There are some places that to me are Portugal concentrated in one spot. Café Saudade is one of them. It is somewhere to go that just lets you breathe easy and it celebrates the real Portugal. Not the Portugal of shopping centres or highways, but the Portugal of my childhood, of long trips into the countryside.
First of all it is in the magical town of Sintra, but that doesn't guarantee loveliness as many a tourist has found to their cost. Saudade, however is a veritable rabbit warren of loveliness. The building itself was once a queijada factory making traditional Sintra cheesecakes, although factory seems too industrial a word for the authentic beauty of the place.
The café's menu is excellent and offers a variety of traditional Portuguese cakes and sandwiches as well as fruit tarts, an incredible gooey chocolate cake and light lunch options. Whiling away an afternoon with a cup of herbal tea or even a single espresso - nobody will make you feel like you need to have anything more if you don't want it - is something I do far too infrequently to do this fantastic café real justice.
Saudade is the heart and soul of its owners the sunny Mary Pereira and her husband Luís. Mary is Portuguese-American and in spite of, or perhaps because of, this she actively celebrates the Portuguese heritage that so many people take for granted. Saudade sells Portuguese handicrafts - not tourist tat the real deal - and also has its own little silver store (Prataria) offering the most gorgeous traditional Portuguese jewellery.
If you have never been there I couldn't recommend it more highly.
Avenida Dr. Miguel Bombarda 6