If you didn’t already know Nando’s has arrived in Abu Dhabi. Lucky for me, one is located just down the road in Al Zeina. For those who have yet to experience Nandos, I would recommend getting down there to try this delicious chicken. Originating in South Africa, it is Portuguese style Peri-Peri chicken, flame-grilled to perfection. I have to warn you though – it is addictive!
I recently visited the Al Zeina restaurant. The restaurant is warm and spacious. Large colorful artwork covers the walls, the room is warmly lit with unique spiral light bulbs and installation art hangs from the very high ceiling. If it wasn’t for the booths and tables, you would think you were in a trendy art gallery. With lively music playing softly in the background, you can’t help but smile when you arrive.
Once you do walk in, the staff will greet you immediately. Super friendly. It seems as if everyone except the cook comes to welcome you. They will seat you at your table – whichever suits your needs. The tables at Nandos are massive. Whether you choose a round booth, rectangular booth or a table – you wont be short of space. It’s comfortable and relaxing. Without even realising it, you will be swaying to the music as you browse the menu. The menu itself is quirky and entertaining to read with cute little quips such as “We dare you – don’t be chicken!” It all adds up to a happy start.
Nando’s is famous for its flame-grilled chicken and Peri-Peri Sauces. What is Peri-Peri? It is a type of African chili. The sauce is a combination of crushed chilies and other various spices. Nando’s Peri-Peri sauces are so popular that you will find them at your local supermarket. I do happen to use the sauce at home, but in my opinion nothing can compete with the flavour of original Nando’s chicken.
Considering it is a restaurant specializing in chicken, there is a lot of variation on the menu. If you don’t like regular chicken, there is boneless chicken, salads, chicken burger, pita or wrap. If you are on a diet, there are healthy side orders to compliment your chicken. If you don’t eat chicken but want to experience Peri-Peri, there are a few vegetarian options. You can order individual meals or group platters. It covers just about anything.
There are only a select few desserts on the menu, however, I can recommend all of them. Depending on how spicy you have your meal, the dessert is ideal to sooth the heat left from the Peri-Peri.
What did I have? I had the 1/2 Chicken with 2 sides combo. Medium Peri-Peri with Peri-Peri fries and spicy rice. If eating half a chicken wasn’t enough, I finished the meal with the Chocolate Walnut Brownie. Warm brownie with ice cream and rich chocolate sauce, c’mon now. Can’t go wrong with that!
This is a fun place for individuals, couples, families or large group of friends for casual dining. It has a great atmosphere, delicious food and impeccable service. You’ll want to come back for more. But if that alone is not enough of an incentive, there is a loyalty program. For every 75 AED you spend you get a stamp eventually working your way up to a free whole chicken, earning rewards along the way. Not bad. The restaurant is great value for money. When you leave, the staff are just as friendly as when you arrived. Everyone thanks you and says goodbye. I was completely satisfied…and stuffed when I left.
Nando’s has 2 locations in Abu Dhabi. One in Al Zeina, Al Raha Beach and the other is located in World Trade Centre Abu Dhabi. It opens everyday at noon and stay open until midnight. Al Zeina location stays open until 1 am on a Friday. Head on down and let us know what you think!