The specialty coffee movement has made its way well into the city of Lisbon, a city that loves to stay up late; it’s no wonder coffee has made its mark on this fun-loving city! What makes Lisbon’s coffee shops even more unique than your average coffee scene, is the multicultural component of entrepreneurial owners from around the globe. Why live in Spain, France or Russia, when you can live in Lisbon and have Spain, France and Russia all around you? We stayed in the Principe Real neighborhood near the hip Bairro Alto, and had a Russian-owned coffee shop, a French-owned patisserie, a Spanish-owned tapas, and a Portuguese-owned butcher all on one corner. As a foodie travel blogger, and my husband an entrepreneur and business owner, one of our favorite things to do when we travel, is to meet the owners of local businesses and learn their story. We are delighted when we can meet the owners in person, as it adds authenticity and charm to the overall experience.
You can drop a feather in Lisbon and it would probably land on a specialty coffee shop. 😂 What we love about the coffee scene in Lisbon, is that it’s communal and neighborly. It seems that the baristas know people by name (or by their order), so you’ll often hear greetings in several different languages when people walk through the door, followed by, “I’ll have my usual.” To feel cozy and at home in a relatively big city is a beautiful thing.
There is literally a specialty coffee shop on every corner in Lisbon, so you won’t have to walk very far to find something great, but below are our top 7 favorite cafes in Lisbon:
- Bowls + Bar (Bloom Coffee Room)
- Hello, Kristof
- Dear Breakfast
- Copenhagen Coffee Lab
- Bettina & Niccolo Corallo
BOWLS & BAR (BLOOM COFFEE ROOM)
Nikita (in the photo on the bottom right), is the brilliant man behind the specialty coffee drinks here; he makes the best mocha in Lisbon, and he’ll serve it with a welcoming and friendly attitude. The staff are all wonderful, and they know us by name by now. Their bowls and breakfast are not only instagrammable; they’re tasty too; especially the potato latkes! They share a space with a flower shop, so you can get your coffee and a bouquet of flowers all in one fell swoop. A bonus is their adorable corgi, Alex, who often makes a regular appearance by the bar.
Hello Kristof is a small, cozy space where you’ll often find people working remotely on their laptops, or enjoying a slow morning. The walls are lined with magazines and books, inviting an artistic vibe.
I love the design of this wonderfully inviting space, which greets you with hanging rattan chairs, brightly colored accent walls, and the laid back surfer vibes. Boutik serves not only coffee, pastries and breakfast, but also sells surfboards, surf wear and boutique jewelry and goods by local Portuguese artists.
Dear Breakfast has a few locations in downtown Lisbon, including a “secret rooftop”, and there is almost always a queue. The service is friendly and the space reminded us of Miscellanea Cafe in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where we spent our last three months. This is a nice place to spend a lazy Sunday morning.
COPENHAGEN COFFEE LAB
There are a few locations in downtown Lisbon. Copenhagen is a hand-craft roastery and wholesaler Founded in 2013 in Denmark, they are committed to developing the perfect roast profiles sourcing the finest coffee from around the world. The space is large, which attracts digital nomads and remote workers.
BETTINA & NICCOLO CORALLO
Owned by a mom (Bettina) and her son (Niccolo), this is really more of a chocolate / cacao shop than a cafe, but they serve coffee as well. Their specialty drink is their drinking chocolate, which you can add a shot or two of espresso, to make the most delicious cacao latte (mocha). Everything is made by hand, sourcing the finest fair trade cacao.
Even though this is not technically considered a cafe (though they do serve espresso), I would be remiss not to include one of the best places to find the famous pasteis de nata (the other is Pasteis de Belem, where it all started.) This delectable Portuguese custard pie is quite entirely responsible for the extra few pounds of weight I’ve put on over our last few weeks in Lisbon, not even balanced out by the 10+ miles (16 kilometers) of walking we’re doing every day (that’s how good they are). 😉
The best way I can describe this delicious sweet is a piece of heaven surrounded by a rainbow, wrapped up in a cloud. An impossibly flaky crust envelops a creamy, fresh, smooth filling, topped off with cinnamon for that warm-your-heart-spice. The history of how the pasteis de nata was invented, is quite interesting. In the 18th century it was common practice to use egg whites to bleach the habits of nuns. This inevitably left monks with a plethora of egg yolks that they didn’t want to waste. So what better way to use it, than to mix it with sugar? (and some other secret ingredients, never to be surrendered by the Portuguese). By the way, the word nata means cream in Portuguese, so pasteis de nata is simply a cream pastry (but it sounds way more fun in Portuguese, right?)
So there you have it! Our top favorite 7 cafes in Lisbon (though we have many more that could easily fill up a full blog post.) Lisbon is a hot spot for hip spaces, fun baristas, and delicious coffee, and it’s only getting better!
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