In a newly popular part of Lisbon called the Triangle, between the Bairro Alto and Santos neighborhoods, three coffee shops have grabbed the attention of design lovers—and those looking for a good cup of uma bica.
With its whitewashed walls, cement arches, and perfectly pink lower level, this café, which opened in July 2017, looks made for Instagram. But you won’t find anything that rings too hipster at this spot. “No mason jars or refurbished, whimsical objects atop the tables,” says owner Julien Garrec. “We wanted a clean, bright design, with white walls and Portuguese marble tables.” Fortunately, the food here is as pretty as the work of architects Carlos Aragao and João Pombeiro Machado. Chef Raquel Patronilho, who previously worked at the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz in Lisbon, serves an all-day breakfast menu of eggs Benedict, avocado toast, and açaí bowls using organic and locally sourced ingredients. The signature dish is the Rothko eggs: a thick slice of brioche (from Éric Kayser) with an egg cooked in the middle, all of it covered in a blanket of cheddar. It's got all the merits of a grilled cheese, plus the added bonus of a runny egg. For Garrec, it’s all about “the possibility of having a good breakfast whenever you want, at any time of the day.”
This Danish café, which opened a second outpost in Lisbon in 2014, was the first of its kind in the city. Locals post up here with their laptops to do caffeine-fueled work and snack on breads and cakes, and they’ll tell you that it’s also worth drop- ping in at lunchtime for the sandwiches or grain bowls. As the name suggests, the feel of the place is international: The menu features Australian flat whites and Brazilian muffins, while the overall vibe is equal parts Brooklyn and downtown Copenhagen. As for the “lab” element? Baristas here are just as interested in introducing their customers to new flavors as they are in satisfying familiar cravings. Like mad scientists, staff members are always experimenting with new brewing methods, meaning that each visit could yield a completely new experience.
Opened in 2016 by Ricardo Galésio, a freelance graphic designer-turned-entrepreneur, Hello, Kristof takes its design inspiration from colder climates such as New York and Scandinavia—which is to say,
it has a carefully curated, industrial-but-cozy aesthetic. Perfectly poured espressos, lightly earthy cold brews, and homemade snacks are the initial draw here, but linger after you finish your cup to enjoy the selection of indie magazines, which double as décor alongside photography that you’ll want to take home. Galésio wanted to create the perfect workspace away from home with Hello, Kristof, so it’s often filled with creative types who look as eclectic as the setting. You don’t have to take a meeting here to enjoy the people-watching.