I visited Nando’s Peri-Peri in Chicago during mid-May 2015 and it is different and unique-it is THE South African-Portuguese restaurant! It is a new breed of restaurant with incredible food and I was so impressed with the food, service and décor! Their most popular item on the menu is their Flame-Grilled Peri-Peri Chicken. Peri-Peri is an African Birds Eye Chili. All their portions are very generous so order accordingly. If you like French fries, you’re in for a treat. Their fries are large cut and seasoned with their unique spices to perfection. They have a great menu that will satisfy just about everyone.
The Peri-Peri sauce ranges from Mild to Extremely Hot. I suggest you start out Mild and work your way up. The Extremely Hot is eye-watering! They encourage you to eat with your hands. At the end of your meal you can simply wash your hands at the sink next to the Coke machines without having to visit the restrooms.
The exposed brick walls, exposed rafters, and solid wood herringbone floors (from an old crayon factory in Ohio) give this restaurant a warm and real feel.
Nando’s serves a Portugese – South African inspired cuisine. The menu represents traditional foods of South Africa. The origin of the food dates back hundreds of years when Portugese settlers made South Africa their home. The food served at Nando’s is part of the fabric of the South African culture. It is essentially the working man’s food of South Africa.
Nando’s is a hybrid self-service and full-service restaurant. The most appropriate definition for Nando’s is fast casual. They have real plates, silverware and glassware. Nando’s offers its guest either dine-in or take-out options. They do not accept reservations. They are expected to be open until 10pm or 11pm during the week and until 11pm to midnight on Saturdays, however please check their website for specific hours. They do not offer valet service, but there is plenty of street parking along Randolph.
Although this is Nando’s first restaurant in Chicago, they have 22 restaurants throughout the U.S. and over 1,200 globally.
One of the first things you will notice in Nando’s is their décor. Nando’s has the largest South African art collection on display. There are more than 600 pieces of South African art in Nando’s restaurants in the U.S. Even the roof support columns are decorated with traditional South woven art.
- Immediately entering the restaurant you will walk up to the counter and place your order.
- You will be given a number for your order.
- You will then place the number on any table you choose.
- The drink bar and sauce bar are self serve. They serve Coke products in a high-tech Coke machine. The machine can make just about every Coke product ever made. The Coke Zero Vanilla is great… just in case you’ve never tried it.
- The food that you ordered is brought to your table by a Nando’s server.
- The average wait time is advertised as 8 to 10 minutes. Our experience was exactly 8 minutes. By the time you get your drinks and sauce, the real wait time is only a couple of minutes.
The restaurant also carries a respectable selection of both Portuguese and South African Wines and Beers.
The average bill for Nando’s is expected to be in the $12 to $13 range.
Don’t leave without trying their ‘Naughty Natas’ dessert. It is a custard filled pastry that is absolutely delicious. Alternatively, you can order the self-serve bottomless frozen yogurt.
Although Nando’s is just opening in Chicago, they have already contributed generously to the community. For two days during the ‘soft’ opening, Nando’s hosted a charity event for the benefit of ‘After School Matters’. They offered free meals to all who visited their restaurant and kindly asked each guest to contribute (at their discretion) to the ‘After School Matters’ charity. 100% of all proceeds (approximately $20,000) for these two days were donated.
953 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60607