HOME > Chowhound > Chains >

Just Wondering Swiss Chalet or Nando's Chicken? Which Do You Prefer?

t
Tour boi Dec 31, 2006 05:52 AM

I do like both, but there is something about Nando's I do love more then the SC...Is the charcol flavour of the BBQ on the chicken..SC dont mind too much! Tour boi

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. e
    estragon RE: Tour boi Dec 31, 2006 11:09 AM

    I haven't been able to eat Swiss Chalet since moving to Little Portugal and having easy access to good churrasco chicken anytime I want. SC is a waste of time.

    2 Replies
    1. re: estragon
      y
      Yongeman RE: estragon Dec 31, 2006 11:55 AM

      I beg to differ, estragon. Personally, I love churrasco chicken too, but Swiss Chalet also does a tasty chicken. And the fries have stayed pretty consistent, for such a large chain.
      I've never tried Nando's, but one just opened near me at Laird and Eglinton. What's it like?

      1. re: estragon
        sensualspirit RE: estragon Dec 31, 2006 10:39 PM

        I agree w/ you 100%

        Their food sucks.

        Ever since they changed to trans fat free oil, their fries are no longer good & I used to love their sauce.

        I end up going there & spending the same money I would pay for a really good meal.

        Happy New Year everyone : )

        Michelle

      2. andreas RE: Tour boi Dec 31, 2006 01:19 PM

        That's a bit like asking who does the best burger, Mc Donald's or Burger King. Both have their place in life (mostly as a hangover cure for me - but as I am getting older that kind of drinking doesn't seem to happen much anymore) but I would not compare them to a properly prepared hand made burger.

        A good family run churrasco joint should always outperform the chains.

        1. e
          erly RE: Tour boi Dec 31, 2006 02:41 PM

          tried the Nando's on Laird while Christmas shopping.
          I don't get it.
          The price is high for fast food.
          The chickens are small and yes you can buy two whole large chickens for the price of one small ones at Nando's at any portugese shop.
          You can buy a whole very large chicken from Longo's (which is quite tasty, but I suspect that they use MSG) cooked for almost third of the price.
          The dinner sides are all starch.
          rice potato corn
          I questioned this and was told that I could have a salad instead, but they were out of salad.
          It wasn't bad chicken, but...
          I don't get it..
          The proprietor of this franchise is a very nice man, and I wish him success.

          1. g
            Gary RE: Tour boi Dec 31, 2006 02:52 PM

            For a chain, I actually think Swiss Chalet is pretty enjoyable. You know what you're going to get. I don't think there are many places where you can get that kind of meal, with full table service, for such a cheap price. I guess it has nostalgic value, too, because a visit to Swiss Chalet seems pretty much unchanged from what I remember as a kid.

            But you have to keep in mind that the consistency between locations is not very good. One of the best locations seems to be the Bloor & Bathurst one, at which I've always had great meals. The Yonge near Dundas location, on the other hand, is abysmal, with dry chicken and ungodly smells drifting up from the bathrooms into the dining area.

            1. f
              FlavoursGal RE: Tour boi Dec 31, 2006 03:30 PM

              Nando's is around again? There was one on Eglinton, between Bathurst and Allen, a number of years ago. It lasted about 2 years, I think. It was not great then. I believe it's a South African chain, is it not?

              1 Reply
              1. re: FlavoursGal
                pescatarian RE: FlavoursGal Mar 7, 2007 12:15 PM

                I know this is dated, so maybe you already got your answer FG, but there is a Nando's on Yonge south of Major Mac that's still there. I haven't been though so I can't comment on quality.

              2. c
                childofthestorm RE: Tour boi Dec 31, 2006 03:35 PM

                St. Hubert is still the best, but then I grew up on it. Churrasco is of course great, but sometimes you want the whole fries/gravy/coleslaw experience.

                2 Replies
                1. re: childofthestorm
                  f
                  FlavoursGal RE: childofthestorm Dec 31, 2006 03:50 PM

                  I grew up in Montreal with Chalet Bar-b-que and, later, Cote St-Luc Barbecue. These are still the best in Montreal, hands down. Here in Toronto, Swiss Chalet serves us well when we have the craving.

                  I also enjoy churrasco. As far as I'm concerned, you can't compare one to the other. Each has its place, and each has the traditonal side dishes to go along with the meal: hot sauce, rice and peas, and roast potatoes for the Portuguese chicken; barbecue sauce, French fries and salad (with Chalet dressing, our usual) at Swiss Chalet.

                  1. re: FlavoursGal
                    c
                    childofthestorm RE: FlavoursGal Dec 31, 2006 10:34 PM

                    Thanks for reminding me about Chalet, I lived near there in NDG and was eating it almost weekly. Time for a trip home for some.

