Looking for the best “Pastéis de nata” aka simply “natas”, a Portuguese traditional egg custard, could easily be one of the Twelve Feats of Hercules: there’s a “pastelaria” (cakeshop) on every corner and even on the same street there’s sometimes more than two, and obviously they sell “natas”.
The story goes that someone stole a recipe from the monks at Jerónimos Monastery in Belém, and started a small business nearby selling amazingly baked egg custards. They are now produced throughout Portugal and the lusophone world (ex-colonies) but also in cities with significant Portuguese emigrants (Paris, Luxembourg, Rio de Janeiro, Newark) – I’ve even found them in Kyoto, Japan!
it’s definitely the most famous and emblematic sweet. If you’re lost, the best tip is to check for the “Fabrico Próprio” sign at the windows, meaning the pastries were made in-house. But if you taste one from Aloma… you’ll finally know the real ones!
This small neighborhood “pastelaria” at Campo de Ourique quarter won the competition for best “nata” in Lisbon in 2012, 2013 and 2015 and serves, in my humble opinion, the best creamy cakes in town. The pastry is crispy filled with a water mouthing smooth egg custard — luckily they are served warm straight from the oven.
Pastelaria Aloma, established in 1943, borrowed its unusual name from the movie “Aloma of the South Seas”, as there was a cinema just next door back in the day.
When you’re ordering “Natas” there’s always one thing the waitress asks: -“cinnamon?” -“Hell yeah!!!”