Maybe you won’t distinguish one "Pastel de Belem" from the common (and also good) "pastel de nata", but, the short brake to eat a "pastel de Belem" is mandatory. Why? For two reasons:
1- It’s good.
Am I joking? Of course… But can you tell me why everybody in Brussels must see the Manneken Pis? Or the mermaid in Copenhagen? Or…
Did you answer “because they’re unique”? Well, then your pastel de Belem (and the other 14000 they produce each day) is also unique.
And… damn… it is good.
When you are in Belèm you could have a break at the Antiga Confetaria de Belèm. This is a very large cafe-confectionery with several rooms. Some of these are decorated with azulejos (blue tiles).
Here you can have some good custard tarts called pasteis de Belèm.
These pastries are served warm and sprinkled with cinnamon and/or sugar (if you like). Their original receipt is kept secret. Only three persons knows it. This sweet is believed was created before the 18th century by the nuns at the Monastery of Jerònimos. Antiga Confeitaria de Belèm was the first place selling these tarts since 1837.
This (as I have said before) is a MUST for all tourists visiting Lisbon. Even while falling in line to buy their famous pastries, my sister and I who were travelling in 2009 in Portugal had fun taking pictures of ourselves falling inline, with the floor's tile mosaic showing "1837" when the famous cafe was born.
At the time, the famous pastry was just 0.99 Euro (hope it has remained the same price), and you can eat it this either in the cafe where there are severable tables or outside. We did both since we went there twice, haha
The recipe of the Pasteis de Belem is said to be “an ancient secret” and from the Convento dos Jeronimos. The little cakes are made daily by hand in the bakery – and you can actually see the process through windows within the museum-like dessert paradise. The place is so popular that they even have police or security inside…I guess to prevent pickpocketers from victimizing unsuspecting tourists.
And yes, I had to agree, the pastries were awesome specially when warm.
And the pastries were so good, we made a video of it! Hope you like this:
MY SISTER FALLING IN LOVE AT PASTEIS DE BELEM!
I found a nice website detailing the history of this nice cafe at http://www.pasteisdebelem.pt/en.html. It tells of how in the early 1800's, someone in the monastery offered these sweet pastries (during difficult times) at the shop (sugar refinery) next to the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos....so the story goes...
And if you want to bring the pastries back to your home country, they put them in these nice little tubular rectangular boze where they fit oh so perfectly!
Favorite Dish: THE PASTRIES!
And the pastries were so good, we made a video of it! Hope you like this:
MY SISTER FALLING IN LOVE AT PASTEIS DE BELEM!
This cafe is very famous for its Portuguese egg tarts which are delicious. You can get take away (pay first then collect food) but we choose to sit in and have coffee, beer and egg tarts. The building is beautiful with absolutely lovely tiled walls. The cafe is really big and, though it was busy, we were seated and served straight away. Service was friendly and efficient. Prices very reasonable. Lovely building. Clean toilet.
On an average weekday, 12,000 custard tarts are sold at PASTEIS DE BELEM - on the weekend, over 20,000. Antonio arranged for our VT Group to have a tasting. We all waited outside, until we were summoned to enter. There were so many little rooms. We were lead to one of the tile-lined, cavernous rooms, whose walls depict Belem in its Age of Discoveries heydey in the early 1600's. We all found seats and immediately waiters came to take our drink orders. Soon our custard tarts arrived piping hot, right out of the oven. As is the tradition, you must sprinkle the custard tart with cinnamon and/or icing sugar. They were absolutely heavenly and our table (Hans and I, Martin and Tal) opted for seconds of course. After we devoured our second tarts and paid our bill ( first tart complimentary, second tart a mere .90 Eurocents), we were ushered out so the waiters could serve the next group - totally quick and very efficient.
The place is mobbed from morning till night, seven days a week, by tourists and locals alike.
Also many customers take their tarts away in special paper tubes, each with a capacity for up to half a dozen tarts.
Open 8:00 a.m. to midnight daily
This confectionery makes the best custard-pie in the world.
There are a lot of seats, but in high season there is a chance you'll have to wait outside.
Nevertheless it is worth waiting.
Favorite Dish: The pasteis de Belém are so addictive. Great stuff to eat with your coffee.
This famous cafe/shop was the first place outside the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos to sell the original creamy dessert, Pasteis de Belem, after the monastery was closed in the 1820s. For those who don't know, Pasteis de Belem are a delicious Portuguese egg custard tart pastry that was created before the 18th century by Catholic nuns based in the monastery. Since 1837, locals have come here to get them warm out of the oven and sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar. Ever since then, they're spread to bakeries all over the country and internationally around the Portuguese empire to such countries as Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau, Timor-Leste, Goa, and Macau. Expect long queues to buy them straight from the counter and even longer queues to sit down at a table and eat them. Instead, you could do what I did and eat them sitting outside at a cafe next to the National Coach Museum called Chique de Belem.
Our host and guide to Lisbon was Antonio, who also worked so hard to make the VT meet there so fantastic, and he is one guy "in the know". When he said that this was the best place in Lisbon to try the Pastias de Belem .....well let me put it this way, I usually do not eat cakes, cookies, pastries and the like, but this was GOOD. ^O^
Favorite Dish: Pastias de Belem.....
You can´t miss hearing about this place!So I don´t need to tell too much.
But what I didn´t know,was that we go to the table,and order there-strange thing for a Finn,we are used to order first and the find a place to sit.The place is HUGE it just didn´t seem to end anywhere!We first thought it was full,but we were wrong.