                2. sweetie RE: Tour boi Dec 31, 2006 03:55 PM

                  Is there a St Hubert's in the GTA? I use to love St Hubert's.
                  Back to the question at hand though....I like SC. I have to agree with Gary. For a chain I like the consistancy and the price. If I don't feel like cooking SC is tasty and the priceis resonable. The sauce sucks though. Nandos is inconvenient for me and not worth the drive for mediocre chicken and dry fries, that aren't very piri-piri.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: sweetie
                    y
                    Yongeman RE: sweetie Dec 31, 2006 05:05 PM

                    I think that the St. Hubert on the Queensway, just east of the 427 is still there, although I haven't been out that way lately.

                    1. re: sweetie
                      spades RE: sweetie Dec 31, 2006 05:27 PM

                      You know, for a while I was totally addicted to Chalet Sauce. Hated it at first, then something happened, and I began to dip almost everything in there, including the dinner roll. Thank God I moved... there is no Swiss Chalet anywhere near me now.

                      I think there's a St. Hubert's in Mississauga somewhere... that's the only one I've seen. Went there once... not too shabby!

                      1. re: spades
                        h
                        hungryabbey RE: spades Dec 31, 2006 05:30 PM

                        I am addicted to that sauce, and I also dip the roll in it. I now have to buy the sauce mix at Dominion because I need my fix of it so often. Its good you got away haha

                        1. re: hungryabbey
                          spades RE: hungryabbey Dec 31, 2006 06:02 PM

                          Hold the phone!! What's this "sauce mix" you speak of?

                          1. re: spades
                            h
                            hungryabbey RE: spades Dec 31, 2006 06:17 PM

                            haha, if you go into the aisle of most standard grocery stores where they sell gravy mix in packets (the power), you can almost always find the Swiss chalet sauce mix in packs there too. Its very easy to make, just add water and microwave.. I pour it on everything!! (but whatever, its totally guilt free, theres like 35 calories in 60 ml or something)

                            1. re: spades
                              f
                              FlavoursGal RE: spades Dec 31, 2006 09:02 PM

                              I don't know if they sell it in Ontario, but in Quebec you can buy CANS of St-Hubert barbecue sauce.

                              1. re: FlavoursGal
                                c
                                childofthestorm RE: FlavoursGal Dec 31, 2006 10:36 PM

                                I actually brought some St-Hubert sauce and cheese curds back to Toronto, and then made frites at home...awesome poutine.

                          2. re: spades
                            vorpal RE: spades Apr 3, 2007 06:23 AM

                            Hear, hear! The first time I tried SC sauce, I was disgusted. Then about a year ago, I just couldn't get enough of it and virtually would douse my dinner in it.

                            St. Hubert's pales in comparison to SC. SC uses little or no MSG whereas when I contacted St. Hubert's customer service, they told me that it would be easier to give me a list of what didn't contain MSG than what did.

                          3. re: sweetie
                            e
                            embee RE: sweetie Dec 31, 2006 09:25 PM

                            St Hubert has pulled out of Toronto and, I think, out of Ontario.

                            I've never understood the popularity of the Swiss Chalet sauce. If the chicken is too dry, I'll add some Tabasco and Worcestershire (always available from the bar) to the sauce and dip the chicken but I generally just leave it behind. However, this stuff is unbelievably popular (and seemingly addictive to many). When Jim White wrote the Toronto Star's food columns in the early 80s, I remember him trying to get recipes from restaurants that had been requested by readers. I recall that the Swiss Chalet's "secret sauce" was one of the most requested recipes (though I believe he refused to pursue this, thinking it awful himself).

                            1. re: embee
                              f
                              FlavoursGal RE: embee Dec 31, 2006 09:47 PM

                              I dunno - I've been eating Chalet/Cote St-Luc/Laurier barbecue chicken in Montreal since childhood and, since our move to Toronto, Swiss Chalet. The sauces at all of these establishments are very similar, and I think they're great.

                              My whole family loves the sauce, and we always order extra. In our household, the chicken has to be swimming in barbecue sauce, and we dunk the bread in it (in Montreal you'd get toasted hamburger buns!) and the fries.

                              1. re: embee
                                w
                                wordsworth RE: embee Jan 1, 2007 07:34 PM

                                Swiss Chalet is popular for the same reason as Tim Horton's and their horrible frozen muffins; it's comfortably familiar and they advertise like crazy.

                            2. m
                              maryfran RE: Tour boi Dec 31, 2006 07:10 PM

                              St. Hubert's is no longer on the Queensway. The restaurant facilities are still there, but the name is now Q Rotisserie and Grill. We haven't eaten there so can't comment on the menu or the quality.

