It seems like everyone and their dog has experienced Nando’s at least once, and therefore everyone has an opinion on the peri-peri chain’s offerings. In my experience most view it as a good place to eat, and I don’t disagree. Nando’s has three things which I believe make up a quality restaurant experience; good food, good service and good prices. However, like any chain establishment, it has its shortcomings. Having been at least a dozen times in the last six months, I feel that I possess a well-rounded enough wealth of Nando’s experience to offer a decently introspective, opinionated review.
Upon entering a Nando’s you are greeted by a friendly enough member of staff, and – if the place isn’t completely packed – escorted to a table. I respect their ability to keep free tables clean despite an intensely rapid turnover of messy customers. Once seated it is time to browse the menu, which greets you with – astonishingly – an abundance of chicken. Butterfly chicken, chicken wings, chicken thighs, chicken platters, whole chickens…if you like chicken this is the place to be. Once you have chosen, the order must be placed at the counter – this can be a little difficult when it is busy, however said busyness, I feel, makes the alternative of orders being taken at the table nearly impossible.
Food is generally served with impressive speed, and I have observed that orders are rarely confused by the staff. This brings me onto the subject of the food itself. As someone who greatly enjoys spices, chicken, and chips, I am undoubtedly biased. I do find that I am stuck in a Nando’s rut, however – I cannot remember a time when I haven’t strayed from my default order of medium-spice butterfly chicken, chips and salad. People tend to get very territorial over their own preferred dishes at Nandos – I’m regularly laughed at for choosing salad over the famous garlic bread, but I’ll continue to defend it as it makes me feel “healthy”. It isn’t a restaurant which encourages culinary adventurism, but I believe it is one of the best options for those looking for an ‘easy meal out’.
Other boxes which Nando’s ticks are the free drinks refills available, which encourages limitless guzzling of diet Coke (again, placebo healthiness) and constant spillages on the way back to the table. Pretty much any (respectable) meal choice will leave you feeling very full, and those daring enough to go for the whole chicken are guaranteed to have to loosen their belts. All dishes served at Nando’s are priced very reasonably – my standard order costs no more than £12. For a somewhat oversized meal with unlimited drinks, I consider this a bargain.
Overall I give Nando’s a rating of 8/10 as a restaurant for a chicken fan on a budget. Its famous chicken is genuinely good, the prices are possibly the best value I know of, and I’ve never received bad service. It definitely does well to please such a huge crowd of customers, and I know that a ‘cheeky Nando’s’ is always a safe, if predictable, option for a nice meal out.