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francesinha in porto

It’s been two weeks since I was in the best city to visit in 2011 voted by you, Porto, having taken a huge bite out of the city with Visit Portugal and ATTTurismo‘s help. I didn’t quite know how to introduce you to Portugal’s second largest city but when it comes to bites, francesinha is the answer in Porto. This simple cheese exterior hides the 1,600 calorie layers of cured ham, steak, sausage, and bread all swimming in a spicy beer-based sauce. So, while rumors as to its origin are rampant – from French princesses to Porto expats in France (hence the name “little Frenchie”) – it’s city of origin is something everyone agrees on.

Francesinha can be found all over Porto so prevalently that I couldn’t find any two people who had the same favorite spot to get some. The photo above was taken at Cafe Santiago, one of two restaurants with the same name in the city that was voted by Porto residents as serving the best francesinha last year. A bit of a biased result I’m told since Cafe Santiago is nearly twice the size of Restaurante Bufete Fase, another local favorite (and Jamie Oliver’s pick) . While I visited both restaurants to try their francesinha, it’s a debate I can’t find a side to sit on; mostly because I could barely get up after each taste test.

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