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Nando's Peri Peri - Annapolis

I spotted a big sign indicating Nando's Peri Peri is opening a location at the Annapolis Mall, across from the Chipotle. It looks like they're doing some construction, so I have no idea how long until it will open, but it's pretty exciting news!

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  1. It's trendy, it's slick, they might sell alcohol, but the MD Pollo Smackdown places that were mostly mom and pop joints made better chicken--Sardi's, Super Chicken, Don Pollo etc.. But you could have a corporate lunch at NandoPP. It's in a mall, so it has to be high-profit and palatable to the masses. I don't think there are any real pollo a la brasa places near Annapolis--if there are, please tell.

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    Super Chicken
    422 S Washington St, Falls Church, VA 22046

    3 Replies
    1. re: chowsearch

      Well, thankfully, I wasn't expecting pollo a la brasa, since that's not what they are. There are none in Annapolis as far as a know. The closest that I've been to are Perchi's in Glen Burnie, and Pollo Fuego in Jessup. Pollo Fuego is by far the best in the area, and their Yuca is terrific.

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      Perchi's
      103 Crain Hwy N Ste B, Glen Burnie, MD 21061

      1. re: Jason1

        I like PF too, is Perchi's not worth a detour? I heard there is new pollo in Columbia too.

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        Perchi's
        103 Crain Hwy N Ste B, Glen Burnie, MD 21061

        1. re: chowsearch

          Let's just say I work across the street from Perchi's, so I can eat there anytime I want. I've been there once. Enough said.

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          Perchi's
          103 Crain Hwy N Ste B, Glen Burnie, MD 21061

    2. I am pretty sure the Annapolis location will be opening around the end of June.

      1. According to Nandos mgt, the Annapolis Branch wont open till June, quite exciting after living in London for 23 years and coming to DMV and have to drive to DC for Nandos and hardly an parking, so looking forward to Nandos Peri Peri Chicken.

        1. I went to the Annapolis NandoPP this week - it's open now. I can't comment on how it might compare to the other MD chicken places mentioned since I haven't been to them yet. First of all, I don't think chicken goes that well with hot sauce or hot salsa. I mean, when did you last have a hankering for a chicken breast smothered in hot sauce? Maybe that's just me. Secondly, I thought their chicken tasted much like a roasted chicken you'd buy at the grocery store. Nothing special. Not terrible, but I can pick up one of those for $5 any day of the week, take it home and dip bites of chicken into any hot salsa I also bought at the store. I tasted the chicken without dipping into any hot sauce and it didn't have any particular flavor - just a basic roasted chicken as far as I could tell. Now about their hot sauces. They have I think 6 different hot sauces (their brand) and you can take a few bottles back to your table to pour over your plate as desired. I tried all of them and with several bites each. They're fine, but I wasn't blown away by any of it. The restaurant itself is visuallly attractive and there is an outdoor seating area which is nice and intimate. It doesn't overlook the mall parking lot, it's tucked away on the side. I enjoyed my side dishes more than the chicken, however. I got the butternut squash with grilled corn, red onion, dried cranberries, and cilantro and I really liked it. I also got the macho peas which are seasoned with parsley, mint, and chilli. I'm not a huge peas fan, but the seasoning was nice and something I'd never had before. So all in all, the meal was fine but I didn't think it was anything special. I have a question about these other chicken places people have mentioned (Sardi's, etc.)... is their chicken so much better than a roasted bird you can pick up at the grocery store?

          14 Replies
          1. re: dishyone

            "I don't think chicken goes that well with hot sauce"

            Ever heard of buffalo wings?

            1. re: sekelmaan

              Buffalo wings are an entirely different thing. Wings aren't about the chicken to me, they're a vehicle for the sauce as someone else said. I was thinking more along the lines of taking a chicken breast and smothering it in some hot salsa or something and cooking it like that. It just doesn't appeal to me at all. I like hot salsa but I don't think it goes with chicken when chicken is the focus. I remember at Nando's that I ordered my chicken "hot" but it tasted like a grocery store roasted chicken to me - not hot at all and no special flavor or anything. No spices at all, no apparent marinade or anything. So maybe they made a mistake there and gave me the mild kind or something.

              1. re: dishyone

                I hear ya. On peri peri chicken one should taste lime, garlic and heat. Peri peri is rather flavorless, but very spicey, it gives a good heat to the chicken. Some where on here I posted the recipe for it, if you want I will post the link to it--if I can find it.

                1. re: dishyone

                  My family recipe for peri peri chicken and braai sandwiches:

                  http://www.chow.com/recipes/26021-per...

              2. re: dishyone

                No, the other chicken places mentioned in this thread (I don't see Sardi's mentioned and am not sure what that is) are Peruvian Style Chicken. They're marinated and cooked on a rotisserie over charcoal, so they have a different taste than plain roasted chicken. I've yet to try Nando's, so I can't compare, but I did expect a pretty different flavor profile. However, if you enjoyed the healthy, vegetable based sides at Nando's, you may be disappointed in the usual Peruvian chicken side offerings. The best tend to be fried yuca, fried plaintains and rice.

                1. re: Jason1

                  If you go to Florida, try Pollo Tropical. It is wonderful and inexpensive. I soooooo miss them.

                2. re: dishyone

                  When I go to Nando's PP, I order the dark meat spicy. It is cooked in a Mozambiquan hot sauce; you don't need to add anything. This is miles different than a grocery store chicken. Go back and order the dark meat spicy and let us know how you fared.

