Marco’s place it’s how it is designated, exactly for dividing the parishes of Machico and Santo António da Serra, but there are more reasons of interest, in this region located at the top of the Valleys of Machico. Besides, most recently, giving way to Machico’s Business Park (Parque Empresarial de Machico), where the headquarters and warehouses of the main companies of the Municipality can be found, Marco’s place is also the region where Snack-Bar “O Cantinho” is located.
This establishment, which has been running for almost 30 years, is in the street of “Lombada” (Estrada da Lombada), right behind of Nossa Senhora das Preces’ Chapel, a short 10-minute drive from the city center. Founded on December, 18th 1993, Snack-Bar “O Cantinho” was, at first, a small establishment, with only room for two tables on the inside, followed by a small counter, being that there was also a terrace, which is still there nowadays, and ultimately two more divisions: a farm shop and a game room, containing the typical games that you expect to find here in Madeira: pool table, electronic darts and table football. This establishment is not only a mere bar, but also a convivence space, specifically for the local population, who comes here to purchase animal feed, agricultural products and gas cylinders, thus avoiding the large displacements needed in order to acquire these goods.
The year of 2011 was marked by a reborn of “Cantinho”, undergoing a remodeling that brought new life and dimension to this establishment. The game room, no longer exists and the farm shop moved to a garage, also attached to the bar, which allowed for the creation of a new interior design, with another mixed bathroom, television, as well as an expansion of the main division and its counter. The new counter went from being made of metal to shinny marble. The previous yellow color gave way to a gorgeous salmon one, and the tiles imitating the brickwork were also introduced to the interior and exterior part of the bar, giving it a more contemporary look. The toilets were also renovated. In addition to the 9 interior tables plus the 5 high chairs at the counter, there’s also 5 tables outside, as well as modest, wooden counters (both inside and outside of the bar), for those who would rather stand, or come for a quick pitstop, will still have a spot to rest their cups.
For those who visit this unique place by car, parking is not a problem. “O Cantinho” has a parking spot for customers only (3 spots), located in the back of the establishment. In addition, there’s also space for plenty by the side of the road (Lombada and Caminho da Ermida), which is also an effective alternative to keep in mind.
The face of this business is a man named João Ricardo Gonçalves Santo, mostly known for his second name and “Ricardinho”. Currently 46 years old, Ricardo lost his mother at the age of 7, followed by also losing his father 8 months later. Nevertheless, Ricardo was raised by his uncles, as one of their own children. His first job was as a security guard, profession which he executed for 2 years. After that, Ricardo worked as an insurance intermediary, a task which he still maintains nowadays in partial form. He also took a course in agriculture, in order to further broaden his knowledge in that area and to route him in the correct direction when opening the farm shop. In 1993, he opened his own business, which he is the current manager, making him in one of the “masters” of the “Poncha” in the island of Madeira.
There’s an old saying (Santos da casa não fazem milagres) “No man is a prophet in his own country”. In this scenario there’s a reversal of this saying, since Ricardo Santo can really preform “miracles”, with just a “caralhinho” (traditional instrument used to stir Poncha), a jar, sugarcane rum, honey, sugar and fruit (orange, lemon, passion fruit or tangerine) all evenly mixed. His Poncha is for many considered a remedy that lives up to its nickname. The most curious about all this is although Ricardo makes this traditional beverage as very few in the island can, he is not a fan of white spirits alcohol.
Nobody taught me how to make Poncha. I learned and perfected it along the way, by asking the customers’ opinion. Thanks to their feedback I was able to enhance it up to I could establish a standard taste. The secret is to do everything on the moment, from the extraction of fruit juice to the final product!
“O Cantinho” is becoming more and more a reference point for Poncha and already has many connoisseurs, from various places from the island, even from overseas, foreigners that come specifically and frequently to this establishment, due not only the notorious drink but also the snacks/appetizers that come along with it, complementary. When you join all these factors together, along with the sympathy and professionalism displayed by the man himself, it ends up generating ties of empathy with the customers, who feel they have found in this place a home.
The aspect of Price per Quality is one of the main advantages to take into account when choosing “O Cantinho”. In most places around the island, prices hover around 2 €, while in “O Cantinho”, it never exceeds 1,70 € (Regional Poncha and “À Pescador” (Fisherman)– 1,60€; Passion Fruit or Tangerine Poncha – 1,70€). Besides “Ponchas”, there’s also Regional Nikita (this drink is based on vanilla ice cream with pineapple juice) with or without alcohol, “Pé de Cabra” (cocoa with wine and beer) and ultimately Cider (alcoholic beverage made from the fermentation of apples).
To accompany the beverage, there’s nothing better than a modest potion of fresh, delicious, fried chicken wings, free of charge! This cherry is already one of the trademarks from this heaven-like place “O Cantinho”.
There are innumerous other alternatives, besides the chicken wings, such as chicken liver, pork legs, broad beans, gizzards, French fries, fried mackerel, bean stew, tripe, lupines and peanuts.
- 7:00 to 24:00 (Monday to Saturday);
- 7:00 to 13h00 (Sunday);
NIM hopes to have made your mouth water for “Poncha” and invites you to taste, what is considered by many, the best Poncha in Madeira. In ” O Cantinho” your prayers shall be heard!