There are several pleasant cafés in Porto that are worth going out of your way to experience if you are looking for a refreshing drink or coffee. One of them ("Cafe Majestic") is a historical destination in itself:
Rua de Sá da Bandeira, 75
Although not as famous as the Lisbon café with the same name, this is nonetheless an historical landmark, having served the city of Porto for over a century. It has always been popular as a coffee house, but today it also serves light meals.
Rua de Ceuta, 20
Tel: 222 009 376
This 1950s café hasn't changed much since it opened, and locals are thankful for that. It still attracts downtown shoppers and students, who also take over the game room's pool table at night. On the menu are local specialties like the "francesinha" sandwich.
Rua Santa Catarina, 112
Phone: 22 200 3887
This Porto landmark is an essential stop in the city. It's known throughout Portugal, and is also listed among Europe's top historical coffeehouses (as well as one of the world's top 10 most beautiful cafés).
It was born with the name "Elite," which was soon changed to "Majestic." Its beautiful decoration justifies the second name: mirrors, cherubs, chandeliers, marble, and wood. It was once the meeting place for artists and politicians, and is still today often visited by illustrious figures.
It also serves lunches.
Rua José Falcão, 156
Tel: 220 135 538
It has "café" in the name but it's also a restaurant and bar. It's open throughout the day, with a colorful interior that includes an interior garden with a welcoming atmosphere. You may show up for a light meal for lunch, a drink in the afternoon, a more elaborate dinner, or a cocktail at night.
It's closed on Tuesdays.
Rua da Conceição, 3
Tel: 966 984 250
On weekdays, it opens in the morning as a café and bookstore and only closes at 2AM (it opens at 4pm on weekends). Young crowds show up for coffee and light meals, attracted by the cool retro décor, the art-related books and the soft music and lighting.
Travessa de Cedofeita, 20A
Porto's ability to intelligently add the contemporary to attractive traditional spaces is also seen here at this café-bar. It's a place for tea in the morning or afternoon, and cultural entertainment and drinks at night. It's therefore a destination to relax, but also a store where you can buy Portuguese gourmet products, including the house specialty, "páo de ló" (a sponge cake).
Avenida da Boavista, 1046
Tel: 226 100 742
The local chocolate brand Arcádia opened this café to serve chocolate temptations on the busy Avenida da Boavista not far from Casa da Música. You may take a break for coffee or tea accompanied by a chocolate cake, scones, crepes, or chocolate fondue. In the end, you may also be tempted to buy the classic chocolates as a gift for yourself or someone else.
Rua Sá da Bandeira, 676
Tel: 223 393 070
This is an American-style diner but with an interesting modernist décor which was quite luxurious when it opened in the 1960s. The food is local, including the meaty "Francesinha" sandwich and the "pão de ló" (sponge cake).
Rua Formosa, 339
Come here once for the homemade cakes and you're likely to return often. It's been in business across from the city's central market since 1896, and has an attractive dining area in the back that maintains a historic apprearance despite modern renovations.
Rua Senhora da Luz, 363
Tel: 22 618 0152
This elegant café and pastry shop is over 70 years old, but most of the décor is modern, with the exception of a few old photographs and ancient stone walls. The pastries are reputedly the best and most varied in the city, and are reason enough to visit this seaside café.
Avenida dos Aliados, 89/85
Tel: 22 332 1272
Founded in 1933, this café in the city's main avenue became known as "the musicians' café" due to its artistic atmosphere.
The name comes from a South American Indian tribe that was the native population in part of Brazil (from where most of the coffee served originated), and there is a marble high-relief of an Indian by a Portuguese sculptor.
It became a meeting place for businessmen and intellectuals, and there are still poetry readings, debates, and concerts from time to time today.
Avenida de Montevideu, Praia do Homem do Leme
Tel: 22 618 1847
This beachside bar-café is open throughout the year, rain or shine. Facing the seafront in Foz, it offers a relaxing atmosphere and a variety of drinks and meals. During the summer months the outdoor tables get filled quickly, but there are sea views even from the interior, thanks to large glass windows.
Rua do Padrão, 8
"The world's best chocolate cake" was born in Lisbon and has spread to different cities around the world. It of course would have to also open a spot in Porto, where you can try the specialty cake made with 55% or 70% cocoa.
Praia da Luz/Avenida do Brasil
Tel: 22 402 0414
This is a coffee shop, a bar and a restaurant, right on the beach, so whether you simply want to drink or have a complete meal, it's a place worth checking out.
It remains open throughout the year, and is heated outside as well as inside (where there is a lovely fireplace).
It's a trendy spot, with a live DJ providing danceable sounds until 3:30AM on good weather nights.
Rua Passos Manuel, 165
Tel: 222 083 476
Nice spot downtown, not just for coffee and Portugal's famous "pastéis de nata" (custard tarts) but also for fresh juices, sandwiches and salads, including vegetarian options. Also excellent for breakfast and light meals throughout the day, that may be enjoyed on the inviting terrace. There's also coffee to go and free wi-fi.
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