- a blog about food and value

Review: Nando’s, Dundrum

nandosWay back when we started this site, I nominated Nando’s as one of my favourite cheap eats in Ireland.

Nando’s is a gigantic multinational chicken factory without the rancid awfulness of KFC. Is it true that they’re called KFC because they can’t legally use the word ‘chicken’ in their title? Probably not, and no. Snackbox and I ventured to KFC for a ‘family bargain bucket’ after a particularly heavy session a few months ago. We were lured by fond childhood memories, but it didn’t satisfy our hungover cravings and was way less enjoyable than other fast food junk like Chicken Hut or even McDonalds. Kids are cheap, I remembered.

Actually, it’s unfair to mention Nando’s and KFC in the same breath. They both serve chicken, but the similarities end there.

nandos-foodLike Wagamama in Stephen’s Green, or (arguably) any of the Gourmet Burger joints around Ireland, Nando’s offers good quality food in comfortable surroundings without garish lighting. I’ve eaten in a few Nando’s and each one has its own architecture and identity – a sweet ruse to make the place part of the neighbourhood.

And the food? Reliably brilliant, and excellent value. It’s all about the peri-peri chicken: choose from very mild if you’re a loser, to extra hot if you’re feeling extra brave. A quarter chicken with regular chips is plenty for lunch or a light dinner, and it’ll cost just €8. Add an extra side for just €1.95 and you’ve enough for dinner. Or be a pig: get a half chicken with two sides – may I recommend the Macho mushy peas and chips with peri-peri salt for a total of €13.75. You can also get your chicken in a burger, pitta, or wrap.

It’s €2.95 for a drink but you get unlimited refills; every time I leave my head is full of fizzyness and the sugar is burning my teeth off. Lastly, they’ve got a great kids menu and it’s a very welcoming place for all ages. Check out their Irish menu.

There’s lots of lovely places to eat around Dundrum – The Counter, Ananda, Harvey Nichol’s Cafe, Dunne and Crescenzi, Roly Saul, and Siam Thai to name just a few – but Nando’s keeps luring me back. Nando’s have just opened a second branch at the Pavillion’s Shopping Centre, Swords, north Co. Dublin.

Readers, do you love unashamedly love this gigantic corporation too?


  1. I haven’t eaten meat since I was 12 but I think about Nando’s constantly. It sounds so delicious I think I’m going to lose my veginity there.

  2. Having lived for several years in Southern Africa, where Nando’s was the weekly treat, I can’t wait till they come to Cork! Best chicken ever

  3. Great chicken in Nando’s – my partner takes it as a personal challenge to finish off the whole chicken every time we visit.

  4. My bro put a present in my Xmas stocking of various Nando’s spice packets and it was honestly one of the best presents I ever got. A week doesn’t go by without me rubbing a pile of Nando’s seasoning onto a chicken breast with some olive oil and then bunged in the oven for 20 minutes. Bliss!!!

  5. @ Sarah: myself and Mr Finn are both veggies and their veggie burger in a pitta woth corn, coleslaw and/or chips is yum!

  6. Went to Nandos in London last month for the first time. Was so impressed that we ate there twice in a weekend. The food tastes of food, the prices are great and there is brilliant choice throughout the menu. Loved the design and simplicity, the friendly staff and the quality of the ingredients.

    There is an interesting article in the Guardian on the use of celebrities and the ‘marketing’ strategy in the UK.

  7. I agree with you Peter – KFC is disgusting, not a guilty pleasure like Burger King can be. You need a shower after eating there. And Nando’s is just fantastic.

    Sarah – veginity! 😀

  8. Is the chicken free-range?

  9. I ate in the Dundrum Nandos a couple of months ago and I was really excited about it as I use the sauces at home and love them. I thought it was a bit of a let down. I had a chicken wrap and my partner had 1/2 a chicken. The chicken wasn’t particularly fabulous considering that’s what they ‘do’. The peri peri salt on the chips and the houmous were the highlights.

  10. @Finn OMG I didn’t think they had any veggie options! Now I really have an excuse to go there (and eat a whole chicken by myself)

  11. Just what we need, another restaurant that specialises in plastic chicken.

  12. I have four kids, my partner has two…. we love Nandos, we can all have a great meal (not plastic chicken) ok, not free range organic chicken,but the meat is good quality, it’s not flovoured that much that you can’t taste the meat!

    Everyone enjoys a trip to Nandos in my house,, and we have some weird eaters!

    Maybe it’s not as good as some places, Cafe Bar Deli was great in June, and good value at €60.00 but my oldest son (12) wasn’t happy with a kids meal! But when you have kids and still want to go to a restaurant (not totally fast food) Nandos is a great place, extremely family friendly!

  13. Battery chicken is battery chicken.

  14. It’s not battery chicken.

    From the Observer article (

    Nando’s chicken is “not organic, but not frozen, nor reconstituted, battery-farmed or pumped full of chemicals either…

    “It’s not battery-farmed, but it’s not free-range either. The suppliers that Nando’s use – Faccenda and Sun Valley for everyday chicken, halal from Freemans of Newent and Highbury Poultry – comply with the voluntary, industry-led assured chicken protection standards. Nando’s also gets some extra chicken breasts from suppliers that meet similar standards in Holland and Germany. Essentially, the chickens are reared in well-littered and ventilated houses and have constant access to water and food that isn’t spiked with growth promoters…

    “Nando’s say that their chicken is in constant review and they are actively looking at alternative methods of production, including RSPCA Freedom Foods. The problem is price: the amount of chicken Nando’s needs and the price it charges (£9.10 for half a chicken with two regular sides) means that, for the moment, organic just isn’t an option.”

  15. On KFC. That ad, with the disgusting child whose parents have brought him to a safari park and an amusement arcade, but who won’t stop whining “are we there yet?” because he wants KFC chicken. What makes it worse: his mother finds the ungrateful kid’s whole schtick endearing. As presumably, we’re meant to. She DOESN’T tell him to shut up. She doesn’t even wring his neck – like a chicken’s. Most annoying ad ever?
    Jean – nail on the head – KFC made me want to take a shower.

  16. We ate in Nando’s Swords and I don’t think we’ll be back. I have mixed feelings about it, my husband hated it point blank. In my opinion, the pluses are: children get a meal that’s a bit different- and better – than the usual deep fried food + fries. They also provide crayons to keep the little ones busy and the staff was very friendly. My chicken (a quarter with lemon and herbs) was deemed “extra mild”, still it gave me heartburns, but it was flavoursome and I had expected the greasy, bland, extra soft flesh that intensively reared chickens taste, but I was pleasantly surprised. My kids mash and chicken fillet strips were good. The sauce range is interesting. The value is good if you get a combo (chicken + side dishes), my side salad was a large bowl of salad leaves with cherry tomatoes, red pepper. It was very fresh
    The minuses: it’s too complicated. You have to order at the till, you need to choose a marinade and a side dish, then get your sauces separately. So a simple request like a chicken burger with fries becomes “chicken burger in which strenght? Do you want spicy salt with the fries?” that’s before you get to the sauces (and don’t forget the one for the salad). For the kids dessert, you get a token at the till when you pay, then you go back to the till to get the empty bowl, before helping yourself to the ice cream machine. No small spoons in sight. We were given a high chair, but the little one couldn’t even reach the table so I had him on my lap (and ended up covered in mash potato :-)). And, according to the guys, the fries weren’t nice.
    Later that day, I met another mum who said she just hated the place, but others seem to really like it, so I guess you won’t know before you try it for yourself. I would go back on my own.

  17. Wait, are you saying the nandos in Dundrum is halal!? please tell me this is true!