May 2, 2019 by Eden Flaherty
Brunch in Lisbon: a Date with Debauchery
There are a lot of famous Guys. We have Guy Debord to thank for the Society of the Spectacle, Guy Fawkes for near-regicide and bonfire night, and Guy Ritchie for badass films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
But one Guy stands head and shoulders above the rest. A Guy of gall and good taste — Guy Beringer, inventor of the Brunch.
Sick of “the purgatory of… Sabbatarian early dinners with their Christian beef and concomitant pie,” he suggested an alternative. A “corruption of breakfast and lunch… which combines the tea or coffee, marmalade and kindred features of the former institution with the more solid attributes of the latter.” And, dubbing his creation “Brunch,” Beringer arguably stunted home ownership among the entire millennial generation.
His reasoning for this new meal? First, you don’t have to wake up early on Sundays. Which, with the advent of Brunch, would “not only [be] unnecessary but ridiculous.” Instead, one should rise “when the world is warm,” something we can all get behind in the strange days of Lisbon’s spring.
Secondly, one doesn’t want to wake early after a night of tomfoolery, shindigary, or general debauchery. The hybrid meal of Brunch allows you to “prolong your Saturday nights, heedless of that moral ‘last train,’” and worry not about what the next day brings.
Finally, Brunch is a far more social affair than the “solitude” of eggs and bacon. It is “talk-compelling,” “cheerful, sociable, and exciting,” and “makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings.” An opportunity to relax with friends rather than wallow in early-morning self-pity.
And, in a final note, Beringer makes the very important announcement that at Brunch, “beer and whiskey are admitted as substitutes for tea and coffee.” You go, Guy.
So, to make way for long Saturday nights and leisurely Sunday mornings, here’s where you can grab Brunch in Lisbon. But, while you munch on your pricey toast and fancy coffee, raise your mimosa in a toast to Guy Beringer and the undoubtedly hellish hangover that inspired this Frankenstein meal.
Chin-chin, you scoundrel.
The vapors of fresh, baked-on-site croissants will sucker you into this place, and the amazing views from its indoor and outdoor seating will keep you there. Try their croissant misto — a fried egg yolk soaking gently into the buttery layers under a blanket of ham and cheese. Kick it off with an imperial beer and you’ve got brunch.
Josephine Bistrô & Bar
If you feel pretty hip eating your fancy brunch, but not quite hip enough, then you’ll probably want to have your corruption of breakfast and lunch in Intendente. Josephine claims a simple menu of local foods and has an 11€ Sunday Bunch from 12h until 16h with croissants, bread, toast, jam, cheese, cold cuts, yogurt with muesli, homemade red fruits coulis, and more.
If you’ve done any brunch-hunting in the city, you’ve no doubt come across Brick. Based in Anjos, it’s been a go-to spot for some time and now offers both a Saturday and Sunday brunch from 11h to 15h. They have a 6,80€ Mini Brick Brunch with bread, croissants, cold meats, cheese, eggs, butter/jam, salami, and dried fruit or the full Brick Brunch for 11,95€ , which adds smoked salmon, eggs with bacon, peixinhos da horta (tempura-style deep fried green beans), and Caprese salad.
There’s a fairly high chance that you spent your Saturday night drinking in Cais do Sodré, so why not spend your Sunday morning drinking there too? As part of their brunch, Café Janis offers a mimosa or bloody mary. Just the ticket. It does, however, come at a cost — 18€ to be precise, and no, the drinks aren’t bottomless. The brunch menu comes with a hot drink, granola with the toppings or another “starter” and then a choice of main, with plenty of veggie options. Still, 18€.
Ever wanted to walk into a white-walled Instagram post? Well, now’s your chance. This place is literally designed to serve brunch all day, every day. They have a huge range of options and the prices are about the same as everywhere else — however, not putting the € sign at the end of the number doesn’t make it feel any cheaper, Dear Breakfast. Toast with jam, a croissant, two eggs, tea or coffee, and a juice will set you back 14€.
Maybe this is the weekend that you say “fuck it” and spend hundreds of euros on Sunday brunch for you and your friends. Maybe you’ve had a bad week, maybe you’ve had a great week! Maybe you’ve just met the love of your life, or perhaps you’re sad-eating over your fourth breakup in as many months. Whatever the occasion, if you want to get really fancy, Estufa Real, in the heart of Ajuda Botanical Garden, offers brunch from 12h30 to 16h at €38 per person (don’t fear, it’s half off for kids). Phone or email the venue for more info on this extravagant meal.
“You fool, this is a list for brunch, not culture!” Woah there, judgmental reader! Museu do Oriente actually offers brunch every weekend from 12h30 to 16h. Brunch is served in the Macao Room, runs at 25€ per person (10€ for children under 10), and includes a hot and cold buffet, fresh fruit, drinks, and coffee. What sets this place apart is its range of more exotic dishes that you can order when pre-booking. They include Goan style roast pork, prawn curry, salmon teriyaki, and squid with Goan cream.
If you can drag your hungover ass up the hills of Bairro Alto, then the Decadente awaits you. They offer brunch between 12h and 16h every Saturday and Sunday for 20€ per person. The menu includes access to the Brunch Buffet and the choice of one main dish — an English breakfast, salmon tataki, Tuna steak, chicken wrap, Entrecosto Alto Assado, or roast beef.
São Bento is pretty cool right now, and the Mill, based in its heart, offers up an absolute beast of a brunch menu as well as an all-day menu with breakfast bowls and plates. Avocado toast will set you back 7,50€ (there goes the downpayment), but they also offer “cheaper” options such as porridge (oatmeal) for 3€. Just a heads up, their “classic breakfast” isn’t classic and almost every dish has avocado in it. Under their brunch drinks, they list a 6,50€ “Portuguese Bucks Fizz,” which, to my American friends, is a mimosa. They, like other hip cafes, commit the grievous sin of prices without the euro symbol.
This Santos-based cafe offers four different brunch options — Verde, Vermelho, Amarelo, and Azul (Green, Red, Yellow, and Blue). This rainbow of options ranges between 13€ and 14,50€ with various cheeses, meats, fruits, salads, waffles, and a whole host of other ingredients making up the various plates. There is also a “toast bar” where you choose your topping, and eggs and sandwiches are available too. And there’s a reason it made it into Atlas’s Best of 2019 list…
Not including all their other breakfast and lunch options, this cafe, based in Campo de Ourique, does offer a set brunch menu for 15€. For that, you get “pancake,” orange juice, granola with fresh fruit and yogurt/overnight oats, avocado toast or scrambled eggs, and tea, coffee or hot chocolate. An “extra mimosa” is 3€, despite not getting a first. They also make it very clear that there can be “No altering or switching brunch items!” You have been warned.
[Thank foodie-sleuths (and Atlas contributors) Ellis Dixon and Patricia Imbarus for seeking out these top brunch spots]