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I’ve never been to Portugal; well, not in the strict sense anyway. Lisbon is way atop my “to-do” list but until then, I can always go to Patelaria Garcia! Behind the impressive Art Deco facade, it feels as if you are far away from Brussels. All details in Garcia bring memories from Portugal: traditional azulejos (white and blue-painted ceramic tiles), an impressive fountain mural, a small blue door and beautiful streetlights create an authentic atmosphere.

This small Portuguese cafe/bakery has been standing in Ixelles since 1990 and serves all kinds of sweet and savoury Portuguese delicacies, including my ultimate guilty pleasure: the pastéis de nata, i.e. small dangerously delicious custard tarts served with a touch of cinnamon. Other treats include bifanas (pork steak sandwiches), bolinhos de bacalhau (deep fried codfish cakes), and fish emapanadas which you can wash down with Sumol, a sparking juice straight from Portugal.

I usually go there early on Sundays for a cup of coffee, a light brunch and a spot of blogging before the hungry crowds arrive during brunch time. Prices are ridiculously inexpensive (it’s actually one of the best cheap eats in Brussels) and the staff very kind, which only makes me love this place even more. Best part? If you don’t have time to sit down and enjoy your pastéis at the cafe, you can pop by the bakery nextdoors and take out as many as you want together with some fresh bread.

Address: Avenue de la Couronne 75, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium
Telephone: +32 2 6407956

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Sandy (@smarksthespots)