Ok, so, this might’ve been my last restaurant meal for the next little while because I need to get back on the healthy eating bandwagon. The last couple of weeks has been a little bit insane in the eating department and although my tastebuds will HATE me for the next few days, my waistline will thank me. And what better way to end off the indulgence than with some tasty chicken from Nando’s.
For those of you unfamiliar with Nando’s, the gist of the story is two friends discovered Portuguese-style chicken in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1987 at a restaurant called Chickenland. They fell in love with the chicken so they quit their jobs, bought Chickenland, changed the name to Nando’s, and the rest is history. I first discovered Nando’s when I was in Australia from 2005-2006. At first I thought it was an Australian franchise, as I’d never seen a Nando’s in Canada (what can I say, I lived in Jasper. Nuff said).
There’s only one Nando’s in Calgary, in the Northeast. I’m not sure why there’s one location as it seems to be fairly popular. Mark’s dad really likes Nando’s (it was one of the first places we took him to when he first moved to Calgary). He also said it would be his treat, which is always a nice gesture and one I can never refuse.
There weren’t too many tables when we got there, around 1:00pm. The way Nando’s is designed, you put your order in with the cashier at the entrance, pay upfront, take a number, find a seat, and wait for a server to deliver your food. I think it’s a good system, but if you haven’t been there before (or you’re not sure what you want), best to hang out in the waiting area until you figure out the menu items. It can get a bit hectic when it’s busy, but on lazy Sundays like today, it was efficient.
We decided on the Full Pack (a whole flame-grilled chicken, choice of 2 large sides, 3 Portuguese buns or garlic bread). The two sides we got were the Spiced Rice and Peri Vegetables, and we opted for the Portuguese buns over the garlic bread. You also have a choice of how much heat you want on your chicken, ranging from extra-hot to lemon & herb (almost no spice). We chose “hot” (Mark is only one who can really handle extra-hot).
They also have three different peri-peri sauces for dipping, in extra-hot, hot, or garlic.
The order only took about 10 minutes to get to the table.
The chicken was moist and juicy, with just the right amount of heat and flavour. Whatever they use in their marinade, I wish they sold it in bottles – I’d put that sh*t on everything! The Spiced Rice is actually not spicy at all, but most likely flavoured with peri-peri (same with the veggies). OMG the Portuguese buns were amazing! Crusty on the outside, soft and chewy interior, just like bread should be. It had a hint of sweetness that was really pleasant and it was awesome dipped in the peri-peri sauce.
The Full Pack for the 3 of us was a good amount of food (we ended up order another quarter chicken). If you’re in the mood for something different, but still familiar, the chicken at Nando’s is a great choice.
3333 32 Avenue NE
Phone: (403) 769-0610