After living here in the city of light for more than a year, I’ve gradually started to receive a trickle of visitors. Friends, my sister and more. The thing about living in a city like this, with so much to see and so much to do, is to decide what to do first. But, over the past few months, I’ve noticed that, before the castle, before the waterfront, before the Miradouros, much as I love them all, I invariably take people to “A Manteigaria.”
‘A Manteigaria,’ in translation, means “the buttery” or at least, the place where butter is made. It sounds like a strange place to take visitors. But those with any Portuguese language skills will see on the sign below that it is in fact a factory, where Pasteís de Nata are made. You can read more about these fabulous pastries and there origins here. They are a delicious snack and one of the great traditional treats of Lisbon and, after much consideration and research, I can say that these, at A Manteigaria, are my favourites.
The café itself is very simply laid out. There is a balcão set up, whereby there is a bar. No stools, no tables. You order, you stand, you eat and drink, you pay and you leave. And yet here, in the very heart of the city, they have a huge clientele and one that is growing all the time.
What’s on the menu, you ask? Pasteís de Nata. And… drinks. That’s it. They’ve chosen the humble Pastel, knowing it is one of the great culinary treats, holding that authenticity of being, proudly, a product of Lisbon and they’ve decided to get it exactly right. You only have to watch them making them, through the glass wall to see the care and attention that goes into making them to see that it’s an art for them.
So if you find yourself in Praça de Camões and you hear a bell ringing on the road running up to Bica, go and treat yourself to a Pastel de Nata, fresh from A Manteigaria‘s oven. You won’t be disappointed.