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    Splendor and art nouveau for breakfast at the Cafè Majestic in Porto

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    Aina Prat Blasi

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    The Majestic Cafe in Porto is a place to go to relive the past, surrounded by elegant interiors.

    Go back a hundred years, a Porto, you can: just enter the Majestic Cafè located in Rua Santa Catarina, the trendiest street in the city. This is one of the most renowned historical places in the world and is very popular with both tourists and Porto inhabitants looking for the elegance of a past time that, only here, can return to the present.

    Walk into a restaurant cafe and hear notes of classical music in the air when there is no trace of music, seeing oneself reflected in dozens of full-wall mirrors, having the sensation of being strongly illuminated by the thousand lights of the crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, crossing the internal door from the liberty decorations and sitting at a table next to a historic piano is like crossing the threshold of time and, in a moment, you are back in 1920 surrounded by artists and writers of the time.

    My first mental and logical connection was visual: the restaurant room of the Cafè Majestic, which has remained original since the year of its birth in the 1921, sent me back to the ballroom adorned and full of people with a graceful spirit, during the last glorious evening of the Titanic as the director James Cameron.

    From there, the notes started ringing in my ears.
    Dance steps of imaginary figures developed around me distracting me from the present.

    Timeless magnificence and unrestrained opulence are found in the decorations of the rooms, the ceilings, the leather seats, silver. The advent of the new, mixed with a classic style still highly appreciated and respected at the beginning of the last century, is expressed - above all - by the use of skilfully painted and masked wood up to being in all respects similar to marble for the visual effect recreated.

    And then the distinguished service, the formal courtesy of the waiters, the dish Retro in plates with golden decorations and celebrating the name of the place. The courses offered by à la carte menu they are reduced in number but refined, embellished by the high-sounding names assigned to them and by details that have become fundamental for the exaltation of the dish, such as the choice of wine, sauce or side dish to accompany them. The quality of the food is not worthy of note: there are trattorias where you eat much better despite a less accurate table service.

    Cafè Majestic gives its best in desserts. For this reason, I recommend it above all as a sumptuous café, where to have a breakfast or have a special snack, which, moreover, reflects the nature of the place and strengthens its connection with the past. For a cake and a cup of tea or coffee you can spend almost ten euros, but the spectacle offered is unparalleled and priceless.

    Here you will not find the pastel de nata, the puff pastry filled with egg cream representative of Porto, but the most autochthonous and ancient Rabanadas based on bread softened in milk, passed in egg and browned by frying in oil; the Toucinho do céu, a cake with almonds and eggs with a soft and fairly moist consistency; the cheese cake with berries prepared with cheeses from the north of Portugal and the creme brulee which, also here as in other European countries, pass off as absolutely local dessert.

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