I seldom write about restaurants outside of the city unless it’s a significant culinary destination, but today I’m breaking that rule to bring to everyone’s attention a wonderful chain restaurant down in the Washington DC area, with a fantastic name: Nando’s Peri-Peri.
Type that name into Google, and Google will suggest the search term “Nando’s Peri Peri NYC”. As far as I know, there’re no Nando’s in New York, and none planned at the moment. The fact that Google recommends modifying the search term only goes to show how many New Yorkers have been hoping to get Nando’s without the 4 hour drive. Scour the Nando’s website, and you’ll see that the importer of their famous Peri-Peri sauces is actually based in West New York. What a tease.
I was first told about Nando’s by my food obsessed colleague. I asked for restaurant recommendations in DC, and she shocked me with chain restaurant that’s almost fast-food-like. With her endorsement, it became a stop on my recent drive down to DC. There’re 8 Nando’s in the DC area, I just picked one based on driving convenience.
The restaurant is a bit confusing for first time visitors, so here’s a quick guide. You order at the counter, but the food is brought to your table by the waitstaff. Sauces and utensils you have to pickup on your own. Taking 4 massive bottles of sauce back to your table can feel a bit weird, but is encouraged as there are so many flavors to try. Next to the utensils and napkins, is a sink in the middle of the restaurant to wash your hands. It’s time to get messy.
For first time visitors, do as I did and order the whole chicken, which comes with 2 large sides. The chicken can be ordered with 4 types of sauces applied as it’s searing on the open flame, then once it arrives at your table you can experiment with different sauces. I tried medium, which was already a bit spicy. Good luck if you order the other two levels with more heat.
Back to the chicken, which for a casual restaurant is surprisingly tender and moist. The flame broiled barbecue flavor is excellent, and playing with sauces only makes it more exciting. The sides are also fantastic, especially the Portuguese Rice. These people do rice right.
If you plan to be in the Washington DC area, Nando’s Peri-Peri ought to be on your list.
Alas as I finish this article, I see good news. The Twitter account for Nandos was just asked if there’d be a Nando’s in either NYC or Phily, and they replied 5 hours ago: “It is probable in at least one of those cities!”. Ladies and gentlemen with Twitter accounts, lets go convince them https://twitter.com/Nandos_USA.
What does this rating mean?
924 Ellsworth Drive
Silver Spring, MD 20910