It was 1982 when a common project of five friends came true. Two engineers, two naval officers and an economist join their dream and will to open to the discreet number 212 to the public. Thus, then established our Café São Bento.

Founded by the enterprising quintet, it was named after the iconic street where it is located – Rua de São Bento. Interestingly, the same also belongs to five – different parishes – in the city of Lisbon.

In the building that once housed an old antique shop, full of bric-à-brac and preciosities, the nicknamed “Primus Inter Bares” is then born. This amusing wordplay with the well-known Latin expression already made one guess: this would not be just another Café among its kind, but an authentic tribute to a historical treasure. Just like an antique find, sought after by experts – Café São Bento has always paid tribute to the historic Cafés of Lisbon from the 19th century.


As soon as the entrance bell rings, a door is opened becoming a portal leading to the atmosphere of the 19th century Cafés in Lisbon. Those were places for conviviality and gatherings between intellectuals, essential for the development of new political and cultural ideas at the beginning of the century.

It is those same Cafes, true institutions, that are portrayed in the photographs which glamorize our walls. Pieces of ancient Lisbon, reflecting the memory of ages and experiences.

Nowadays, anyone who arrives at Café São Bento will embark on a journey throughout time triggered in all senses, especially the palate. Here the famous delicacy of the ancient Cafés of Lisbon is served – O Bife/The Steak.


The history of the star dish on our menu dates back to the end of the 18th century, when the Neapolitan António Marrare – the founder of taverns and the mythical Cafés Marrare – arrived in Lisbon. Namely: The Marrare S. Carlos, Sete Portas, Cais do Sodré and finally, the Marrare of Polimento. Without the consecration of the Café Marrare there would be no “talent in this land, nor worthy artists, nor solid governments”. (Luís Augusto Palmeirim 1823-1893).

At the beginning of the 19th century, António Marrare created the recipe for the acclaimed steak that quickly became famous throughout the city.

In 1982, the founders of Café São Bento set out on a search for the original recipe by researching old newspaper clippings, then they attuned and perfected it in the early years of the establishment for no longer to be changed until today.

Therefore, for 40 years, people have come to Café de São Bento to eat steak, however, not just any steak – the – unanimously considered, Best Steak in Lisbon.

Is it the cut, the quality of the meat, the cooking or the sauce? It’s all that together with a well-kept secret since 1982.


Since the opening of Café São Bento, its star dish – the Steak – has been gathering a legion of fans who arise to enjoy it, in any occasion: a group dinner in a lively gathering, a romantic intimate encounter or as ritual between generations.

Almost all State Leaders have been through here – except for a well-known one. There were always those who took the opportunity to sneakily take a bite on other customers’ fries. As for football, rivalries brought laughter and the well-known comedians are regular customers.

It was written the following in a past news set:

“Among the variety of people from the cultural, political, artistic and economic backgrounds, Café São Bento set a record in a very short period of time with the presence of a former President of the Republic, the current and the future one,whom for obvious reasons we cannot disclose”


Since the opening day, we dressed up accurately to welcome you with the usual attentive service. In our establishment customers and employees are addressed by name – our team has remained the same for decades.

Over these 40 years we have been growing by occupying more space in the building in São Bento´s Street; investing in other locations; and also by enriching the place with improvement renovations.

Nevertheless, there is something that won’t change: our essence.

This is the commitment undertaken by Miguel Garcia – the entrepreneur who has taken over Café São Bento since February 2022 and promises to take it to new destinations.

By honoring tradition, we promise many innovations and news for the upcoming times.

Come pay us a visit and witness, every day, a new chapter in the history of Café São Bento.