The Best Places to Eat Francesinha in Porto

Francesinha | © Spacetrash / Flickr
Nina Santos

The first time you take a bite of a francesinha is a time that is sure to stay in your mind. Warm and savory with a medley of meats and more than a hint of melted cheese in each forkful, this dish, traditional to Porto, is in a category all of its own. Calorie bomb, meat-lover’s dream, and drunk sandwich are just three ways to describe the francesinha, but nearly everyone calls it delicious. Here are our picks of the top places to try Portugal’s favorite saucy “little Frenchie” sandwich in the city where it all started.

1. Café Santiago

Cafe, Restaurant, Snack Bar, Portuguese, European

© Jeremy Keith / Flickr

Few restaurants and cafés in Porto have a following like Café Santiago, serving Porto since it became an official restaurant in 1959. What makes their francesinhas so good? The secret may be in the aromatic sauce, a family recipe that is kept behind lock and key (or sealed lips).

2. Yuko Tavern

Restaurant, Portuguese, European

A survey conducted by the Portuguese digital magazine New In Town found that Yuko Tavern was the people’s choice for serving the best francesinhas in Porto, earning 25.7% of the 15,571 total votes. The rustic interior, surrounded by stone walls and wood beams, makes this an especially cozy spot, too. If you’re in Porto for some time, try to visit early in the week, because the restaurant becomes significantly busier on Friday and Saturday nights.

3. Cervejaria Brasão

Restaurant, Gastropub, Portuguese, European

Stepping inside the Cervejaria Brasão, you will be greeted by the atmosphere of an elaborately decorated and traditional rural tavern, yet it is located in the heart of Porto (just a few minutes walk north from the Aliados metro stop) and is only a few years old. The francesinhas are delicious, in addition to the array of Portuguese petiscos on the menu, and the attention to every detail makes it a visual experience, too. And if you like craft beer, take a few moments to choose which you want to try instead of automatically asking for a fino (the normal way of asking for a regular, small, draft beer on tap in Porto).

4. Capa Negra II

Restaurant, Portuguese, European

Francesinhas are the specialty at Capa Negra II (although they have a robust menu) and plenty of first-time visitors in Porto beeline to this spot before trying others. One reason is their reputation, and Capa Negra II has been serving its customers since opening in 1972, four years after Capa Negra I (both are run by the same family). Another reason for its popularity is the options on offer: Capa Negra II has their normal francesinha for €10 (€11.50 with an egg on top and fries), a francesinha with shrimp added for €12, and mini francesinhas for €6, perfect if you want to try this iconic dish without feeling guilty after.

5. Lado B Café

Restaurant, Portuguese, European

© Spacetrash / Flickr

Another great and much-loved spot among those familiar with Porto is Lado B Café, located around the corner from the historic Majestic Café and in front of the beautiful azulejo-covered Church of Saint Ildefonso, so you can’t miss it. The francesinhas (which they market on the menu as “the best in the world”) cost €8.25 (you can pay an addition €1.20 for a side of fries, ideal for dipping into the spiced amber sauce) and there is a vegetarian option for €8.95.

6. Bufete Fase

Restaurant, Portuguese, European

Bufete Fase is the place to go when you want a great francesinha, quick, to go, and with no fuss. Not only are francesinhas their specialty (again, the secret may be in the spicy sauce), but they’re the only thing on the menu! You can also stay and dine in the restaurant’s relaxed setting. A regular francesinha (topped with linguiça, by the way) costs €9 and you can add fries for €1 more.

7. Restaurante A Regaleira

Restaurant, Portuguese, European

A Regaleiras original francesinha
© Pedro Varela / Flickr

Francesinha-lovers can’t leave Porto without visiting the location where the magic first happened. The original francesinha recipe was developed in the 1950s at A Regaleira, a laid-back and comfortable restaurant in downtown Porto. Served with a side of potato chip-style fries (and best with a cold beer), it’s definitely one spot that should be on foodies’ lists.

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