Nando’s PERi-PERi: Gluten-Free Fast Casual Food

*This review is not sponsored by Nando’s PERi-PERi*

Nando’s PERi-PERi restaurants are currently located only in Illinois, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

A self-described “Afro-Portuguese” fast casual restaurant, Nando’s PERi-PERi prides itself on its flavorful and fresh ingredients and is most famous for its 24-hour marinated, butterfly-grilled chickens basted with your selection of one of the following (gluten-free) PERi-PERi sauces: “Plain…ish, Lemon & Herb, Mango & Lime, Medium, Hot, or Extra Hot.”

I highly recommend checking out the online menu because it lists comprehensive allergen information for a variety of food sensitivities. The in-store menu does not include this information, so it is helpful to have an idea of what it safe before you go. If you forget, the mobile menu does have the information. PLEASE NOTE: this allergen information is presented differently than most. See photo below:

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Each meal lists which allergens it contains, so any meal with a “G” in its description CONTAINS GLUTEN. This means you need to avoid any dish with a “G” in its description. Additionally, there is more detailed nutrition information available here (DC area) and here (Chicago area).

What we ordered (intended for 2-3 people):

  • Full Platter – Whole Chicken w/Medium sauce & 2 sides:
    • Red Skin Mashed Potatoes
    • Butternut Squash and Grilled Corn
  • Grilled Chicken Breast Strips Kids Meal w/
    • Sliced Apple
    • Frozen Yogurt

Pile O Chicken via Positively Free Nando's Full Plater via Positively Free My Nando's Plate via Positively Free Happy Kid at Nando's via Positively Free

Verdict:

For someone who lives gluten-free like me, it’s so refreshing to eat food with unapologetically bold, bright flavors—no season-less chicken here! There are many different heat levels, so you will still get bold flavors even if you choose a sauce without much heat. If you’re looking for a casual family restaurant that offers gluten-free options, Nando’s PERi-PERi is a crowd-pleaser!

Other Gluten-Free* Options:

  • PERi-PERi Chicken / Sauces (ALL Gluten-Free!)
  • Mediterranean Salad
  • Kids’ Meals:
    • Grilled Drumstick & Thigh
    • Chicken Wings
    • Grilled Chicken Breast Strips
    • Coleslaw
    • Corn on the Cob
    • Sliced Apple
    • Frozen Yogurt
  • Snacks & Shareables:
    • PERi-PERi Wings
    • PERi-PERi Nuts
    • Spicy Mixed Olives
  • GF Sides:
    • Flame-Grilled Corn on the Cob
    • Coleslaw
    • Portuguese Rice
    • Red Skin Mashed Potato
    • Macho Peas
    • Mixed Green Side Salad
    • Butternut Squash and Corn
    • Cucumber and Poppy Seed Salad
  • GF Desserts:
    • Coconut Macaroon
    • Frozen Yogurt
    • Naughty Natas

*According to the Nando’s PERi-PERi online menu

Pros:

  • Super-flavorful chicken with a variety of heat options
  • Vegetarian/Vegan options available
  • Family-friendly with gluten-free kids options →
  • Moderately priced (our entire meal was about $32 and provided plenty of leftovers)
  • Allergen information identified on website for a variety of issues (see detailed information above)
  • Call-ahead ordering available for takeout
  • Catering for 12-200 available
  • Bottomless frozen yogurt—need I say more?

Cons:

  • Only available in limited markets → according to the website, more locations are coming soon!
  • Allergen information not listed on in-store or downloadable menu
  • Many items are not gluten-free, so there is a risk of gluten contamination
  • No dedicated GF fryer
  • Helpfulness/knowledge of staff will vary according to restaurant

What gluten-free restaurants would you like to see me review next?

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