Was out in Portugal with the lads on a brilliant road trip celebrating my 30th. Yep, I’m officially in my thirties now (yipes!). We started off up in Porto in the north of Portugal and worked our way down the country to end up in the seaside resort of Albufeira. Plenty of adventures along the way, and plenty more things that were “Outside The Guidebook”
Porto is a nice sleepy town by the Portuguese coast, north of Lisbon. We flew into it on a hot Saturday afternoon and picked up our car at the airport. While waiting to sign the papers on the vehicle, one of my friends who goes by the name “H” (yep, that’s what he calls himself) told us that his Portuguese mates back in London had insisted we try the famous local Porto dish of Francesinha. Never needing an excuse to eat and get stuffed, we got possession of our new wheels and dutifully proceeded to do just that.
After some asking around at the amazing Gallery Hostel where we were put up, and even more asking around on the steep, hilly, cobble stoned streets of Porto, we finally made it to Cafe Santiago. Apparently the most famous Francesinha in all of Porto is served there. The menu presented us with a myriad of options on the dish. Johnny, another good friend along on the holiday, decided to go for the simplest of the Francesinha’s while the rest of us went for the “built up” (read: more expensive and fancy looking) versions. In the end we all decided that Johnny’s dish was the best of the lot. And the cheapest.
Watch this little video of the cafe with a shot of the menu page. In this case, cheap is certainly the best!
For anyone going to Porto, taking in a good helping or two of the local Francesinha is a must. It is one of the most famous dishes to come from the region. What is not so famous is the fact that the simple, traditional Francesinha has metamorphosed into a touristy behemoth in many of the local menus. An unfortunate result of the burgeoning tourist trade in the region. No worries though, for you’ve got OutsidetheGuidebook.com at hand to let you in on the secrets
Remember, go for the cheapest, most no frills Francesinha you can find in the menu and you can rest assured that you will be dining like the locals, and paying like them too! Here’s a snapshot of what the Francesinha’s look like in all their saucy glory – on the bottom left is the traditional “no frills” simple Francesinha on Johnny’s plate:
Here is Cafe Santiago’s website. It is in Portuguese so you might want to translate it using Google Translate or something similar for English literature. Have a good meal and hope you enjoy the Francesinha, it’s quite a heavy meal!
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