Majestic Café: Fit for a Princess
Hey guys! It’s your favourite food taster again. Wait! You forgot all about me? I know I’ve been away for a bit trying to conquer the corporate world, working on new church projects and actively attending tasting sessions JUST FOR YOU!
Travel News! I have only just returned from a 5 day trip to Porto locally referred to as Oporto; Portugal’s second city found in its Northern region. Woohoo! As much as I want to tell you all about the sweet port wine, the authentic Francesinha (which I first tasted in Lisbon) and everything food you need to know about Porto in one post, I will begin my Porto Chronicles talking about a 95 year old cafe where I spent my birthday. Haha! I saw you roll your eyes for a moment, but trust me, you want to know about this one!
Birthdays are very important to me and so are the restaurants I choose to spend them in. I always have an expectation on the food, the service, the ambiance and the staff and I usually pay the not so usual rates to make sure I get this. The Portuguese love their cafes and their history and so for The Majestic cafe as mentioned on their website, to be described as Portugal’s (not just Porto) best cafe, that was something worth investigating. It also probably explains why they have it as a landmark on the city’s map and is mentioned in a documentary I watched about Porto at Serra Do Pilar monastery. Now you know why I just had to go.
The cafe is conveniently located at the entrance to the busiest shopping street in Porto; Rua De Santa Catarina and is a “must do” for most tourists. It has a lovely terrace in the front that is perfect in the summer for people watching, but the experience at this cafe happens inside. I have heard about queues and long waits, but luckily I experienced none of that as the lovely door man showed us in.
The first words I could think of were Romantic, Elegant and Stylish. Most people had come in here for a cup of coffee or desert which was an experience fantastic enough to tick off your to do list, but I planned to go ALL OUT with my sister.
As we walked in, I felt an immediate time travel experience. It was apparently the place where the elite met to discuss ideas over coffee. I mean, this is where you would find Portuguese politicians, artists, great thinkers and the world’s change makers and I immediately began to imagine what those conversations sounded like. I couldn’t get enough of the interior, I spent a good 15 minutes taking it all in. The lights, the mirrors, the walls, the ceiling, it was as if I was in a different world. I knew I had chosen the right place for my birthday brunch. I felt everyone behaved differently while in there, there was just something about this beautiful cafe that brings out the Princess in you.
Our waitress was pretty special; she had a shy and polite look, but also very inviting. There was an intriguing elegance about her that added to the royal experience. Our table was laid with a disposable paper cloth that had the date of the establishment, an old photo of the cafe and an extract by Andre De Moura (a journalist) for a newspaper called Illustracao Portugueza on it. It made me understand how valuable its history is and immediately I felt an emotional attachment to the place.
We chose, ham and cheese toast, ham croissant, Nata/Pastel de Belem (Portuguese dessert), the most “chocolatey” chocolate cake I have ever had and the cheesiest of cheesecakes ever with a mug of English tea. It was definitely a sight to behold.
I felt like a Princess. When the waitress found out it was my birthday, I was given a “magical candle” that would not go out till it was finished. Everyone at the cafe wished me a happy birthday and naturally my sister and I began to plan the future just like those who came in many decades ago.
Cafe majestic was named number 6 on the Top 10 Most Beautiful Cafes in the world by UcityGuides for a reason. It is splendid and I can never forget the experience. If you ever happen to be in Porto, I would strongly recommend that you pop in, at the very least for a beverage.