This is certainly one of my favorite addresses to get pastéis de nata (here they’re called Pastéis de Belém). A visit to Belém is not complete before you have eaten pastéis de Belém. Because the cakes are named after this place, you almost forget what the bakery itself is called: Confeitaria de Belém.
Help! It is so crowded!
The entrance of Confeitaria de Belém often looks very crowded, with those hordes of tourists who want to get pastéis. But most of the time they don’t understand how it works here. So stay call and pay attention, read the instructions below!
Get your pastéis de belém in an instant
Which pastéis and how many?
First, you place your order at the checkout. Tell the staff what you want and how many. This can be difficult because we always want to see it before buying it. But believe me, every Pastel de Belém is delicious and the production is so efficient and fast that there’s staff in the middle of the bar to pack them.
Rest assured that the pasteis are fresh, they sell more than 20,000 pastéis every day. And believe us, you will not
Step 2: as soon as you let one of the cashiers know how much you want to have, they give you 2 vouchers: 1 for your own administration and 1 to give to the staff member who will pack your pastéis de Belém. To be honest here, I never understand which voucher is for whom, so I give them both.
The whole process usually takes no more than a minute, regardless of the lines you may see. Yes, they are that efficient.
Powdered sugar and cinnamon
When you order at the counter, the staff will assume that you won’t eat your pastéis in the café, but that it’s take-away. You will get a sachet of powdered sugar and cinnamon with your order. It is possible to eat the Pastéis de Belém at the bar, but it is often very busy.
Prefer a table?
If you want to fully enjoy your Pastéis de Belém (with a bica for instance), just walk into the café. They have at least a couple of hundred seats inside, you’ll be amazed at how big the place is. The price for a pastel de Belém inside is about the same as take out (around €1,10 or 90p), but now you can have that coffee too.
You’ll also notice that it can get quite crowded in here. Recently we were there at eleven o’clock on a Monday morning and almost got overrun by about thirty Chinese tourists. Again, don’t panic, usually you’ll be able to find a spot. Just don’t be surprised if it takes a few minutes.
Original pastéis de Belém
If you’ve never eaten a pastel de Belém or pastel de nata before, then I would definitely advise you to go to Confeitaria de Belém. In 1837, the baker made these cakes from a secret recipe of eggs, dough and cream.
To this day, the recipe of Pastéis de Belém has remained a well kept secret, only the owner and 2 head chefs know the whole recipe.
There’s a reason that Confeitaria de Belém sells their cakes as Pastéis de Belém and not as pastéis de nata. The original pastéis were developed by the nuns in Belém. In the nearby abbey of Mosteiro dos Jerónimos the nuns used the white of the egg as starch for their clothing. The egg yolks were left over and to not having to throw them away, a cake was developed in which the egg yolks could be used.
The best pastéis de nata?
Honestly, I think the pastéis de Belém is one of the tastiest pastéis de nata I have eaten in Portugal. They are by far the best if you eat them directly after buying them, but at least within a few hours.
Whenever I’m flying to Lisbon, the whole flight I’ll be looking forward to take a bite out of a pastel de Belém. And I always buy more than I should. The rest we take with us to our vacation home, but the experience is very different than from when the pastéis are fresh. These things just don’t age that well unfortunately. I therefore advise you not to bring a box home with you. If you ask me you’ll only be disappointment.
Pastéis de Belém is the number 5 in our big Pastéis de Nata test.
Pastéis for breakfast or lunch
The Portuguese are really fond of their pastéis de nata. They eat it at breakfast, lunch and / or dinner. If you want to bake them at home, the internet is full of recipes for you to try.
If you don’t like pastéis de nata, Confeitaria de Belém has more to offer. They have pastries with meat and fish, which are also very good. And they have other sweet stuff too, such as Bolo Inglês and various types of biscuits.
The pastéis de Belém are not much more expensive than the pastéis de nata that you buy at the bakery. Luckily the prices are pretty much in synch all across Lisbon.
How to get to Confeitaria de Belém
Address: Rua de Belém nº 84 – 92, Belém
Openings hours: daily:
October – June: 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
July – September: 8:00 a.m. – 0:00
Closed on: 24,25, 31 December, and 1 January they are closed at 19:00.