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Congratulations to the Pastelaria Benard that is turning 150 years this year.
But this space doesn’t need any introductions. In the heart of Chiado, it has delighted the people of Lisbon and tourists for decades.
Its privileged location, a touch of finesse and the spacious terrace contribute to success, but the quality of the confection of their pastries and savoury snacks contributes equally to its popularity.
We can highlight the famous croissants, plain or filled with chocolate, sweet egg cream or strawberry, and the pastéis de nata (egg custard tart). But the pastries with whipped cream, colourful macarons, petit fours, decorated biscuits for kids and of course, the delicious savoury snacks, can’t be ignored either.
In the counter coloured by these temptations, you can taste a quick meal. This counter coexists with the tea room that prolongs the teatime in good company.
In the restaurant room, in a comfortable and intimate atmosphere, due to its classic and timeless decoration, you can calmly enjoy a meal of quality. Generally, the most appreciated dishes are Bacalhau à Lagareiro, Empada de Pato and to finish, the Paris Brest, a real temptation of whipped cream.
A Hint of History
Founded in 1868 by Mr. Élie Benard, the then Pâtisserie Benard was situated in Rua do Loreto near Largo de Camões.
It was in 1902 that, under the management of the heirs Casimiro, Pedro and Elias Benard, it occupied the current space in Rua Garret in the centre of Chiado.
In 1914 the establishment was extensively renovated. From this intervention resulted not only in an exquisite and flamboyant interior, very praised by the media at that time, but also in new and modern equipment in the kitchen and in the neoclassical stonework in the façade that we can still observe today.
In 1926, the Pâtisserie Benard, which in its designation revealed the legitimate French origin, gave rise to the Pastelaria Benard. This owed to the emergence of a very high fee charged by the City Council of Lisbon to signboards of the façades in foreign languages.
In the beginning of the 20th century, the difference between a café and a patisserie was very clear. While a café constituted a meeting and gathering place for men, where no woman dared to step in, a patisserie was a room for tea and sweet temptations for women. In this space, they could get together, see and be seen in their best costumes and even men frequently attended it, surrendered to the same sweet temptations and to the female beauty.
However, after the end of the 2nd World War, the social habits and norms changed radically. By that time, the Pastelaria Benard switched owners.
The new owner was Manuel José de Carvalho, who also owned the extinct Pastelaria Marques that was situated on the same street, a little further down. With the new management stood out the organisation of banquets to celebrate weddings, baptisms and other important events. From these, the dinner served to Queen Elizabeth II from England when she visited Lisbon in 1957 will always be remembered.
Over time, the Pastelaria Benard began to be in decline, losing quality and clients. In the 80’s its financial situation was deplorable, as well as the state of its patrimony, and the end of Benard was imminent.
Maria Augusta Montes, an entrepreneurial businesswoman with success in other field, in a hasty way, took over the establishment and, despite many difficulties, rehabilitated this space, restoring its dignity and prestige it used to have.
The Pastelaria Benard is one of the shops distinguished by the Projecto Lojas com História (Project Lisbon Historic Shops), for its relevance as an element that is part of the identity of the city. It isn’t worth any less!
This project promoted by the City Council of Lisbon aims to preserve and protect the establishments of traditional commerce, its material, historical and cultural heritage.
Pastelaria Benard celebrating 150 years of sweet tradition in the heart of Lisbon.
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