One of the most popular branches of a city-wide cafe-bakery franchise, this buzzing French-style boulangerie offers a deliciously appetizing Continental breakfast of freshly squeezed orange juice, a wholesome cheese and ham croissant or baguette and a choice of a bica (Portuguese expresso) or coffee with milk. Those with a sweeter tooth are also well catered for, with the counter display crammed full of cakes and pastries. The daily brunch menu reworks this wholesome ensemble into hot, spicy sausage bread and lots of savoury goodies including tasty chicken pies and cod fish cakes. Patrons can eat in or opt for a picnic-lunch take out.
Recommended for Breakfast because: A fantastic location right in the heart of everything, and offering simple but nourishing get-go fare, A Padaria is where to start the day.
Paul's expert tip: Customers need to take a numbered ticket from a vending machine situated at the top of the stairs. When their number is called they can step up to be served.
Lisbon's most eye-catching Starbucks outlet opens at 7.30 am Mon to Sat and is conveniently located in the heart of the city. It's housed within Rossio railway station and the cafe carefully incorporates the neo-Manueline architectural design of this late 19th-century transport hub. Spacious and airy, the floor is open plan and furnished with comfy sofas, plump armchairs and wooden chairs and tables. There's also an outside terrace for people watching. The menu of course is Starbucks standard - a great range of different coffee (your caffeine or sugar rush is guaranteed) teas, juices and a good selection of freshly baked muffins, wraps and pastries. There are also plenty of rolls and sandwiches available. The waiting staff all speak English, and the vibe is youthful and very international.
Recommended for Breakfast because: Wrapped in an historic 19th-century facade, this is the most attractive of Lisbon's Starbucks cafes. Get the smart phones out.
Paul's expert tip: Several power points can supply juice for laptops and drained cell phone batteries.
Not to be confused with Café A Brasileira in Chiado, this near namesake enjoys an equally privileged Lisbon location in Rua Augusta, the city's animated pedestrian thoroughfare. Inside, the long stand-up glass counter is crammed full of chicken pies, fish cakes, rolls and sandwiches and other savory goodies, plus a huge variety of cakes, biscuits and other sweets. They do breakfast specials here, things like toasted bacon and egg sandwich with juice and coffee. You can also order toast on its own - torrada - that's as big as a doorstep! The cafe's popularity is measured by the amount of locals that call in on on their way to work (Brasileira opens at 7am) and the busy outside terrace seating area, a favourite with tourists, although items are priced slightly higher if ordered from the esplanade.
Recommended for Breakfast because: A great no-nonsense standby, Casa Brasileira avoids the usual trappings of tourism with its low prices and genuine local flavour.
Paul's expert tip: Check out their fruit salads - huge bowls of orange, apple,strawberry, pineapple, grape, mango, melon and papaya. Healthy or what!
For those staying in and around the city's uptown Saldanha district or near Avenida da República you have an absolute gem of a breakfast spot on your doorstep. Café Versailles dates from the early 1920s and stands replete with original marble-clad walls, decorative stained glass panels and crystal chandeliers. It opens for business at 7.30am and the bygone ambiance is immediately apparent as you walk in. A wonderfully tempting selection of cakes, biscuits and pasties are arranged in original glass counters. Savory snacks are also available. Coffee, tea (including green and black varieties) can be ordered, but if you really want a morning pick-me-up ask for the house speciality - hot chocolate, a rich dark concoction coifed with a dollop of whipped cream.
Recommended for Breakfast because: No other tea house exemplifies the charm and elegance of yesteryear Lisbon than Café Versailles.
Paul's expert tip: Tea drinkers should try licungo, a rare black tea from Mozambique.
Hot crispy croissants, flaky pastries and arguably the best eggs Benedict in town are rustled up daily at this smart little bakery. Located just off Rua Garrett in the city's venerable Chiado district, the pastelaria is also known for its hot crusty bread, baked on site to leave a delicious aroma hanging in the air. Their range of toasties challenges the imagination and they do some great pancakes. And as you'd expect, the eatery is renowned for its tartines - hot, open-faced sandwiches crammed with all sorts of mouth-watering combinations. Tea, coffee and super rich hot chocolate complement fresh fruit juices and other drinks.
Recommended for Breakfast because: A marvellous location enhanced by a lovely inner courtyard, Tartine works as a wonderfully intimate breakfast meeting spot.
Paul's expert tip: Besides a favourite brekkie hangout, Tartine is also known for its lunchtime specials such as the grilled vegetable salad.
If you savour just one thing at this chic little bakery make sure it's the Pães de Deus. This is the 'Bread of God', a sweet roll with a crusty top sprinkled with light powdery icing sugar. Your dietician will no doubt raise an eyebrow, but these delicious cake-like creations are simply divine, and Chiado Caffe bake them on the premises to sell straight off the tray. One of these with butter and jam, plus a strong black coffee, is what breakfasts were made for. There's also a tempting selection of croissants, including a richly smooth chocolate variation, plus toast and sandwich combinations. And the super friendly counter staff can put together a combo of cakes and pastries to go – a great picnic idea.
