Cafe Sintra is what locals call “a taste of Portugal in Sunriver.” Owned for the last 25 years by Tracie Peterson, Cafe Sintra is named in honor of a certain Lisbon, Portugal suburb that has special meaning for Tracie. I stopped into Cafe Sintra because I’d never tasted Portuguese cuisine before, and I was also curious how a cafe could pull off such exotic food in Sunriver, Oregon. I found out that Tracie’s former partner is from Portugal, so the influence is genuine. It’s not like she just visited Portugal during a gap year and decided to try to copy the food style. This is the real deal, and that’s not just me saying that.
Apparently, there are some Portuguese transplants living in Sunriver and they attest to the authenticity of Tracie’s menu. All I know is, if you love tasty food, you need to try Cafe Sintra. I loved that I felt right at home the minute I walked in. There’s a real homey feel about the place, and when I went for breakfast it was filled with families, friends and individuals; all sorts and all ages. I also heard that they have a bird feeder on their back patio and in the winter they make sure to feed the birds, which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Apparently, it’s something the kids enjoy doing when they come with their parents in winter.
Location & Environment
Getting to Cafe Sintra is a breeze. It’s essentially right in downtown Sunriver and you can’t miss it if you come in on Ponderosa Road. It’s in its own little area, near Starbucks and in the same building as Marcello’s Cucina Italiano restaurant. There’s a massive parking lot, with spots right by the door that are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. The outside of the cafe is nothing to write home about, but it’s the inside environment that makes it unique. Talking to a few of the locals, I found out that Cafe Sintra has somehow become the central location for all the local soccer fans to come and watch televised matched.
Who knows how that stuff happens, but during soccer season, just know that the place will be jam-packed. You should also know that Cafe Sintra is no secret. Every local knows about this place, and the tourists quickly catch on that this is the place to come for the best breakfasts and lunches in Sunriver. So really, no matter when you go, there’s sure to be a crowd. Thankfully, it’s light and airy inside and bigger than it looks from the outside. It has a real farmhouse style to it.
What’s Good at Cafe Sintra?
Your problem when you go to order at Cafe Sintra isn’t going to be ordering what’s good; it’s going to be not wanting to eat everything in sight. They have a huge display case with the most interesting and tasty-looking pasties I’ve seen for a long time. Try to keep yourself from saying, “One of each.” I dare you.
Freshly Baked Goods
Okay, so exactly what kind of freshly baked goods do they have? I can tell you that the lemon poppyseed scones are the best. Mine were perfect and dipping them into my cappuccino made the experience even better. Scrumptious. There’s a custard tart that was just oozing custard and I was dying to try it, so I got one to take with me. After successfully dipping my fingers into the edges of the custard, I finally remembered my manners and bit into it. It must have been longer, but it felt like two seconds later it was all gone. I’m sorry but it was too good to save for lunch.
The breakfast menu is ginormous. They have three kinds of eggs Benedict, including a Portuguese Benedict that has Linguica, which a kind of spicy smoked sausage. They also use the Linguica in their Linguica Scramble, which includes cilantro, scrambled eggs, mushrooms and onions. And by the way, if you don’t like cilantro (I don’t), you can have them leave it out. If you’re enjoying a luxurious weekend day or you just feel like being a bit naughty, you can get a Bloody Mary or a Freshly Squeezed Mimosa with your breakfast.
The Prego Steak Sandwich is a must try. It’s marinated steak, with Swiss cheese, onions and mayo or mustard. It’s kind of a like an upscale Philly cheesesteak, for comparison’s sake. I got the Portuguese Salad, a heaping plate of all kinds of veggies, with Feta cheese, and either Balsamic vinaigrette or tomato dijon dressing on the side. For drinks, they have all kinds of coffee concoctions, like Latte, Mocha, White Mocha and Breve, which is a cup of double espresso, steamed half and half, and then topped with foamy half and half. Yes, you’ll have a milk mustache but it’s worth it!