Like many places at Lisbon,we were disapointment that we couldn´t sit out!!Strange!
They had lots of other things sold too,which we didn´t expect.We were sorry to go and eat something salty first yo poor cafe at museum,when we could have eaten something salty here too!If we ever go back,I must remember that.
Favorite Dish: Of course I must say:pasteis de Belem.I think they aren´t so different than elsewhere.Maybe little,and at least,they are very fresh and served warm!I wonder why at any other place.
Actually,when they are cold,they taste a lot like Finnish "vanilijaviineri".(something like vanilla Danish pastry).The shape is only different and much smaller and little dark spots at vanilla-filling are something that our viineri doesn´t have.It made me wonder,where I coul get warm,just bakes vanilijaviineri back home?Why they are allways served cold...
You can have a good breakfast for around 5€ or less in any café and other than lazyness there's absolutely no reason to have breakfast at the hotel :P. I think there's no better way to start your days than being out in the city having a relaxed breakfast.
Many of our cafés are called "Pastelaria" which translates into "pastry shop". There are tons of pastelarias everywhere throughout the country. Try as many portuguese pastries as you can eat :P
You may already know about the famous "Pastéis de Belém" (http://www.pasteisdebelem.pt) that you can try only in the pastelaria next to the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Belém. I presume it will be a little bit difficult to have some for breakfast but you simply can't miss them. Remember that you must eat them while still hot. If you try them cold you will ruin it completely. For breakfast you should consider to try "Pastéis de Nata" which are similar to "Pastéis de Belém" but that you can find everywhere. If any pastelaria doesn't have pastéis de nata then it's not real portuguese lol.
Personally I love to eat pasteis de nata while drinking a very short and strong expresso with no sugar.
Regarding the coffee, if you're not into expressos you should ask for a big cup of coffee because our regular coffee is the expresso lol. If you want coffee with milk you should ask for "Galão" or "Meia de leite". You can order in english in most places so this is just in case you need it.
Don't miss the portuguese croissants available at any pastelaria. There are other places in Lisbon famous for their croissants but my favorites are the ones from the Pastelaria Bénard in Chiado (Largo do Chiado). Croissants with cheese, ham, chocolate, a soft and sweet egg cream... heavenly yummy. A bit more expensive than average but well worth it. Also the location is great. If the weather is good enough and above all if you find an empty table LOL you can just sit outside and watch Lisbon life passing by.
Well... I just got hungry by writing this. I'm gonna grab something to eat.
It's so crowded I believe to have found another tourist trap. After the first Pastéis (custard tarts), I understood I was wrong. Pastéis are still warm and so tasty and delicious. The receipt is obviously secret. We bought the take-away packet but after, I realized they cost 0,80€ each also served at the table. Do not miss to go to the toilet there, because, before reaching it, you will see its laboratory with all woman preaparing Pasteis.
Favorite Dish: It's basically a cafeteria; besides Pesteis, coffee and teas I havn't seen much more.
You have to try local food, especially sweets!
Lisboa is a city where eating is most definitely a pleasure. Slow meals, intense, full of flavors and conversation. Meals with good company, and full of pleasure. And Lisboa’s sweets carry in them multiple secrets, many of which were locked up for centuries in the silence of the convents. The convent-based sweets are of fundamental importance in Lisboa’s diet, as there were, in the middle of the last century, three dozen convents for women only in Lisboa. Pastéis de Belém To go to Lisboa and not eat Pastéis de Belém is a crime. There’s nothing that can be done, there’s no way to avoid it. The problem is eating just one, because they’re so good … you just want to keep eating them. Pastéis de Belém are a famous version of cream cakes, in which the base is filo dough and the filling is milk, cream, vanilla and … no one knows. It’s really like that: the recipe of Pastéis de Belém is the best-guarded secret of Portuguese confectionary. No one knows it exactly except those inside the Factory, a café in Belém, near the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, which has become a site of daily pilgrimage. The Pastéis de Belém have become a true icon of tourism: each day more than 10,000 pastéis are sold, accompanied with sugar and cinnamon, packed into packets along with the boxes of pastéis. Inside number 84 of the Rua de Belém, in a factory founded in 1837, you can see azulejo panels from the XVIIIth century, almost as famous as the sweet pastries sold there.
Favorite Dish: Pasteis.... :)
I had read so much about this place, here on VT, in travel guides, etc that I just had to experience it myself. Well, I wasn't disappointed!!
Just walking in and smelling the pasteis, I knew I had done the right thing...
The place was full of people and the waiters kept walking past us with huge trays of pasteis. We sat down at a little table and were able to order quite quickly. The drinks came and so did the pasteis. The waiter told us to sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on the pasteis before eating them and... it was soooooo good, we had to order some more!
Favorite Dish: Pasteis, what else??
This is where it all started and they have been baking these gorgeous little custard pastries for over since the 1880's. Have a coffee and order a plate of these and quietly consume them in the old cavernous surroundings. The walls are covered in these beautiful blue and white hand painted tiles. Then on leaving order some more to take away and everytime you pass do it again. They are so delicious, especially when they are hot. It is an absolute must to sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top before you wolf one down.
Favorite Dish: The Pasteis!!!
There is a lot to see in Belem, so at some point you will need nourishment. This Cafe has the famous lukewarm custard tart in a puff pastry shell. I had three, with a cup of strong coffee. The place is so popular with tourists that it feels fast-paced and hectic, but the inside is cute, with all the Art Nouveau fixtures still in use. In February, there was no line to get in.