                  Rotisserie chicken places vs, grocery store: in the DC area, you will see many Hispanic families lining up to spend about $11 on a bird fresh from the rotisserie when they could be spending about half that at the grocery store. If a place is good, they are serving a plump, juicy, crispy, spicy, hot, fresh bird as opposed to the small, dry, sweet, flaccid stuff at the grocery store. If you want to save money, get the grocery store bird. It won't feed a family, but you could buy two for the same price. If you want to eat well.....

                  1. re: Steve

                    In my recent experiences with Giant, the chickens have been horribly dry, despite my assumption that they pump them up with some type of artificial 'super brine'.

                    1. re: Jason1

                      Generally, the prepared foods in the grocery store deli are made from stuff that has passed the expiration date, especially the chicken. They bleach chicken and fish to kill the smell, then fry it up. I stay away from it. That includes the roast chicken as well.

                      1. re: flavrmeistr

                        I'd say that would be true, except the chickens that Giant usually sells prepared are far smaller than anything they have for sale.

                        1. re: Jason1

                          They may not have started out that way.

                    2. re: Steve

                      A few months have passed, so I got a hankering for chicken recently and decided to give Nando's another try. On your suggestion, I ordered 'dark meat spicy' to-go with no side dishes. It was around $5.00. When I got home and opened the to-go container, there was a single drumstick (very, very small) that had a tiny bit of thigh meat attached to it (not by any stretch of the imagination a whole chicken thigh). Yes, it was spicy but it was a tiny amount of meat for $5.00.

                      I don't understand other people's objections to a grocery store roasted chicken. No, they haven't been marinated in anything flavorful, but they're not horrible and you get a whole freaking chicken for $5.00 whereas I spent that much for a small drumstick! I honestly think people like Nando's for the cool atmosphere - it does look nice when you go in there, but the chicken is nothing special and way way overpriced for what you get.

                      I recommend that you buy your own favorite hot and spicy sauce of whatever variety (even buy some of the Nando's sauce you can get there), marinate some chicken pieces in it and then bake them in your own oven - you will fare much much better. I will not be going back to Nando's.

                      1. re: dishyone

                        There must be something wrong with that location. It's not like that at all in DC.

                        So here is what is wrong with those grocery store chickens: you are buying a steamed chicken. The chicken sits in those plastic containers and the skin gets flabby and the meat gets steamed and develops a mushy texture. I no longer get those unless we're desperate. I happily spend more to go for the Peruvian / Salvadoran rotisserie chicken places that serve a crispy and juicy alternative.

                        1. re: dishyone

                          I haven't been to Nando's yet, but a friend who has been in Malaysia brought some Peri Peri sauce back home to us -- as a seafood-averse eater and a woman weary of noodles, Nando's was a bright spot for the homesick traveler -- and I have to say the bottled sauce is pretty tasty.

                          We've been meaning to go to the D.C. location for ages -- didn't realize there was a spot in Annapolis, too.

                    3. Peri Peri chicken braai (grilled) is one of the simplest and most delicious things to eat in my opinion (but I am from South Africa). I like thighs and legs personally, my mum uses cornish hens halved. Marinate in olive oil, a lot of garlic, a lot of fresh lime juice and as much peri peri powder as you can handle. Grill. Served with grilled South African cheese, onion and tomato sandwiches, grilled on an open flame that is. It may be one of my death row meal options.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: sekelmaan

                        And if you use too much peri peri powder, you may very well get an Early Bird special on that death row meal.....

                        1. re: Steve

                          Haha! Its like pho, for some reason it is always wayyyy too spicy!

                        2. re: sekelmaan

                          Sounds wonderful! Where can I get peri peri powder?

                        3. It looks like one will also be opening in downtown Silver Spring, near the Ann Taylor store and Cakelove.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: shellymck

                            Waaaaa!!! I want one in Falls Church. Who needs another tweak pizza shop? (but we got one anyway)

                          2. It is now open -- had lunch there today. Won't be rushing to return. Thechicken was OK, though a bit anemic looking. If it were a Peruvian chicken place I would rank this as the worst chicken of its kind I've had. But it's in the mall and has more in common with Boston Market or Chicken Out, and compared to them it's not bad. Their spicey sauces sure are hot but they don't mask the lack of flavor in the chicken. Had a side of cole slaw which was large, creamy and pretty good.

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                            Nando's Peri-Peri
                            819 7th St NW, Washington, DC

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: chesapeake72000

                              Went the other day to the Annapolis location. The chicken was cooked well but was nothing great. I got the chicken extra hot which really wasn't that hot. I also tried some of their sauces by themselves and they were ok. I had a side of Portuguese rice with my chicken, the rice was very bland. My wife ordered a chicken wrap which she loved but there were only about two strips of chicken in it, for being more in price than a half a chicken I would think it would be packed with chicken. The whole experience was just ok, probably wont go back anytime soon.

                              1. re: Fishback

                                Well, I had a much more favorable impression of my one meal there. I though the chicken was very good, coated in their terrific hot sauce. I go the hot, not the extra hot, and I did indeed think it was spicy. I was pretty impressed. My wife got the medium, and that was also spicier than expected, which led her to wonder how the spice would play in the Annapolis mall setting. Their fries were outstanding, and the macho peas on the side were very good/different. It's true, you don't get a strong chicken taste...it's really a vessel for the sauce, much like buffalo wings are. But this sauce is really, really good. I also had one of the small custard pies by the register, and though this was good as well. With the food, and the atmosphere, I really liked the place. As far as noise, I didn't notice any problem, but we were there at lunch, and the place was 3/4 full.