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Portuguese piri piri chicken eatery lands in Palo Alto

Uploaded: Jun 17, 2020
Portuguese grilled chicken that's marinated for 24 hours in piri piri sauces is the main event at the newly opened The Port of Peri Peri in Palo Alto.

The Port of Peri Peri soft opened for takeout, delivery and outdoor dining on Wednesday at 340 S. California Ave. The space was last occupied by the fast-casual Spice Kit.

Photo by Elena Kadvany.

Owner Sameer Parvez said he and and his partners had been planning the Palo Alto restaurant before the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order took effect.

"We decided to go through and open it because we felt it would still be a success in an area like Palo Alto, where there is a lot of diversity and people enjoy different types of food," Parvez said.

They were lucky to open the week after the city decided to close California Avenue to traffic, allowing restaurants to set up tables in the street for outdoor dining through July 5.

The restaurant is named after piri piri sauce, which is traditionally made from African bird's eye chili peppers. According to Epicurious, the chicken dish has both Portuguese and South African roots: It was created when Portuguese settlers arrived with chili peppers in Angola and Mozambique.

The Port of Peri Peri has its own versions of piri piri sauce, including lemon and herb, Cajun, "milder than mild" and extra hot.

Grilled piri piri chicken from The Port of Peri Peri in Palo Alto. Photo courtesy The Port of Peri Peri Palo Alto.

Customers can order grilled chicken legs, thighs, breast, wings or a whole chicken marinated in the sauces. There's also grilled lamb chops, corn mixed with piri piri sauce, a piri piri chicken burger and potato chips seasoned with piri piri seasoning.

The wide-ranging menu also includes a Beyond Meat burger and Mediterranean and Indian dishes such as falafel, hummus, paneer rice and a couscous salad. For dessert, there's pastel de nata, the Portugese egg custard tart, as well as chocolate and carrot cake.

There are a string of fast-casual Port of Peri Peri franchises in Illinois, Missouri, Texas, Indiana and locally, Fremont.

The Port of Peri Peri Palo Alto is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 17, 2020 at 9:18 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

This sounds fantastic! I love peri-peri (or piri-piri) after tasting Nando's while I was abroad. I'm happy to see something like this in Palo Alto!

Posted by ChrisC, a resident of College Terrace,
on Jun 18, 2020 at 3:06 pm

Good thing Cal Ave is closed so, hopefully, this place can set up tables. It is a very small space,

Posted by poor in PA, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 19, 2020 at 12:32 pm

Falafel and hummus are not Indian dishes :)

Posted by TMA, a resident of Ventura,
on Jun 19, 2020 at 3:29 pm

just found this restaurant by chance as we walked down newly-closed off California Avenue. Great food, we loved it and will return!

Posted by The Wooden Spoon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 21, 2020 at 9:40 am

I've had a variation of this dish while visiting the Azores (off the shore of Portugal)...it's one of those family-style recipes where the marinade will vary depending upon the venue.

Having eaten around the world, I am always left wondering...while knives and forks are common eating utensils (along with chopsticks), in North Africa they still eat with their hands regardless of the fare.

I find this not only messy but also primitive and perhaps culturally backwards. One would think that someone there would have found the time to invent/create something along the lines of a simple wooden spoon of sorts as all it takes to make one is a blank piece of wood and a knife (of which they have many).

Eating an ENTIRE meal (including wet/moisture laden dishes like rice and various meats in sauces) with one's hands/fingers leaves something to be desired and using pita bread as a scooper (in certain instances) is a poor alternative in lieu of some form of basic dining utensil.

While dining on certain foods (i.e. sushi, tacos, hot dogs, hamburgers/fries, fried chicken etc.) with one's hands is OK, eating sauce laden foods with one's fingers/hands from a COMMUNAL serving dish seems vulgar as well as unsanitary.

Perhaps they don't have a convenient access to trees?

Posted by The Wooden Spoon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 21, 2020 at 10:12 am

BTW...the aforementioned commentary was based on my travels to Morocco and Tunisia.

This questionable dining practice came up yesterday as I had to reprimand my 7-year old for 'double-dipping' her Triscuit cracker at a family barbeque. Since the dips are communal, she understood both the sanitary and etiquette considerations and even mentioned that sticking her finger in the dip to sample it beforehand would have been disgusting as well as repulsive to the other guests.

Getting back to the piri-piri...a terrific chicken dish.

Posted by MP Resident, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown,
on Jun 21, 2020 at 8:38 pm

For those who have experience with Nando (I've enjoyed their chicken in three countries, though the UK definitely has the best chips), how does Port of Peri Peri compare?

Posted by Resident, a resident of Ventura,
on Jun 21, 2020 at 10:00 pm

We just ate here. (It replaces that dreary spicekit place.) We had peri-peri chicken and sat outside with it enjoying the nice weather on what is now a walking mall/food fair on a stretch of California Avenue. It was delicious, and the people were really pleasant. We will be back for lunch and takeout in the near future.

Posted by Anonymous MV, a resident of Sylvan Park,
on Jul 27, 2020 at 2:45 pm

RE: The Wooden Spoon
Your comment is appreciated. But it is kinda unrelated to the topic. (taste of food or restaurant recommendation)
Yes some people are still using hands, this was the case and still the case for many populations around the globe. If you think about it the use of cutlery is fairly new to our species.
It might be "backwards" but for some people this is the only option, like many developing countries, people can't afford basic luxuries. Meanwhile their intentions are not morally wrong or tending towards being "disgusting" unsanitary or to harm others.
it is good to be aware of sanitation and practice personal hygiene, but also being polite and able not to judge others by certain behaviors is also a virtue.

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