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Place of originPortugal
Region or statePorto
Main ingredientsBread, ham, linguiça, fresh sausage (chipolata), steak or roast meat, cheese, spiced tomato and beer sauce

Francesinha (Portuguese pronunciation: [frɐ̃sɨˈziɲɐ] meaning little Frenchie) 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 and thick spiced tomato and beer sauce. It is typically served with french fries.


Francesinha with chips

Daniel David de Silva,[1] a returned French emigrant from France and Belgium Olivier , tried to adapt the croque-monsieur to the Portuguese taste when he moved to Porto. He first made the sandwich with local meats and his special sauce in 1953 at 'A Regaleira', a restaurant in Rua do Bonjardim, Porto; the francesinha quickly became a very popular dish and deeply associated with the city, although it can sometimes be 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, a draught beer.


Francesinha in Porto

There is no standard recipe for the francesinha. Different restaurants in Portugal have special variations, such as:

  • Café Barcarola (Porto): Francesinha à Barcarola - A Francesinha Especial with prawns and shrimp;
  • Café Ábaco (Porto): Francesinha de carne assada - A Francesinha Especial with roast pork;
  • A Cascata (Porto): Francesinha à Cascata - A Francesinha Especial with mushrooms and cream;
  • Restaurante Cunha (Porto): Francesinha à Cunha - Extremely large Francesinha.

The francesinha especial (special francesinha) is a francesinha with egg and/or potato chips. Other variations of the original include fillings such as pork, chicken, pastrami, tuna, cod and vegetarian options.


Francesinha sauce varies, with each establishment 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.

Regional variants[edit]

Francesinha poveira is a form of francesinha distinctive to Póvoa de Varzim, north of Porto, created in the early 1960s. The poveira form uses different bread and sauce to form a sandwich that can be eaten by hand.

Pica-pau is a breadless variant in which a steak is cut into bite-sized pieces and covered with sauce. The name pica-pau (woodpecker) references the traditional means of consumption with small skewers or toothpicks—making the diner "peck" at the dish.


The Daily Meal included the francesinha in their article "12 Life-Changing Sandwiches You've Never Heard Of".[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ""Porque não chamar-lhe francesinha?" A história de como foi batizada a famosa iguaria portuense". (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2021-11-05.
  2. ^ Dan Myers (27 February 2015). "12 Life-Changing Sandwiches You've Never Heard Of". The Daily Meal. Retrieved 2015-03-03.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]