6 of the best independent coffee shops to try in Lisbon
Today on What Now Nat, I’m sharing 6 places to get great specialty coffee in Lisbon. Each one is perfect for when you’ve already had a few too many espressos and pasteis de nata and just really crave a flat white.
Earlier this year, Aidan and I went on a little city break to Lisbon. It was an altogether stunning experience, and we loved wandering the narrow uphill streets, looking all around us at the brightly coloured buildings at the turn of every street corner. As always, we peppered our busy sightseeing days with little coffee and brunch breaks. We like to take time to pause, refuel, and get rid of any hangry feelings before heading back out into the city again.
There is definitely no shortage of great coffee in Lisbon. Portugal has a longstanding coffee culture, and traditionally coffee is enjoyed with some sort of sweet pastry at a local pastelaria, or pastry shop. Most Portuguese coffee is dark and rich, verging on bitter, and dosed out almost exclusively in espresso shots. For foreigners used to milky coffee concoctions, ordering coffee in Lisbon can pose quite a challenge, especially when there is no menu in sight while ordering.
While in Lisbon, I had my fair share of pastelaria espressos, mostly accompanied by delicious pasteis de nata, or egg custard tarts dusted over liberally with cinnamon and icing sugar. The bitterness of a Portuguese espresso contrasts perfectly with these sweet treats. Truly a match made in heaven.
In search of a flat white on the Lisbon coffee scene
This may be a controversial opinion, but for me at least, there’s a limit to the amount of pastries I can have on any given day. This goes even more for espressos, which I do like to enjoy occasionally, but definitely not in excess. Two days into our holiday, I was already craving my usual specialty coffee of choice — a flat white.
Luckily, we had planned ahead for just this purpose. We came equipped with a map of great independent Lisbon coffee shops to try during our stay. They happened to be located along our sightseeing routes, which was perfect for when we were out and about walking through the city or travelling to our next destination for the day.
If you’re planning a trip to Lisbon anytime soon and know you’ll need your latte or flat white fix like me, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered with this list. Here are six great coffee shops to try in Lisbon, complete with great vegetarian-friendly brunch options, aesthetically pleasing interiors, and an easy way to order if you don’t speak Portuguese.
I’ve made a little map that you can check out below. Hopefully it helps you when you’re looking to add places to your itinerary!
1. the mill
What’s near here? Miradouro de Santa Catarina scenic viewing spot. It’s a great starting point for an uphill walk through the city towards the centre of Lisbon, exploring some of the residential areas.
The Mill has to top my list of the best Lisbon coffee shops, simply because they served me one of the best flat whites I’ve ever had. It was incomparably smooth and creamy, with expertly steamed milk and gorgeous latte art. Even though the sun was blazing down the day we came across The Mill, it was the perfect drink to sip on while exploring the city.
The Mill is an Australian-Portuguese café serving specialty coffee and locally sourced Portuguese produce. The Australian twist would explain the incredible flat white, of course! Their arabica coffee is hand-roasted over a wood fire just down the road in Santos, Lisbon. They also sell local ceramic pottery, beautifully displayed on the store shelves.
The interior of the shop is relaxed and modern, and was quite busy when we arrived on a Saturday afternoon. We ended up taking a highly coveted window spot, and enjoyed people-watching so much that we followed our flat whites with a cheeky peach mimosa spiked with local Portuguese prosecco.
If we weren’t still full after brunch, we surely would have ordered one of the delicious all-day breakfast meals on offer. Everything looked incredibly tempting.
What’s near here? COMOBA is right near the Bairro Alto district, not to be missed on a trip to Lisbon. In fact, it’s just down the street from the Insta-famous Pink Street, an area lined with some of the best bars and clubs in the city.
COMOBA was our first stop when we arrived in Lisbon. We dropped our suitcases off at a luggage storage place and walked down to Bairro Alto in search of this gorgeous coffee shop. (We travelled with cabin bags as usual, but decided to leave them while we waited for the check-in to open in our apartment and get brunch in the meantime.)
The space is beautiful, with a modern and natural feel, open shelving, and plants decorating every corner. Natural light streams in through the windows, and friendly staff work behind the open bar, chopping up fruit for the freshly squeezed juices on the menu. Local, seasonal food is served in handmade Algarve ceramics.
As for the menu, I really couldn’t decide what to get. Being a vegetarian, I’m rarely spoiled for choice, so it took me quite some time to finally settle on a pulled jackfruit club sandwich. It didn’t disappoint.
My only regret is that we didn’t go back to COMOBA to try their matcha latte. If the reviews are anything to go by, it’s good enough to get me to come back to Lisbon sometime in the near future.
3. Café Janis
Where? R. Moeda 1A, 1200-109 Lisboa, Portugal. Incidentally, it’s about 1 minute walking from COMOBA, number 2 on this list.
What’s near here? As with COMOBA, Café Janis is right near Bairro Alto, just down the street from the Pink Street, a vibrant area that features some of the best bars and clubs in the city.
