Piri-piri chicken (also spelled peri-peri) is a common dish around the world, in part thanks to the popularity of Nando’s, a South African (and now global) fast-food chain that specializes in this Portuguese-African fusion food. While Nando’s and other similar chains are nowhere to be found in Boston, there are plenty of great alternatives.
Frango (chicken) piri-piri is grilled chicken that has been marinated in a spicy sauce made with African bird’s eye (or piri-piri) chiles. Even though the marinade is different, itaunas says that Portuguese frango no churrasco is the same idea as piri-piri, and that J and J Restaurant in Somerville makes it well. The Snack Bar in East Cambridge may be another good choice, though itaunas hasn’t tried the frango no churrasco there firsthand. “What I liked at the Snack Bar [were] things with a tomato/onion/pepper base, as opposed to marinades or massa de pimentao,” itaunas says, indicating that J and J might still be the best bet for grilled chicken. For a roasted version of Portuguese chicken, itaunas thinks Neighborhood Restaurant in Union Square should not be overlooked. “Everyone here only posts about the brunch/breakfast at the Neighborhood, but their weekday lunches are pretty good.”
As a non-Portuguese alternative, itaunas likes Peruvian restaurant Pollos a la Brasa El Chalan in East Boston, for their signature charcoal roasted chicken.
J and J Restaurant [Somerville]
157 Washington Street, Somerville
Snack Bar [East Cambridge]
691 Cambridge Street, Cambridge
Neighborhood Restaurant & Bakery [Somerville]
25 Bow Street, Somerville
Pollos a la Brasa El Chalan [East Boston]
405 Chelsea Street, East Boston
Discuss: Peri Peri Chicken