Eating Pastel de Nata in Lisbon

There are very few pastries that can beat freshly baked pastel de Nata in Lisbon. Trying these delicious sweets, also known as pastéis de nata is a must when you visit Portugal!

When you buy a pastel de nata, you want to make sure it is a good one. What makes a good pastel de nata, you ask? Well, the first tip is that a pastel de nata is as delicious cold as it is hot. Read on for more insider advice.

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pastel de Nata in Lisbon
Pasteis de Nata being made in Lisbon

What makes a good Pastel de Nata?

Well, let me tell you. For starters, a delicious pastel de nata outside dough should have a flaky crispy crust, thin enough that, when bitten, it falls apart almost immediately. Inside the slightly (and, yes, slightly is a keyword here) firm creamy filling should be a just-right savory-sweet.

A true pastel de nata is enough to fulfill your sweet tooth cravings, just enough for you to get that sugar high, without making you feel greasy or nauseated.

You can also learn the tricks to bake a perfect Pastel de Nata while you are here.

Eating Like the Local

Locals like to eat their pastel de nata in Lisbon during breakfast, usually together with a nice glass of meia de leite, which can also be called galão (coffee with milk). Sometimes locals also like eating pastéis de nata as a midday snack, accompanied by a nice hot bica/café (small cup of coffee) or a cup of tea.

Typical Portuguese breakfast

In order to enhance the pastel de nata flavor, some people enjoy pouring powdered sugar and powdered cinnamon over the egg custard.

Some will even tell you that this is the correct way to eat your pastel de nata, while some rare others enjoy dripping a few lemon drops on it. But it doesn’t matter what’s on top – just eating the pastel de nata as it is (and hot please) is plenty delicious already!

The Origins of the Pastel de Nata

Being that the pastel de nata is a typical pastry, it is easily found in any Portuguese pastry shop, no matter in what city or part of Portugal you are in. Despite that, some claim all pastel de nata recipes to be different from the original recipe, while others say professional pastry chefs have already uncovered the ingredients and methods hidden in it.

Warm, freshly baked pastel de nata from Fábrica de Nata

No matter if true or not, no one can deny that the birth home of the pastel de nata is the capital of Portugal, Lisbon. It all began in 1837 when the monks of the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos created a secret custard egg tart recipe, baked and sold pastéis de nata (that they named pastéis de Bélem), to create income to support the monastery.

The Five Best Places for You to Get Your Pastel de Nata in Lisbon

A Fábrica dos Pastéis de Belém

Opened in 1837, this is the place where the monks of the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos ancient recipe are followed to this day.

Being a highly popular pastry shop, you can always expect a long line of people at the door. Even though you might not like to wait, I can tell you it’s definitely worth it. After all, the secret recipe is recreated every day in this pastry shop, by hand, using only traditional methods.

Inside Pastéis de Bélem

After you get your pastel de nata, you can have a good time sightseeing. Close at hand, you can find the Torre de Belém, the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (both World Heritage Sites), and many more historical sites that you can visit in Lisbon. If you just want to eat your pastel de natal, my tip is to sit somewhere in the pleasant Jardim Praça do Império and afterward stretch your legs with a walk alongside the river Tejo.

Location: Rua de Belém nº 84 a 92, 1300 – 085 Lisboa
Opening Hours: 10am to 8pm
Visit them here

Manteigaria – Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata

Manteigaria is another highly sought-out pastry shop, so much so that it has three locations in Lisbon and two in Porto.

Here, they always ring a bell to let you know when there is a new freshly, handmade, organic only, pastel de nata batch. Lucky you, you can never miss the pastel de nata in its most appetizing form!

Manteigaria fresh pasteis de nata

The pastel de nata in Manteigaria has a crunchy, flaky dough, with a not too sweet custard… yum, perfect points there! To top it off, the pastel de nata here is as delicious warm as it is cold.

Personally, I would recommend you go to their location at 2) Rua do Loreto, which is close to Bairro Alto, a thriving area with an eclectic lineup of taverns, bars, and small restaurants. If you stick around until the end of the day, you can liven up your evening with some sangria or spend a pleasant night listening to fado, the traditional Portuguese music.

Location: Rua do Loreto, Lisbon, Portugal
Opening Hours: Every day from 8 am to 9 pm
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Pastelaria Santo António

Winning a contest for the best pastel de nata in Lisbon in 2019, this pastry shop takes its Portuguese custard tart seriously.

To get the perfect pastel de nata, the oven’s heat is perfectly balanced, while they only approve each batch after the pastry chefs test them. First, the filling must be a thick creamy custard, not liquid; second, the color of the custard must be warm yellow; finally, the exterior dough must be a flaky crust. If all these requirements get a pass, the batches of pastel de nata are approved to be served.

Pastelaria Santo António pasteis de nata

Besides that, this pastry shop has the cool perk of being near the Castelo de São Jorge! You can take your pastel de nata with you and climb up to Castelo of São Jorge and, from there, get a full view of the city of Lisbon while enjoying the traditional flavor of Portugal.  

Location: R. do Milagre de Santo António 2-14, 1100-351 Lisboa
Opening Hours: 8 am to 9 pm
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Pastelaria Aloma

Heavily awarded, winning several contests of the best pastel de nata in Lisbon (in years of 2012, 2013, 2015), this pastry shop has its doors open for over 70 years. That is a long time perfecting the art of the pastel de nata!

Pasteis de nata from Pastelaria Aloma. Credit: Austin Bush

It is a great place to get your pastel de nata if you also want to do a bit of grocery shopping or grab some lunch made from fresh produce, since not too far away, you can reach the Mercado de Campo de Ourique. If instead you would rather rest, you can always eat your pastel de nata under the shade of the cooling trees at the Jardim da Parada Estátua da Maria da Fonte.

Location: R. Francisco Metrass 67, 1350-139 Lisboa
Opening Hours: 8 am to 8 pm
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Confeitaria Nacional

Despite being more well-known for another Portuguese delicacy named Bolo Rei, I couldn’t let this pastry shop out of the list.

First opened in 1829, this is a superbly well-located pastry shop. Not too distant from several historical spots in Lisbon (like Praça Dom Pedro IV, Convento do Carmo, or Elevador de Santa Justa), this pastry shop is must-go-to pastry heaven with its varied number of pastries and an original cookbook under its belt.

Paste de nata at Confeitaria Nacional. Credit: Kirk K

Still managed by a descendant of its founder, Confeitaria Nacional with its amazingly rich history, national recognition, beautiful vintage interior decor full of details and ornaments, cream-colored walls, golden finishes, and an amazing mirrored ceiling, is more than a pastry shop, it is an experience.

Location: Praça da Figueira, Praça Dom Pedro IV 18B, 1100-241 Lisboa
Opening Hours: 8:30 am to 7:30 pm
Visit them here