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The last half hour or so before heading to Oporto airport; I’d requested a chance to try the national speciality the famed nata (custard tart) and we were dropped outside the Majestic Café. (Never mind the hoards in the pedestrianized street).

In the style of those grand central European cafés, the Majestic is lined with heavy wooden pillars, cherubs, antique mirrors and marble columns. A real cross section of patrons too. I spotted the two elderly woman across the room. It was only on processing the image that I noticed the elaborate runestones (?) embroidered across her jacket. But my few snaps really don’t do the place justice

In 1992, seventy one years after its grand opening, the decision is made to give back to the Majestic the well-deserved pride of being one of the most beautiful cafés of Porto. On the 15th July 1994, the Majestic re-opened after two long years with all the glamour of the past. Today, when you enter the Majestic you can visit an exhibition, attend a cultural event or even appear on television as it is sometimes turned into a occasional television setting.

The Majestic Café, designed by architect João Queiróz and inspired in the works of his master Marques da Silva, is still one of the most beautiful and meaningful examples of Art Nouveau in Porto…

The striking marble façade, ornamented with beautiful floral elements and winding shapes, is a good reflection of the decorative style of that time. The main façade boasts two elegant columns and three rectangular windows. Over these, a pediment crowns the composition with the Majestic’s initials. On each side, two amused little-boy figures seem to invite people in.

Inside, Art Nouveau is all around in the rectangular-shaped room. The curved symmetry of the wooden frames and the decorative details attract the eyes of any keen observer. The walls are covered with large mirrors showing some aging signs, and holding a few lamps with elaborate metalwork; this creates a clever illusion that this space is larger than it actually is.

Plaster sculptures of human faces, naked figures and flowers confirm the wavy sensual style – two rows of leather seats, which replaced the original ones made of red velvet, create a cosy and elegant perspective of depth.

We were here for a cuppa (sometimes after a week of wine tasting the tastebuds cry out for something other than wine, or in our case mostly port). Plus a tart. While my creamy coffee (€2.50) consisted of 90% cream overlaying a mere whisper of coffee the visit was so worth while for the nata with a dusting of cinnamon (€2).

Café Majestic, Lda Rua de Santa Catarina, 112 4000-442, Porto, Portugal.

Photo Gallery: Majestic Cafe Oporto, Portugal

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