                              1. w
                                wordsworth RE: Tour boi Jan 1, 2007 07:33 PM

                                I'm with the people who miss St. Hubert. It was far better than Swiss Chalet. A dinner there consists of a tiny piece of chicken with a huge quantity of so-so Frenchies and that aweful sauce of theirs. It tastes like cough medicine that has been thickened with constrach. Anyone who thickens BBQ sauce with cornstarch is beneath contempt.

                                The place I really miss is Kenny Rogers. They coated their chicken in herbs while they roasted right in front you as you walked in. No one else has anything near as flavorful.

                                For chicken now, I get the Loblaws chicken dinner specials for $13 or whatever it is. Their chicken beats anything I've had, now that Kenny Rogers is gone. Just be sure to get one that hasn't been sitting around. Fortunately, they have a high turn over so that is seldom a problem.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: wordsworth
                                  e
                                  embee RE: wordsworth Jan 1, 2007 09:47 PM

                                  Maybe it is time for someone to revive the Kenny Rogers franchise in Toronto. Whomever was running things here in the 90s didn't know what they were doing, since they had the best food and very little business. They shouldn't have fizzled so badly. Kenny Rogers seems to be owned today by Nathans hot dogs. Is there a hound out there with some cash and the desire to run a fast food place? Assuming standards were maintained, I'd be a regular at at Nathans/Kenny Rogers "co-branded" resto...

                                  As to Loblaws, the problem is that the city requires a holding temperature so high the the chicken becomes dry and awful. You need to go to a Loblaws that still uses one of the Euro rotisseries acquired from Movenpick. There aren't many. They've revived it at Laird & Millwood, but Yonge & Yonge was using this great cooker for storing boxes the last time I was there. Most Loblaws are using Henny Penny combi-ovens, and the chicken isn't nearly as good. You also need to score one fresh from the cooker, before it starts to dry out.

                                2. icey RE: Tour boi Jan 1, 2007 11:48 PM

                                  i used to really enjoy my visits to swiss chalet, and yes, i grew to adore the chalet sauce, and did dip my dinner roll in it. however, i have noticed that over the last few years, the portions were drastically reduced. usually, i would get the 1/4 chicken dinner with a baked potato. i hated that i saw so much of the plate, when i can easily remember never having seen so little a portion in my youth. my new fav comfort 1/4 chicken meal is Montana's believe it or not. Montana's is owned by the same company as SC, but their chicken is jucier, it is rubbed in spices, it comes with a HUGE baked potato, fantastic baked beans (or coleslaw), and a piece of cornbread...FOR LESS MONEY. now, please do not get me wrong...i dont normally care for enormous portions and i really do prefer small portion sizes (a la european), however, when i am going to a chain for some good comfort food chicken, i really do appreciate montana's take on it over SC. For an extra fee you can even have them smother the chicken in one of their bbq sauces (like apple butter, mmmmmmm).

                                  1. f
                                    Foodietraveler RE: Tour boi Mar 7, 2007 12:11 PM

                                    I only get the take out chicken at Swiss Chalet. I don't use that "dipping" grease either. It's one of the worst restaurant chains I've ever been to. Drab limp fries, bland cole slaw and truly crappy service. I can't believe how long they've been around now that there are so many choices available. Montana's is a much better deal and the food is better, not bad for a chain type of restaurant. The best chicken I've ever had wasn't from a chain at all. It would have to have been a place called "Eichens" in Okarche Oklahoma OR Babes, just outside of Dallas. Both are in small out of the way towns. Both have a wide reaching reputation and both are still family owned and operated. After eating chicken at those two places and then trying to go back to Nandos or god forbid Swiss Chalet, I just could hardly abide it at all. I have only been to Swiss Chalet once in the last five years and it was once again a stupendously underwhelming experience.

                                    After all of that I pick Nando's

                                    1. littlegreenpea RE: Tour boi Mar 7, 2007 02:59 PM

                                      Definitely St. Hubert! I used to live in Quebec and I soooo miss it! I don't think it's a big deal if they have in fact pulled out of Toronto; it wasn't as good as their Quebec locations.

                                      Has anyone else noticed that the fries at Swiss Chalet seem grey in colour?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: littlegreenpea
                                        c
                                        callitasicit RE: littlegreenpea Apr 1, 2007 04:05 PM

                                        Honestly if Nando's was closer to me, it would be no competition. Nando's is really good, especially if it is hot! Fries are quite good too. As for Swiss Chalet, I do like it but I find the fries are always soggy in take out and the chicken is rather greasy.

                                      Show Hidden Posts