Royal privilege - Issue 24 - Magazine | Monocle

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Given its name, Lisbon’s Príncipe Real neighbourhood – “Prince Royal” in English – enjoys a privileged position. Located up the hill from Bairro Alto and the bar-hopping crowds, the district is home to leafy squares and elegant residences, many offering panoramas of the city and the Tagus river. There are many independent retailers and particularly attractive are the shops on Rua Dom Pedro V, a street on the quarter’s eastern fringe punctuated by colourful townhouses in crimson and pale yellow.

Named after a 19th-century Portuguese king, the 300m stretch of pavement boasts antique shops, a gourmet grocer, family pharmacist and a rather unconventional pub. Relatively flat (a godsend in a city of steep inclines), the street is run by shopkeepers who share a strong sense of community – they even throw the odd block party. “It’s the most cosmopolitan place in the city,” says Marcela Brunken, a Brazilian who runs Fabrico Infinito, a boutique with a garden café. “Before there were just antiques but increasingly the street is adding variety.”

New arrivals this year include a Spanish retailer selling niche womenswear labels and a chef from Sarajevo who opened an upscale restaurant just off the strip. There are also rumours of a tea salon coming soon. Proprietors are mindful to keep their slice of sidewalk shipshape. “It just feels very neighbourly,” says florist Maurício Fernandes of Em Nome da Rosa. “I love the older buildings and the gardens.”

Heading west, Rua Dom Pedro V flows into Príncipe Real square and a picturesque park of the same name. Laid out in the 1860s to replace a rubbish heap, it is now an urban refuge where pensioners play cards and couples relax in the shade. Kiosks sell refreshments and newspapers, and the garden café has wi-fi. There is a weekly farmers’ market and below ground visitors will discover a 19th-century stone reservoir, now a museum, that is sometimes rented out for private functions.

Shopping guide

Top spots

  • Jardim do Príncipe Real
    Held every Saturday in the park, this organic farmers’ market is where residents can stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables, bread and olive oil.

  • No 56 Cool de Sac
    Awash in pastels, Cool de Sac is the street’s newcomer. Opened by Madrid native Maria Luisa Pries, the boutique sells womenswear and accessories, including ballerina flats from Paris brand Repetto and tops from Danish label Rützou.

  • No 68-70 Solar
    Since 1956 the Leitão family has traded in antique tiles, from decorative plates to wall panels. Sourced from castles, churches and palaces, their vast collection ranges from 15th-century Islamic to 1930s Art Deco.

  • No 74 Fabrico Infinito
    This eclectic space offers perfumes as well as one-off chandeliers in Bohemian and Venetian crystal designed by the shop’s owner. There’s even a tiny outdoor café complete with meditation pool.

  • No 85 Manuel Castilho
    A Lisbon antiques dealer that sells rare furniture made during the Portuguese reign in Goa. Other artefacts include Vietnamese ceramics, Burmese Buddha sculptures plus a number of European objets d’art.

  • No 89 Pavilhão Chinês
    First-time visitors mistake this quirky bar for one of the local antique shops. Its five rooms are decorated with all things collectable (toy soldiers, model trains and teapots) but the drinks list is just as extensive. Open every night until 02.00.

  • No 97 Em Nome da Rosa
    Madeira-born florist Maurício Fernandes moved in five years ago and has garnered praise for his floral arrangements, having decorated weddings, hotels and private homes. A fan of carnations, he prefers to work with varieties in white and green.

  • No 111 Sá & Leal
    Fine food purveyor Sá & Leal stocks the shelves with risotto, foie gras and Parisian teas. The cellar is lined with a well-edited selection of wines, single malt whiskies and top of the line ports.

  • No 121 Doce Real
    Started as a bakery in 1880, Doce Real now serves as the street’s go-to café when locals need a pick-me-up espresso or a hot pastel de nata (custard tart). Its slim space is packed with customers of all ages at all hours of the day.

  • No 125 Farmácia Oliveira
    Run by a third-generation chemist, the store carries traditional Portuguese brands including Confiança soap and Couto toothpaste. As a neighbourly touch, it home delivers to senior citizens.

  • No 35 (Rua do Teixeira) 100 Maneiras
    Chef Ljubomir Stanisic relocated his restaurant to a back lane off Dom Pedro V in January to access a wider audience. His tasting menu offers an imaginative amuse-bouche and main courses reference Portuguese classics.

  • No 85 (Rua Cecílio de Sousa) Claudio Corallo
    Just past the park, mother and daughter wait on customers eager to try the dense chocolate that comes from the family’s plantation in São Tomé and Príncipe. Chocoholics will want to sample the house gelato.

  • No 167 (Rua da Escola Politécnica) São Mamede
    Focusing on modern art, the São Mamede gallery showcases top Portuguese painters and sculptors. Of particular interest are the subterranean exhibit rooms with arched ceilings, which are accessed via a spiral staircase.

  • No 71 (Rua S. Pedro de Alcântara) Biblarte
    Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa took siestas in this bookshop. Today, bibliophiles can find first editions of his work on the shelves next to rare tomes and atlases, all catalogued by 83-year-old owner, Ernesto Martins.

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