Pronounced in English it sounds like “fabulous,” and that was exactly the idea for “Fábulas” (it means “fables” in Portuguese), the new favorite café in Lisbon’s Chiado district. It’s the creation of a Polish-Portuguese couple, using old furnishings to create a cosy ambience where you’ll want to stay for hours. It’s used as a meeting point for friends, while others take their laptops during the day and stay reading for a while (old books and periodicals are scattered around).
Old sewing machines and radios are used as tables, candelabras are centered on others, and couches invite you to stay a while in two separate low-lit rooms.
The space also works as a gallery with a few pieces of art on display and as a wireless internet café, although some also see it as a wine bar for a drink in the post-work hours (try the warm wine on colder days or the Electric Choc — a chocolaty alcoholic beverage).
Although there are many places in Lisbon offering mouth-watering pieces of cake and one actually claims to make the best chocolate cake in the world, I must say that the slices I’ve had at Fabulas are strong contenders for first prize in the city. I can’t leave without having one, and I’ve heard many others do the same. There are also salads, crepes, and toasted sandwiches, as well as daily specials with more complete dishes for lunch and dinner.
The café has two entrances — either through a courtyard seen to the right as you go up the always-busy Rua Garrett, or through steps ascending from Rua Nova do Almada in the Chiado district.
Address: Rua Garrett, 19 or Calçada Nova de São Francisco, 14