Be surrounded by Lisbon’s history (and tourists, but who cares)
A Brasileira is a tourist destination, sure — but it’s gorgeous inside, if you can score a table, and a strategic place for people-watching if you sit outside. A Brasileira offers good, simple traditional Portuguese food. Stick with the tosta mista or a pastry, save the seafood for somewhere else. The food isn’t why you’re here, after all: this place is overflowing with history. That bronze statue perched on a chair outside the cafe is of Lisbon’s beloved poet Fernando Pessoa, who allegedly favored A Brasileira for his dose of absinthe and coffee, as well as by many other Lisbon intellectuals and poets at the start of the 20th century. Speaking of coffee, A Brasileira was named that because the owner who opened it in 1905 imported the beans from Brasil. He was a smart businessman, too: at a time when coffee wasn’t too popular in Lisbon, the owner sold the beans by the kilo but offered each paying customer a free shot of coffee that he called a bica. Now, “uma bica” is the most popular way to order coffee in Lisbon — but don’t do it once outside the city, they’ll look at you funny. As for the groovy architecture, the current Art Deco design is actually the result of a renovation in the 1920s.