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Cafe Nicola Tips (11)

Café Nicola: It became a favourite ...

The Nicola is a traditional Lisbon café in a great location on the west side of Rossio. It opened in 1929 and was one of Lisbon's literary and political meeting points. It still has a lovely art deco façade, and inside retains a sense of its history too (with décor dating from a 1935 refurbishment), despite being rather a touristy haunt. I have seen rather mixed reviews (e.g. on Tripadvisor), with complaints from some about poor service, but we came here several times on our most recent trip to Lisbon and had no problems. Indeed, on our first visit with a group of friends the waiter could not have been more helpful, rearranging tables to accommodate our group of seven and not concerned in the slightest that only five of us wanted to eat lunch.

And talking of lunch, most of us were happy with our choices, which included cod, prawn omelette and my own grilled octopus. The latter was very nicely cooked and tasty. With two small beers and a share of the cover (bread, paté, olives) I paid around €10 which I thought was good value (although as we split the bill equally between us that may be misleadingly low).

The next evening we came back here for a late night post-dinner drink. Although the weather had been good that day the evening was chilly so we again sate inside, this time near the front. I enjoyed the Portuguese brandy recommended by the waiter, Chris and Pete had beers, and Barry, the fourth member of our party, had a coffee and slice of strawberry cheesecake which he said was very good. I didn’t note the prices but they were reasonable for such a touristy place and central location.

One of the same friends, Barry, had also had breakfast here that morning and was very pleased with that – fresh melon, bacon and eggs, and coffee enjoyed at one of the outside tables in the sunny square.

toonsarah's Profile Photo
Apr 21, 2013

Cafe Nicola: Cafe Nicola

When you are visiting Rossio, you will probably notice the old looking cafe, Nicola, on the western side. Why not pop in for a coffee and a treat - you won't be disappointed.

Nicola opened in 1929 and still maintains some of its fabulous art deco facade. Although popular with tourists, there were still locals in there when we visited.

You can stand at the counter for a quick bica (short, strong black coffee), or take a seat if you need a break. Staff are not overly friendly, but efficient, and there is a great atmosphere.

Favorite Dish We chose to have a coffee at the counter and I have to say it was VERY good coffee (ok, it may have had something to do with the fact that it was the first caffeinated coffee I had had in 4 months).

I also sampled one of their delicious custard tarts and Alex had an equally tasty treat.

sue_stone's Profile Photo
Jan 25, 2006

Cafe Nicola: Famous café in the "Baixa"

One of the oldest still existing cafés in Lisbon, it is currently probably more frequented by tourists than by locals... and we all know what that means: prices have gone up and level of service decreased.
If you happen to walk past it, go in and take a look as it is one of those historical places that have been around forever (founded in 1929), but I would not go out of my way to go see it.

rsilva's Profile Photo
May 24, 2005

Cafe Nicola: Good for people-watching !

Café Nicola is a long-established café in Praça do Rossio, originally opening in 1929. Nowadays, the only part of the original building that remains is the art-deco shop-front, the rest of the building was re-developed in the 1970’s and is an uninspiring concoction of glass and steel, although there are a few art-deco details inside. Outside seems to be the place for tourists – most of the occupants of the tables seemed to be tourists (including us), whilst inside there were mainly locals, reading the paper or chatting.

The coffee was pretty good, and not too expensive, given the location – but then I’m used to London prices !

alucas's Profile Photo
Dec 30, 2007
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Cafe Nicola: neighborhood cafe

not pretentious, local cafe full of local flavour
young and old, chatting and reading newspaper..
not touristy at all

Favorite Dish bread with chocolate in it but dont worry, this is nothing like pain au chocolat
cafe with milk , also it is not like cafe au lait

cochinjew's Profile Photo
Sep 25, 2007

Cafe Nicola: Great food and Service at Cafe Nicola

We spent a week in Lisbon and discovered Cafe Nicola on the very first day. Had many great meals there and came away very impressed with all the Cafe had to offer.

The personal service from our waiter Bruno was outstanding as was the quality of the food and drink. The sidewalk buskers also added that wonderful European flavor to our experiences there.

We have fond memories of Cafe Nicola and cannot recommend it highly enough - the atmosphere there is unmatched and a must go for all visitors to Lisbon.

Favorite Dish Without a doubt the Grilled fish for 2
They have to bring another small table to fit it all on its that big. It is a lovely mixture of all the local catches with a side of Salad or Veg as chosen.
Definitely a bargain price for what you get

gtbull's Profile Photo
Jun 03, 2011

Cafe Nicola: Historic Cafe

The marble, steel and glass entry gives way to a beautiful interior with original artwork and a surprising downstairs that serves full meals (even steak dinners). You'll see Nicola brand coffees all over Portugal, but this is the main store and has been here since 1929.

Favorite Dish Coffee is slightly cheaper at the bar than it is at a table. They sell 25 types of coffee so if you want to buy some to take home with you, this is a great place to pick it up.

acemj's Profile Photo
Jul 09, 2003

Cafe Nicola: Landmark at Praça de Dom Pedro IV

Cafe Nicola opened in 1787. Ever since the smell of fresh roasted chestnuts and coffee has been here. The name comes from the first keeper, an Italian named Nicola.

The place was a meeting place for politicians and writers.

pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo
Dec 02, 2009
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"Keeweechic's Lisbon"
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"My home town"
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"Lisbon, Portugal"
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"Ahh, LISBON....Esta tao bonita como sempre."
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There are some old restaurants...

There are some old restaurants in Lisbon. There is one in a very interesting area of Lisboa called Nicola, and it is situated in the Chiado area.
There is another one in the Praça do Comércio called Martinho da Arcada, which I think is the oldest one in Lisboa.
You also can find in the Rossio area some very typical “bars” where they sell a very typical Lisboa drink called Ginginha. I am not telling you what it is, but is very good.

Favorite Dish There is a lot to taste in the Portuguese gastronomy, and here in Lisboa sometimes is difficult to find a typical menu. But do not despair. You will always find good food and good wine (or beer).

Aug 24, 2002

Café A Brasileira: Great coffee at Chiado

The Café A Brasileira opened on November 19, 1905. Ever since serving the best Brazilian coffee has kept the business alive. The walls are decorated with paintings from several local painters. In front at the terrace is a statue of a sitting Fernando Pessoa, writer and poet.

Business hours:
All day: 8AM - 2AM

pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo
Jul 15, 2013

Nicola Cafes: Lots of Choices on the Resaurant Street

There were lots of choices on The Restaurant Street. We chose Nicola Cafes because Jose our waiter was such an interesting person. He spent a lot of time not only serving us fine food but telling us about life in Lisbon.

Favorite Dish Every place we ate was very reasonably priced. It was difficult to spend over $30 US even with a bottle of wine.

Jan 14, 2003

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Getting to Cafe Nicola


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