When I went to Lisbon I was excited to try their traditional Portuguese custard tarts, and I was definitely not disappointed. A lot of places sell them and while I can assure you everywhere that I tried them were yummy, I am going to let you in on a little secret on where the best ones are, and before you say it, no, I don’t mean the ones in Belem.
First of all, pastel de natas are a custard and egg tart and are usually served with cinnamon and icing sugar. They originate from monks in Belem from the 18th century (hence why many people say the Pastéis de Belém are the best). Back then egg whites were used to starch the nun’s habits which meant a lot of egg yolks were leftover, which the monks then used to create these tarts.
Belem is a short bus ride away from the centre of Lisbon. Before we tried the famous tarts in Belem we also had a random pastel de nata in Alfama town. It tasted great although maybe a little too soft.
The pasteis de Belems had a more crunchy outer bit and a lovely soft centre. I don’t have a photo of any however, because a seagull literally attacked me whilst I ate one and stole the tart out of my mouth. If you read anywhere that you should buy the pasteis de Belems and sit opposite in the cute park to eat them – don’t do it!! The seagulls are massive and I am traumatized. Anyway back to letting you know where you can find the best pastel de nata.
We had a lovely private port tasting with Lisbon Winery and our sommelier who has lived in Lisbon all of her life let us in on the secret of where to find the best pastel de natas. Funnily enough as she mentioned this, we recognized the name as that was our next stop! We had read one of the reviews on google that also said “best tarts in Lisbon, better than the ones in Belem”.
So, for the best pastel de nata go to Manteigaria, they are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and tasted great. They are in the centre of Lisbon so you don’t need to go far and there are no seagulls trying to steal it from you.
We did try a few others when we were walking around and as I said before, they did all taste good, the biggest difference was the texture and some were served with or without cinnamon and icing sugar. So if I were you I would also do a pastel de nata tasting and try a few whilst exploring this beautiful city.
Have you tried a pastel de nata yet?