Porto: Francesinha Sandwich

The famous francesinha sandwich from Porto. There’s a saying that to be a good resident of Porto, you must eat two francesinhas a day. Francesinha, or Little Frenchie, is a crazy meat-heavy sandwich made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça (Portuguese smoke cured sausage), fresh sausage like chipolata, steak, and then covered with melted cheese, topped with a fried egg surrounded by a thick tomato and beer sauce. Daniel da Silva invented the sandwich after having lived in France and Belgium. When he returned to Porto, da Silva adapted the croque-monsieur to the Portuguese taste.

Originally Koen and I wanted to do a francesinha tour and tasting through Porto, but the sandwich is just too heavy to eat too often, so we only tried two types. Wherever we were we asked around for tips on the best francesinha in Porto and two restaurants were always mentioned: Cervejaria Brasão and Café Santiago. Both are delicious, just depends on your mood! Cervejaria Brasão is more sit-down experience where you need a reservation, Café Santiago is a casual diner-style café. In the end, though, Koen and I both preferred Café Santiago.



Cervejaria Brasão



Browsing through the menu



Some bread and olives to start



Beer pairs really well with our meal




But first, another typical Portuguese dish: Bolinhos de Bacalhau (codfish croquettes)




The Francesinha – huge pieces of meat, super cheesy, and a lot of sauce – I could only eat half!




Café Santiago



Inside – always full!



The making of a francesinha




I actually prefer the francesinha from Café Santiago – more manageable in terms of size! I did ask for extra sauce, though 🙂


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