Café Janis is a lovely plant-filled, whitewashed oasis on the Lisbon coffee scene. It has a vibrant outdoor area you’ll spot from the other end of the street. The windows are open wide, creating the impression of a half-indoor, half-outdoor space. I instantly adored the art and decorative elements, like the vintage wooden ceiling fan and the crate of fresh oranges at the entrance.
I opted for an iced coffee at Café Janis, wanting to cool down from the heat of the city. They have a range of cold brew and iced latte options within their extensive coffee menu. My orange-infused cold brew put a bittersweet spin on the traditional cold brew that I’m used to in the summers. It was deliciously refreshing and quite a unique taste experience, even for a seasoned coffee drinker.
Aidan had a flat white, which was truly delicious — you can bet I made him give me a sip. Once a cool breeze started drifting in through the open windows, I started wishing I had ordered one too.
Another note: Café Janis serves generous portions of healthy and nutritious food, such as colourful Buddha bowls. Again, we were too full to enjoy a meal there, but I will be sure to fix that next time I’m in town.
4. Fábrica Coffee Roasters
Where? Two locations in Lisbon. The roastery and coffee shop that I went to is located at R. das Portas de Santo Antão 136, 1150-269 Lisboa, Portugal. A more centrally located option can be found at Rua das Flores 63, 1200-193 Lisboa, Portugal.
What’s near here? The Roasters location is an easy downhill walk to the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara viewing spot, as well as the Lisbon Botanic Gardens. The central location is just that: central, and therefore the perfect stop on your day of sightseeing.
Clearly very happy with my flat white!
It wouldn’t be a Lisbon specialty coffee guide if I didn’t include Fábrica Coffee Roasters. We were lucky enough to stay a stone’s throw away from this coffee hotspot, and enjoyed a morning of sipping on flat whites and eating fresh-out-of-the-oven croissants before we headed out for the day. They have an outdoor seating area, as well as a cosy and warm interior space.
Fábrica Coffee Roasters control the process of their coffee from farm to cup, and roast their beans in-house. Their dedication to making the perfect cup of coffee shows in the quality of the finished product. You also get to choose the type of roast you’d like to try, making it the perfect option for coffee aficionados. If you’re looking for a great specialty flat white with a community feel, then look no further. Just take a seat at Fábrica. I was thrilled to find such a great place so close to our accommodation.
5. Zenith Brunch & Cocktails
Where? Located at R. Telhal 4A, 1150-346 Lisboa, Portugal, just up the road from Fábrica Coffee Roasters.
I mean, you’re probably already drooling at the sight of those pancakes. I assure you, they were even tastier than they look.
I’ll be honest — we came to Zenith for what’s in the name: brunch and cocktails. The place is busy! We waited about 20 minutes for a table, painstakingly watching other happy brunchers enjoy their shakshuka and eggs benedict. When our turn came to take a seat though, every second of the wait was worth it.
The interior is industrial-chic, and features a much darker colour palette than most new coffee spots. I really wanted to see it in the evening time, and have a couple of cocktails. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite find the time for it in our itinerary this time around.
Zenith boast a huge brunch menu, packed full of vegetarian and vegan-friendly options. I wish I could go back there at least three more times to try more dishes I missed out on! Their pancakes are the stars of the show though, and I was more than happy with my choice of an Oreo and banana cream stack, topped with Oreo ice cream.
As for the coffee, they have plenty of it to go around. Apart from classic favourites like espressos and flat whites, you can spot highly instagrammable beetroot and turmeric lattes on the menu. Once again, I veered away from my usual order and went for a matcha latte which unfortunately didn’t quite make the cut for me. Aidan’s flat white was perfect though. What can I say, the man has good taste.
6. Heim Café
Where? Located at R. Santos-O-Velho 2 e 4, 1200-109 Lisboa, Portugal, in the Santos neighbourhood.
What’s near here? Apart from a pretty-in-pink church, there’s not all that much going on in this area. That being said, it’s right by Santos station, where you can catch a train to Belém.
The final contender on my list but definitely not the least eligible, Heim Café features all-day brunch and a clean, crisp atmosphere. It’s situated a little out of the way, so if you have very little time to spend in Lisbon, this might not be the number one place to go. That being said, Aidan and I stopped by it before catching the train from Santos to Belém. The station is just down the street, so this café is the perfect pitstop before heading to the must-see Belém Tower.
This neighbourhood may be quiet, but the coffee shop definitely isn’t. We somehow managed to snag a window seat before a crowd came lining up outside for lunch. Aidan had a full breakfast while I opted for a mushroom grilled cheese sandwich with soft-scrambled eggs. Delicious and filling, it kept us going until we could stock up on some pasteis de nata later in Belém.
Apart from beautifully crafted specialty coffee, Heim offers a range of smoothies and homemade lemonades. I just couldn’t resist a refreshing rosemary lemonade! After such a brunch, I was ready to take on pastelaria espressos once more.
So there it is! My list of six fantastic specialty coffee shops in Lisbon, perfect for your next city break. I hope you enjoyed it, and be sure to let me know if you end up trying any of them!
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