Yesterday a friend and I discovered a new restaurant in Chinatown in Washington, D.C. I was looking to eat dinner at a place I haven’t been to, and stumbled across the new looking and modern exterior of a place called, Nando’s. According to Wikipedia, “Nando’s is a restaurant chain originating from South Africa with a Portuguese-theme.”
Nando’s works in a pretty unique manner. Upon entering, a hostess will seat you at a table and hand you your menu. When you have decided what to order, you then go up to the main counter to order and pay at the cash register. You are then offered nuts and olives as appetizers (free of charge, I think). Next to the cashier is a bar of different “Peri Peri” sauces ranging from mild, to extra hot. (There are also salad dressings and a garlic hot sauce too. I tried the garlic sauce as well as the medium and the hot sauces and it seemed that the medium sauce was spicier, though the hot sauce had an interesting, fruity taste.) Once you have gathered your silver ware, napkins, fountain drinks, and sauces from the “condiment bar” you can then go back to your table. The food you ordered is then brought out to your seating. It’s pretty unique.
I ordered the butternut squash and couscous salad with chicken. It was really good. And the presentation of the food was very nice too. The portions were standard and filling. My friend and I also split a glass of the Sangria which I really liked. It was very sweet and had a cinnamon undertone. Yum. The prices were also fairly reasonable. The Sangria glass was under $5! I was also impressed that the place used real pottery plates and glass glasses (for some reason the environment seemed to suggest that this wasn’t a real restaurant and would thus use plastics for dining).
The interior design also scored high points for me too. there was a modern, rustic feeling, with big, chunky wooden tables and booths. The ceiling above the booth I sat in, had cool, strings of with tiny lights hanging down a few feet. There was a short paragraph of text on a nearby wall which may have been some Portuguese folk story. The walls were painted a warm brown (if I remember correctly). I also liked the restaurant’s logo, a folk-like drawing of a rooster:
Our waiter was also very informative about the place’s different way of going about things. He was nice and also good looking! Ha. In the end, I would recommend this to anyone seeking something different without having to pay a lot. I came away from Nando’s still not quite sure I really know what Portuguese food entails, except that it’s healthy, full of vegetables and starch, and is tasty!
Plus, a major highlight of the restaurant visit was their bathrooms. The sink in the room was very innovative and strange. The basin was a flat, diagonal ramp slanting away from you, with a slit at the bottom for the water to drain down to. The faucet was a bold, strong statement that kind of looked like a pipe with the end sharply cut at a diagonal away from you. It was a motion censored faucet and when you put your hands out in front of the faucet, a strong rush of water came down. Also, I was pleasantly surprised by the nice, room temperature water too. It was so innovative, I just had to include something about the sink in this blog!