Looking for the best francesinha in Porto? A visit to Porto is never complete without tasting one of its most iconic dishes, the king of sandwiches, the belly-busting francesinha.
Actually, some locals don’t include “Francesinha” on this “Sandwich List”. “If you can’t eat it with your hands, then it’s not a sandwich”, they say.
We have a variety of unique sandwiches in Portugal, here are some of our favorite Sandwiches in Porto. But today we will reveal where you can eat the best Francesinha in Porto.
As with most food items in Porto, it is difficult to select just one as the best francesinha in the city, which is why we took to the streets of Porto and tasted a lot of francesinhas in order to help your search along. It’s a hard job, we know, but someone had to do it!
How Francesinha was invented?
Before getting to the top 5 Francesinhas in Porto, let us introduce you a little bit to this Porto’s legendary dish. Francesinha means “little French woman” or simply “Frenchie” in Portuguese. You may ask why the most iconic sandwich in our city is named after another country and we would have to say: good question. Though, I admit, it isn’t something we think about too much.
Nevertheless, here is your history lesson: this dish was created by Portuguese emigrants to France. They encountered the french snack, the croque monsieur, and decided to take it to a whole new level, making it bigger, better and generally more delicious!
Usually, a francesinha is made with bread (the thicker the better), wet-cured ham, linguiça (a portuguese sausage), steak or roast beef, everything covered with melted cheese and a special tomato and beer sauce. Most times it’s served with a fried egg on top and french fries that you can dip in the sauce. Some places like to innovate by adding an extra ingredient, but what really makes the difference in the francesinha universe is the sauce. That said, in order to find your perfect match, patience, and persistence, along with a pair of sweatpants are needed to undertake this food challenge.
Which are our Top 5 Francesinhas in Porto?
In order to help your search along, we took to the streets of Porto and tasted a lot of francesinhas so that you don’t have to – you are welcome! As with most food items in Porto, it is difficult to select just one as the best francesinha in the city. That’s why we give you the top 5 francesinhas in Porto that will definitely satisfy the pickiest of palates.
1. Francesinha O Golfinho
O Golfinho restaurant is located in Porto’s downtown. You’ll find a narrow, but a relatively long corridor-like room with tables to the left and a balcony stretching along with the whole room on the right-hand side. It’s a place that really breathes Porto’s authenticity! If you want fancy, go elsewhere. This spot is as local and original as it gets in our city. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a great francesinha with your friends in a very friendly atmosphere.
Where to find it: Rua Sá Noronha, 137, Porto, Portugal
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday – 9am to midnight
2. Francesinha Santiago f
Santiago f is a family business that has become one of the most famous places for francesinha in Porto. If you walk by you will probably find a long line of people waiting! Don’t be concerned, just take your place next to the locals and wait your turn. Fear not: the line moves quickly. As with most restaurants specializing in francesinhas, the secret is in the sauce. Maybe this is where you’ll find your favorite francesinha.
Where to find it: Rua Passos Manuel, 198 (Baixa), Porto, Portugal
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday – 11am to 11pm
3. Francesinha Lado B
Also located in Porto’s downtown, right in front of the Coliseum, Lado B (B Side) is a restaurant of modern architecture with the music to match its decor. Here you can enjoy one of the best francesinhas in Porto. You see, Lado B’s main goal, since its beginning, has been to promote the francesinha as an identity and cultural element of the city. We truly believe they have achieved it. They even claim to have the best francesinha in the world so, you must go and find out if it is true!
Where to find it: Rua Passos Manuel, 190/192, Porto, Portugal
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday: 11am to 11:30pm; Friday and Saturday – 11am to 1:30am
4. Francesinha Bufete fase
Bufete fase, like many restaurants in Porto, is also a family business. Everything is prepared on the same day, and every ingredient here is fresh, a process that has granted them several awards. Here you will find francesinha with a smoother sauce – most sauces can be a bit heavy due to the beer and spices. This sauce is a fit for everyone, including children and those with more sensitive palates.
Where to find it: Rua Santa Catarina , 1147, Porto, Portugal
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday – midday to 4pm, 6:30pm to 9:30pm
5. Francesinha O Afonso
Somewhat hidden in Porto, O Afonso is a unique restaurant that stands out from the other suggestions, mainly due to a particularity. When you arrive, you will immediately be surprised by its window where a small “sanctuary” dedicated to the famous F1 pilot, Ayrton Senna, is placed. The inside is almost a mini museum, or some say tribute, to this legendary Formula 1 driver. There are F1 car replicas, photos, and even replicas of Ayrton Senna himself! A dinner at O Afonso is almost a themed dinner. To many, this is the best francesinha in town, but then again, it all depends on who you are!
Here’s a very fond memory of our foodie adventures while hosting Anthony Bourdain in Porto and showcasing the rich history and culture of our city.
Where to find it: Rua da Torrinha, 219, Porto, Portugal
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday – midday to 3pm, 7pm to 2am
There you have it, our top 5 francesinhas in Porto. If you are planning on visiting Porto, now you know where you can taste some of the best francesinhas in town, and most of all, where to enjoy a truly authentic experience and mingle with the locals.
Are your taste buds craving more Portuguese flavors, Francesinha lover?
After you have tried the cities signature dish francesinha, ready to discover and taste other lesser-known local traditional dishes & wines while in Porto? You might think of joining our Downtown Food Tour. Guided by our passionate local host, you will experience the Porto that tourists rarely see, taste important elements of our cuisine and learn about the history, architecture and culture while walking the streets of our beloved city.
Enjoy & Bom apetite!
Taste Porto Foodie Team