Recommended for Breakfast because: A smart and stylish interior but with a local authentic flavour, Chiado Caffe exudes a traditional allure but maintains a snappy, vibrant service.
Paul's expert tip: Their specialty is the pastel de feijão –¬ tasty and wonderfully healthful bean tart.
The quiet leafy Campo Ourique neighbourhood makes for rewarding exploration and is easily reached by taking the number 28 tram all the way to Prazeres. Make this journey early in the morning before the tourist hordes stir and you can enjoy breakfast with the locals at this lovely little café, which exudes a faintly rustic ambiance as if set in the countryside. Besides the mouth-watering cakes and pastries that are beautifully displayed in a glass counter, you can order toast (torrada) with jam or a ham and cheese combination known as a tosta mista – delicious with a mug of coffee. Another option is a warm oven-baked baked roll with goat's cheese and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, ideal if you're watching your weight or simply don't want to fill up before hitting the sight-seeing path.
Recommended for Breakfast because: Patronised mostly by residents, Botica do Café is bereft of the tourist groups that congregate in Lisbon's historic centre, so exudes a genuine local flavour.
Paul's expert tip: In the same street is a little known visitor attraction, an excavated section of seabed 20 million years old that illustrates the period when the European continent was totally submerged.
So named for the section of brick wall overlooking the counter, this place is ideal for anyone staying in or exploring the city's Intendente and Anjos neighbourhoods, areas of the city fairly off the tourist radar. Popular with budget travellers and in-the-know locals, the café is highly regarded for its breakfast and brunch menus. Start off with one of their natural fruit juices before tucking into a round of hot buttered toast smothered with jam. Alternatively, order a couple of fresh crunchy croissants. Still hungry? The fluffy scrambled egg and crispy bacon will set things right. Coffee is de rigueur here, but there's also a healthy and exotic range of teas and infusions including black tea from China with lychees, and jasmine flavoured green tea. The vibe is always friendly and inviting and as well as a great way to kick off a day, you'll probably end up making new friends into the bargain.
Recommended for Breakfast because: Well off the tourist trail, Brick Café is well worth seeking out for great food and smile inducing value for money.
Paul's expert tip: For a treat, try the toast with smoked ham, mozzarella and pesto.
Taking breakfast at Nicolau means enjoying one of Lisbon's coolest morning eats venues. A bright, breezy vibe, quirky retro-furnishings, and a funky soundtrack set the scene. This is a place to meet friends and get happy! Its city centre location draws plenty of foreign clientele¬ ¬– visitors eager to sample the eatery's enticing and outrageously healthy dishes. But locals, too, have caught on, and the cosmopolitan buzz is tangible. Arrive just after 9am and they're already serving up Açaí, huge bowls of fresh fruit and homemade granola. For something a little more substantial but no less nourishing, consider the eggs benedict. This is one of Nicolau's most popular dishes. But if you're feeling shamefully indulgent go for the red velvet pancake, a beautiful melody of strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry dusted with icing sugar. What a treat! In fact, the plating up is impeccable, and the colours simply dazzle. The menu is extensive, and full of surprises. Oh and if you're just after a drink, Nicolau's Green Detox – an exotic blend of spinach, banana, apple, ginger, lemon, and chia – is a superfood knockout.
Recommended for Breakfast because: A breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner venue all in one, Nicolau is one of the funkiest food gigs in town.
Paul's expert tip: Nicolau is a veggie hotspot. It also has gluten free choices. Ask for more details after taking your table.
Non-residents don't usually consider hotels as suitable breakfast venues, but there are exceptions. And Esqina Cosmopolitan Lodge is one of them! One of Lisbon's newest accommodation options is fast becoming a place to start the day with a tasty choice of fruit, pastries and yogurts, Portuguese cheese and cold cuts, and two scrumptious hot plate selections: pancakes with jam or honey, and Esqina's signature breakfast dish, avocado toast, served layered with eggs and bacon. This deliciously tempting menu is available in the hotel's funky Gastro & Cocktail Bar, which in effect is where hotel guests dine. But here's the thing. Non-residents can just breeze in off the street with no reservations and order breakfast as if entering a stand-alone café. Breakfast at Esqina's Gastro & Cocktail Bar is available from 7-10am, and is enjoyed in a chic and contemporary setting. Service is prompt and friendly, and you can linger over tea or coffee in a quiet and relaxed morning vibe before ordering.
Recommended for Breakfast because: The Gastro & Cocktail Bar at Esqina offers a nourishing and inexpensive breakfast in contemporary surroundings.
Paul's expert tip: Order the avocado toast, fruit bowl, and fresh juice special - a delicious and nutritious brekkie combo!