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Cheap Eats

Nando’s Peri-Peri

421 W. Baltimore St., (443) 681-3675

Photo: Patrick Pilkey, License: N/A

Patrick Pilkey

Located just down the street from the glass-plated Panera Bread on West Baltimore Street, the exterior of Nando’s Peri-Peri makes for a refreshing change of pace, its facade graced with the blood-red Barcelos Cockerel (the beloved symbol of Portugal and the restaurant’s emblem). And holy cockerel, the interior: high-vaulted ceilings, wine bottles in diamond-shaped cubby holes, and a chandelier that can only be described as consisting of cosmic eggs. Think Chick-fil-A, if Chick-fil-A was a funky and creative, alcohol-providing Portuguese hangout. Yes’m, Nando’s does provide alcohol: Beers range from Heavy Seas’ Loose Cannon to Super Bock, one of Portugal’s most popular brews. Now you’re probably wondering what a joint like this is doing under Cheap Eats. Despite all of Nando’s fancy atmosphere and sit-down-ability, it’s got fast-food prices. We ordered their world-famous (Nando’s is a multinational franchise that sprung out of a mining town in South Africa and which is all the rage in the U.K.) signature dish, the peri-peri chicken, with two sides—in our case, the Portuguese rice and corn on the cob (all for $12.85). Like George Costanza, we like our chicken spicy, so of course we got it hot. The breast itself was succulent, borderline melt-in-your-mouth. The rice had flavors of various peppers and herbs, all of which were fresh. We’ve got our eye on the chicken breast pita ($6.25) and the roasted portabella mushroom with Halloumi cheese and chili jam ($7.25) when we return. Unfortunately, when we visited, their computer system crashed; the manager was more than apologetic for the 25-minute wait and insisted on giving us free drinks and a voucher for another quarter of a chicken breast. It was an unnecessarily kind gesture: Licking the peri-peri off our fingers was redemption enough.

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