Porto’s Finest: The Francesinha

Sometimes you visit a new place and find out about a foodie treat that you have never heard of before. This happened to us recently when we visited Porto. In this famous Portuguese city, they have a not so well known sandwich. We like to call it the “All The Meat” Sandwich, but they call it the Francesinha, the Little Frankie.

It truly is a wonder to behold. While there are some variations, it traditionally has steak, cured ham, sausage and the cured and seasoned LinguiƧa sausage. This is put in bread, which is covered with a thick layer of gooey melted cheese. This in turn is then covered with a thick tomato and beer gravy. 

Oh, and ours came with bacon on it also. Because you have to have bacon, right?

Since we ordered the Francesinha Especial, ours also came with fries and a fried egg on top. It’s like the best combination of an English breakfast and mixed grill in the world. It’s heavy, meaty and tangy. It fills your stomach and dribbles down your chin as you eat it.

Some people say it was invented in the 19th century, others say it originated in the 1960s. It really doesn’t matter. Quite frankly, it’s wonderful. I recommend heartily that you try it. I wonder if I can convince someone in Leicester to start making it….

It’s served everywhere in Porto, with prices ranging from about 5-10 EUR. The best places are the slightly out of the way places where the locals eat, as ever. 


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

0 thoughts on “Porto’s Finest: The Francesinha

  • Great tip Mark, thanks! Although the picture on their website doesn't look as good, but it's surely worth a go!

  • La Tasca Portugese restaurant in Corby do this, though I've no idea on quality as I've yet to try the place.

  • Ooo, now you're thinking… Francesinha made with Red Leicester naan instead of plain cheese and white bread. I shall notify @LiluFineDining!

  • Oh my lord, this looks insane! We definitely need a version of this in Leicester. Maybe with the inclusion of Red Leicester naan…

  • Haha, me too. I have tweeted lots of good food places the link to this post… I reckon we should start a campaign to get @craftystmartins to make it for us!


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