Francesinha: Porto’s Most Famous Sandwich

September 18, 2023

A sizzling plate with a mouthwatering Francesinha sandwich, topped with melted cheese, a fried egg, and smothered in a rich, spicy tomato sauce.

Indulge in the rich and spicy delight of a Francesinha during our Oporto Food Tour

Traveling in Portugal also means indulging in the country’s cuisine and immersing yourself in the unique aromas and flavors of each region. Naturally, this experience enriches any traveler. In northern Portugal, the culinary offerings are diverse, ranging from traditional dishes to reinvented classics, modern cuisine, and generous portions. Situated between the ocean and the mountains, Porto is a true paradise for those seeking rich and unforgettable culinary delights through Porto’s food and beverages.

A revered delicacy from northern Portugal is the Francesinha, a culinary masterpiece and a specialty of Porto! Like many traditional dishes, it has deep-rooted origins and numerous stories associated with its inception, originally served exclusively on bread.

According to Porto’s most widely recognized history, the first Francesinha was created at A Regaleira, a beer hall on Rua do Bonjardim. In the late 1950s, Daniel David Silva, an emigrant from France, developed the recipe in Porto, drawing inspiration from a French sandwich known as the croque-monsieur. Some say that its name is a result of this adaptation, while others claim that the recipe reminded Daniel of the beautiful French women. You can sample the Francesinha on our Porto Food Tour at its place of origin!

In its traditional form, it was served in cafes and beer halls, but today, it is a popular dish plated in restaurants, ranging from the most upscale to the most casual. This transformation occurred because the Francesinha quickly proved to be a successful culinary creation. Nowadays, in Invicta, another name for the city of Porto, you can find the dish served in numerous restaurants. The components of the Francesinha have evolved over time, and there are now versions with seafood and even a vegetarian option.

In its earliest incarnation, the original recipe consisted of a sandwich made with sliced bread, stuffed with beef steak, sausage, fresh sausage, ham, and smothered in cheese. It was baked until the cheese melted, and then a generous serving of spicy tomato sauce, typically based on beer and port wine, was drizzled over it. The sauce’s recipe varies from chef to chef, each keeping it a closely guarded secret, making each Francesinha unique. It is traditionally topped with a fried egg and served with a side of french fries, often enjoyed with a glass of cold beer to balance the spiciness of the sauce.

Therefore, a Francesinha is essential during your visit to Porto. No two restaurants prepare the Francesinha in the same way, making it an incredible gastronomic adventure for visitors. You’ll find numerous places serving this delicacy, so you won’t have any trouble finding the perfect Francesinha to suit your taste.

This delicacy is so cherished by the people of Porto that there are now festivals and a confraternity dedicated to it. With a reputation that extends beyond borders, the Francesinha recipe continues to evolve, sparking debates among Porto’s chefs, each claiming to have the best sauce. Francesinha is best enjoyed for lunch due to its hearty combination of sausages, meat, bread, and the robust spicy sauce.

To conclude, we invite you to embark on a delectable journey and experience the unforgettable flavors of Francesinha and other culinary delights with our Oporto Food Tour. For more details and booking information, please visit us at or access our app at Join us and savor the essence of Porto’s cuisine like never before!