Brunch and Books: Há Café no Alfarrabista

September 9, 2019 (Last Updated: March 11, 2023)

Alfarrabista means secondhand bookstore. Bookworms and brunch-goers visiting Lisbon, Portugal will absolutely love this cafe as much as I did. Not only does it have the delicious custard pastry, pastel de nata, it has vintage books, old cash registers, cameras, type-writers, adorable wood and marble cafe tables, and BRUNCH. I was so surprised to find a cafe that spoke directly to my soul.

Nutella and Strawberry pancakes, pastel de Nata a custard tart, and a cappuccino

When you first walk in, there’s a bar full of delicious Portuguese pastries. There are only two women working in the small cafe. As you make your way to the quaint, little dining area, you’ll walk past the kitchen- a small stovetop. The chef is making a round of pancakes for the table that was finishing their breakfast before my friend and I arrived.

As a self-proclaimed total book nerd, I was absolutely geeking out simply by the decor… until I asked the barista for the menu. “In the books,” she said. I wasn’t truly convinced when I reached into the nook and flipped through the chapters and found the menu right in the middle. HOW CUTE. (Again I am so sorry but this is the cutest restaurant I’ve ever seen.)

Even if you can’t read Portuguese, you can likely figure out what to order. They have plenty of savory egg options, several pastries, fruit dishes, etc, but the Panquecas (Pancakes) are the best item on the menu IMHO. The barista suggested Nutella and strawberries because I think she could honestly read me like a book. (Too much? Sorry!)

The strawberries on my Nutella pancake were the freshest I had in Portugal. The woman made my entire brunch right at the small grill in the corner of the room.

Besides great food and cute Instagram opportunities, what more could you want for brunch? Well, it gets better. I wish I would’ve known better while I was there, but the books on the shelves aren’t all for show. The shop was founded in 2009 with the pursuit of getting the younger generation to read in a sociable atmosphere. While you enjoy your Nutella pancakes and cappuccino, you can peruse the rare books and purchase them if you’d like.

Há Café no Alfarrabista’s Facebook Page*

Address: Rua da Madalena 80 D, Lisbon, Portugal 1100-322

It looks like their website is under construction at the moment!

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