients from other regions on the Iberian Peninsular. Also the wine list, which boasts more than 300 top wines, was distinguished in 2013 by coming in second place in the National Wine Lists Competition.

I was happy to visit the restaurant on a Saturday night. The atmosphere was quiet and comfortable, and although the place was very busy and offers 120 seats, it never felt busy or crowded whatsoever. The restaurant and the meal was absolutely amazing. The place is known for it’s fine dining, and guests are invited to wear formal dressing.

As an invited guest, I was recommended the tasting menu, with suggestions from Chef Benoît Sinthon, presenting a different choice every day. This was the menu in PDF available in 2016, TOP EXPERIENCE MENU (6 COURSES), at €165,00 per person plus TOP EXPERIENCE SOMMELIER WINE SELECTION, at €73,00 per person: a-la-carte-2016

We started with a welcome greeting by the chef, with Mussels with Provence vegetables and crunchy yellow corn bread. The bread and butter were varied serving as white butter, salt flower, marinated algae, and black olives with anchovies.

We were then welcomed with one of the chef’s specialties, the FOIE GRAS DUO. It arrives with a hail foie gras (goose liver – cold), with a malibu hail and and pineapple.

The first main dish suggested by the chef was the delicious LANGOUSTINE XL, one of the local specialties, served with royal fennel foam, shellfish jelly, caviar and crispy purple potato.

Before heading to the main course dish (meat), the staff served a nice, freshening apple sorbet to cut the taste from the langoustine and to move ahead.

The main dish for this dinner was the famous PIGEON EUCALYPTUS, one of the best I ever had. IT was smoked with cinamon and eucalyptus, served with beet, dry nuts and mushrooms.

Before desert, had a chance to try their delicious strawberry marinated with lime and yogurt foam with caramel.
Finally, the chef specialty, the popular Macaron Il Galo D’Oro, with praline, caramelized hazelnuts and gouava coulis.

About the wine pairing, I couldn’t ask better choices. As a Portuguese, I’m really glad for their choices. We started with a brut royal pommery champagne (A Reims-France), followed by a green, Portuguese white wine Parcela Unica, by Anselmo Mendes Winemaker, from Alvarinho grape variety, one of my favorites.
For the pigeon, we had a 2010 Reserve Dona Berta Tinto Cao red wine from Douro Valley.
To finalize, we ended with a 10 year Madeira Wine from Blandy’s.

Would rate 6 if I could, it was without any doubt an outstanding experience that I recommend to anyone visiting Madeira. Can’t wait to return and try again, now with their two michelin stars!

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