One of Lisbon’s oldest bakeries this traditional pasteleria Confeitaria Nacional which is in the heart of Baixa was founded in 1829 and little has changed. It was here that the recipe for the traditional bola rei Christmas cake was first introduced by the French. Cream-painted panelling and a mirrored ceiling make for a lighter ambience than in other more traditional and austere coffee houses. Coloured sweets fill glass jars and a selection of biscuits, cakes and salgados are served from the original glass counter.
rnThe range at Confeitaria Nacional is appetising, but nothing to write home about. Cakes are often sticky and veer on the heavy side. Arrive early to get the best baked produce. A sit-down area is available next door, although service can be frustratingly slow. Given its central location, the place can be overrun with tourists, but locals continue to stop by for a quick bica on an afternoon’s shopping trip.