A lot of people are obsessed with egg tarts. And for good reason. Custardy filling and flakey crust, what’s not to love? A lot of people love it, but not me. I’ve never been much of an egg tarts person. No, not even at dim sum. Sure, I’d have a bite here and there, but it was never something I’d seek out. That is, until I landed in Lisbon. And went to Belem. And get the real deal pasteis de natas. It was like an epiphany. Instantly converted to a fan of egg tarts, or at least, a fan of these ones.
The bakery has a long history in Belém, starting off as a sugar cane refinery in the early 1800s before becoming a bakery in 1837. The story goes that when the monastery was shut down, someone began creating sweet pastries to sell in the shop to survive, which became Pasteis de Belém, the very same pastries that has the whole world flocking to Belém today.
Today, Pasteis de Belem is like a pastry emporium. What looks to just be a busy storefront keeps going and going once you’re inside. The bustling energy does evoke a similar atmosphere to a busy dim sum restaurant on a Saturday morning, and the way they wheel out orders on carts just adds to the vibe. Sure it’s a tourist destination if I’ve ever seen one, but it’s not one to skip.
Go here for: an obligatory tourist stop that lives up to the hype
Order this: natas (seriously just go ahead and get a whole box) and coffee to cut the richness, and then everything else on the menu is secondary
Amount of time to spend: realistically you’d want to budget at least 30 minutes, more if you’re dining in
When to come: pretty much any time, but peak hours are between 10am – 2pm, so maybe avoid that, but they have ample seating in the very spacious shop
Getting here: easiest would be by bus (201, 714, 727, 728, 729, 751) or tram (15E, 18E) to stop Mosteiro Jerónimos
Other things to note: There may actually be a longer line for takeaway than there is to eat in, especially when there are tourist buses parked out front. So if you have some time to spare, ask for a table.
Last visited: MAY 2019
Last updated: MAY 2021