Portuguese Pastry Post-Doc: Pastelaria Versailles

Pastelaria Versailles
Av. da República 15A
Lisbon, Portugal

There is something about dining in sumptuous surroundings that makes everything taste a little bit better. Lisbon is full of lovely historical cafes, and Versailles is a stunning example of the slightly faded glory of old-school Lisbon. Pastelaria Versailles was built in the 1920’s and served as a sumptuous symbol of the Avenidas Novas (“new avenues”) that were built north of the historic center of the city. As befitting of the name “Versailles,” the cafe is filled wall-to-wall with gilded mirrors, chandeliers, checkerboard marble and floor-to-ceiling elaborate wooden display cases.

Though primarily a cafe, there is also a little mezzanine that has a more complete dinner menu for 12-25 euros featuring fish and steaks and various traditional Portuguese plates. However, we are cafe people, and opted for the simpler sandwich menu (which was intimidatingly long). There were a range of coffee drinks, batidos (milkshakes) and teas on offer  as well as little snacks like bacalhau croquettes and a series of sandwiches, all for less than about 4 Euros. One way in which we can tell that Portugal is serious about bread is the fact that each sandwich (with the same variety of a few options like bacalhau, turkey, cheese, tomato and even simple butter) is listed by the type of bread it comes on. We counted no less than 8 bread options for sandwiches.

M ordered a turkey sandwich on a Chapada role (which seems to be a cousin to Ciabatta). L ordered a Mafra sandwich with queijo fresco. The light and airy Mafra roll is native to the town of Mafra, just north of Lisbon, and has a slightly sweet flavor. For such a small price, we were surprised at the size of each sandwich, and were impressed with the quality and freshness of the bread. We finished up our meal with a delicate Pão de Deus and an elegant service of Versailles signature tea. The Versailles blend is a black tea with a mix of orange, cinnamon and vanilla, and tasted a little like a subtle citrus chai.

Naturally, we could not ignore the bakery case, which runs the whole length of the cafe. Though we arrived late in the day there was still a pretty good selection of treats, and we filled a box for the road. We selected an assortment of cookies, the names of which were not labeled. One we uncreatively dubbed the “Flat Madeleine,” which looked and tasted like a flat Madeleine cookie. The other was a chocolate Italian-style dipped cookie shaped like an acorn. But the pièce de résistance were the chocolate Pastéis de Nata. The Versailles Pastel had both requisites of an excellent Pastel de Nata: the custard and the flaky multi-layered crust, and with a hint of chocolate these were perfect! Cafe Versailles has quickly become one of our favorite cafes and we are excited to work our way through the pastry case.


Filed under Reviews

2 responses to “Portuguese Pastry Post-Doc: Pastelaria Versailles

  1. Pingback: Cake tour of Lisbon | Eating The World

  2. Thank you for this post! We were in the neighborhood, looking for a nice place to eat pasteis de nata. After a quick browse I found your post and decided to give it a shot! We ended up having breakfast twice in Cafe Versailles. 🙂



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