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Brasileira do Chiado is the most emblematic cafe in town and a must for anyone visiting Lisbon.

Brasileira do Chiado is the most emblematic cafe in town and a must for anyone visiting Lisbon. Located in the cosmopolitan Rua Garrett, opposite to the Metro station in Chiado, this cafe is always full (especially with foreign visitors). A Brasileira opened in 1905, by the initiative of Adriano Telles, a Portuguese who made his fortune in Brazil and imported Brazilian coffee to sell it here. It is said that the bica (the Portuguese version of an espresso) was invented here, when this entrepreneur began to serve coffees directly from the machine, avoiding the use of a coffee pot to distribute them into the tables, so that the taste of the drink would be more intense. It soon became a crowded place and in the twenties of the last century it was turned into a meeting point for artists, writers and intellectuals of a new generation, unhappy with the art of that time. These are the artists who latter introduced modernism in Portugal. One of them was Fernando Pessoa, one of Lisbon’s most famous poets, immortalized in the bronze statue (designed by Lagoa Henriques) placed on the terrace and inviting passers-by to sit beside him. Another artist inseparable from the A Brasileira was Almada Negreiros, another avant-garde artist who is also a symbol of that generation.

In 1925, A Brasileira started the tradition of displaying Portuguese painters canvas, becoming a café museum. The decor has remained faithful to the original art deco style, with a green and gold entry and walls covered with wood and mirrors. The original 11 canvases were replaced in 1971 by others of more recent artists. Enjoy this historic ambience while drinking a bica and tasting a pastel de nata (the famous Portuguese custard pastry). On the terrace you can enjoy the lively street’s movement, but the prices are a little higher than in the interior. This cafe consists of a ground floor with a large wood counter and in the basement there is a restaurant serving light meals, in a simple menu. A Brasileira do Chiado offers a smoking room and is open every day of the week.

Photos: Celso Gonçalves Roc2c 

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