Even though Pastelaria Versailles is one of the oldest pastelarias in Lisbon, compared to the city centre of Lisbon this pasteleria is not super old.
Pastelaria Versailles was opened in 1922. Even though that’s less than a 100 years old, the interior suggests otherwise.
Pleasant and hard times
In the early 20th century, Lisbon was extended with wide avenues to other parts of the city. At the time the first large café in the neighbourhood, Pastelaria Versailles, was opened on Avenida da Republica. It had a distinct social and cultural function
In the 80s and 90s the neighbourhood changed drastically: there were fewer and fewer people living there and the Saldanha district slowly transformed into the financial district of Lisbon.
This caused Pastelaria Versailles to fall on hard times. So badly so that they almost went bankrupt in the 80s. But at some point it was acquired by an investment company that is still running the place today.
The interior is Art Nouveau, with many mirrors, ornaments on the ceiling and chandeliers throughout the cafe. If you had to guess based on the interior then you’d think that Pastelaria Versailles has been around much longer than 1922.
The tables are covered with red linen tablecloths, but the real eyecatcher is the long counter, filled with cookies and all kinds of pastries.
There is always an abundance of waiting staff at work, the men in black trousers and a red waistcoat complete the interior. Check them out if you got a seat inside, it seems like a tightly practiced choreographic dance with eight men behind the giant counter and six men serving the tables inside and outside. It runs like a well oiled machine and even though there are many of them serving, they never get in each other’s way.
Remarkable about Pastelaria Versailles is that there are few tourists to be found, especially if you compare it to the old pastelarias in the Baixa (Café Nicola) or in Chiado (Café A Brasileira). At Pastelaria Versailles you will find mainly Lisboetas who meet here.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner
You can go to Pastelaria Versailles for every meal. The cuisine is typical Portuguese. But the pastelaria is best known for the largest assortment of biscuits in Lisbon. A kilo costs between 14-25 euros (depending on your choice) but man are they good!
Home made pastel de nata
Don’t forget to have a pastel de nata at Pastelaria Versailles. The pasteis are a bit smaller than we’re used to, but also a bit taller. Which actually works very well if you’re taking a big bite. The outside of the pastel is very crunchy and the dough is made of visible loose thin sheets that crackle when you sink your teeth in it.
The taste is full and creamy with a hint of lemon, which gives the pastel a fresh taste. Cinnamon is not necessary, but because I love to do a lot of cinnamon on my pastel de nata I did. Even then (or because of it?) the pastel tastes excellent.
Where to find Pastelaria Versailles
Address: Avenida da República 15A, Saldanha
Opening hours: every day 07:15 a.m. – 00:00