Alternative names Little Frenchie, Frenchie
Type Sandwich
Place of origin Portugal
Region or state Porto
Main ingredients Bread, ham, linguiça, fresh sausage (chipolata), steak or roast meat, cheese, tomato and beer sauce
Cookbook: Francesinha  Media: Francesinha

Francesinha (meaning Little Frenchie or simply Frenchie in Portuguese) is a Portuguese sandwich originally from Porto, made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça, fresh sausage like chipolata, steak or roast meat and covered with melted cheese and a hot thick tomato and beer sauce served with french fries.


Francesinha with french fries

It is said that the Francesinha was invented in the 1960s. Daniel da Silva, a returned emigrant from France and Belgium, tried to adapt the croque-monsieur to Portuguese taste. Other versions date the Francesinha to the 19th century. It is a very popular dish in Porto and is associated with the city, although it can be sometimes found elsewhere in Portugal. A classic francesinha meal would include the sandwich, surrounded on a bed of chips doused in the famous sauce, and complemented with a fino, literally meaning thin or fine, which in this context refers to draught beer.

Locals will have their favorite restaurant with the best Francesinha in town, typically arguing about the quality of the sauce (a secret recipe that varies by restaurant) and the quality of the meats.


Francesinha sauce is a secret, with each house having its variation. The only common ingredient is beer. Most, though not all, sauces are tomato based and vary in their degree of spiciness. The color is usually red or orange. Different restaurants that serve Francesinha are characterized based on how good their sauce and mix of meats is perceived to be.

There are some sauces that can be bought in supermarkets.


Francesinha in Porto

There is no standard recipe for the francesinha, but anything listed below may be described as a Francesinha.

The Francesinha Especial (Special Francesinha) is a Francesinha with egg and/or potato chips.

Different restaurants in Porto have special variations, such as:

There are several other variations of the original Francesinha such as pork, chicken, tuna, codfish or even with vegetables only.


Porto and its surroundings is the traditional area of the francesinha, with many restaurants and cafés serving it. It can also be easily found in several other places across the north of Portugal. In the center and south of Portugal it may be harder to find, but there are an increasing number of restaurants, bars and cafés serving it, especially in tourist destinations like beach resorts ranging from Figueira da Foz to Albufeira. In Lisbon, a number of bars and restaurants serve varied types of francesinha, including variations served with green sauce. Francesinha standard sauce bottles have been sold in supermarkets across the entire country since the 2000s, which may be related with a growth of the sandwich's popularity outside Porto Metropolitan Area.

Francesinha poveira

The Francesinha poveira is a different form of Francesinha also created in the early 1960s. The main differences are in the bread, sauce and the fact that it can be eaten by hand. It can be found mainly in Póvoa de Varzim, north of Porto.


Pica-pau is a food where the fillings of a francesinha (sausage, steak) are cut into small pieces and served covered with Francesinha sauce. It is called Pica-pau (woodpecker) because people eat it with toothpicks, pecking the small portions.


The Daily Meal included the francesinha in their article "12 Life-Changing Sandwiches You've Never Heard Of".[1]

See also


  1. Dan Myers (27 February 2015). "12 Life-Changing Sandwiches You've Never Heard Of". The Daily Meal. Retrieved 2015-03-03.
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