Whenever I step foot on British soil, there is one place I head to each and every time. A meal at Nando’s is a non-negotiable.

What you find at Nando’s is flame-grilled peri-peri chicken in all sorts of varieties and with varying levels of hotness. Vegetarians, don’t worry, there are plenty of options for you as well.

To me, this sign means I’m about to have a great meal. (Photo Credit: Nando’s by Flickr user pittaya)

When the Portugese explorers sailed East in search of the legendary spice route, they stepped ashore in Africa. It was there that they discovered the African Bird’s Eye Chilli, also known as Peri-Peri. It was this spice that was used to create the spicy, fiery sauce known and loved today.

And how did peri-peri and Nando’s come together?

A few hundred years later (in 1987 to be exact), it was the same PERi-PERi sauce that inspired Fernando Duarte to invite his friend Robbie Brozin to a humble Portuguese eatery in the heart of Rosettenville, South Africa to try some mouth-watering PERi-PERi marinated and basted chicken. It wasn’t just the best chicken Robbie had ever tasted; it was love at first bite!

If you do decide to visit Nando’s, be forewarned that your dining experience will be a little different to the average restaurant. Instead of having your order taken at the table by staff, each table has a number which you use when placing your order at the counter. Your dishes will be brought out to you, and you’ll be asked if you want to purchase anything further, but since you pay at the counter you are free to leave whenever you are finished.

Nando's Table Number
Don’t forget your table number when you order. (Photo Credit: Peri Peri Down Under! 🙂 Melbourne Trip – Mar-Apr 2012 by Flickr user savioseb)

Every Nando’s looks a little bit different. But throughout you will always find some similarities. One of my personal favourites is the napkins with the words “Now remove all evidence…” and “For the bits your tongue can’t reach”.

Nando’s may have come quite a way since our humble beginnings in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1987, but we’ve never forgotten our roots. The amazing works of art we have in all our restaurants are a beautiful and constant reminder of where we came from.We embarked on our art project – which gives South African artists the opportunity to create works of art for us – way back in 2002. – Nando’s  

It’s a very rare occasion that I arrive at a Nando’s in the evening and there isn’t a small queue. Even at lunchtime there is almost always a crowd. So whatever you do, don’t leave your visit until you are already hungry.

Nando’s are located throughout the United Kingdom and a handful of other countries. As popular as they are, however, we have no doubt they will be expanding faster than you can say “chicken”.

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About Heather Tucker

Heather is a writer, photographer and explorer of the world with bylines in Archaeology Magazine, Porthole Cruise Magazine, Taste & Travel, amongst others. She is addicted to pen, paper, hotels, organisation and hippos. In addition to Travel Gluttons, you can find her over at Cloggie Central.


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