Welcome to my restaurant review of the O Frango Dourado Piri Piri restaurant in Messines in the Algarve. Situated close to Krazy World and just 11km and 13 minutes from our driveway this is a restaurant that we have wanted to visit for a while.
When I started RecipeThis.com I always planned to write reviews maybe once a month, or every fortnight if I could. Then the plan was for 5 recipes a week and a few Podcasts as well. But with having 2 under 3s eating out has been the last thing on my mind. Then you also end up eating at the same places over and over again and before you know it those pre-planned restaurant reviews have been completely forgotten.
I just had a sneaky look now and realised that the last restaurant review that we published here on RecipeThis.com was in fact July last year. A full year since we last talked about restaurants and eating out and it was from our summer holiday in Spain last year. At the time I was 7 months pregnant with the lovely Jorge and now it is hard to believe that he is our 9 month old little darling.
We have of course been out since then, but it has been to favourite places that we go to time and time again and I think the blog would be rather boring if we just blogged about those.
But we decided that we needed to get our more, thus this review today of O Frango Dourado Piri Piri restaurant.
What Is Piri Piri Chicken
Well in a nutshell think Nando’s but a more authentic Portuguese version with very little South African influence.
It is a special blend mix that is nice and spicy but not so spicy that you feel like your throat is about to give up on you. It has a nice kick to it and is cooked on a barbecue, with many restaurant visitors watching it cook. Sometimes it is marinated into the chicken, but most of the time it is a spicy paste that is brushed over the skin of the chicken.
Because it is more flavoursome than highly spiced you will often see young children eating it.
In South Africa it is called Peri Peri chicken but in the Portuguese language it is known as Piri Piri. Many tourists to Portugal get confused by this after previously visiting Nando’s as they assume it is called Peri Peri around the world.
The word Peri Peri (or Piri Piri) is other words for African Birds Eye Chilli. Though it is known in the Oxford Dictionary as “a very hot sauce made with red chilli peppers”. Piri Piri also translates to pepper pepper in some languages.
In Portugal it is often chopped up into various chicken pieces and served with chips and salad. Though on some occasions you also have it served with rice too. And the perfect drink to be served alongside it is local red wine. It is also very cheap to buy in restaurants with meal deals starting at just 6€.
O Frango Dourado Piri Piri Restaurant
With this Piri Piri restaurant being just 13 minutes from our house it was one of those places that we had always meant to go to, but never quite had the time.
We decided that today was going to be the day (more like we were hoping we could get a table). We had read online via TripAdvisor that you were lucky if you got there by 12 noon that you would get a table. After all the only time of the week that they did the legendary Piri Piri Chicken was on a Wednesday. It was not available the rest of the week and it was advisable to book.
Well we didn’t book and we were kind of worried that we wouldn’t get a table and maybe should have a Plan B. After all we did turn up at 12.45pm! So we had a list of local Piri Piri restaurants to try out and fingers was crossed on our first choice.
Would we get a table and how good would it be?
After all there was LOT of very positive TripAdvisor reviews along with it being #2 in our local district of Messines.
O Frango Dourado – First Impressions
The first thing was first I wasn’t going to drag the kids out of the car and into the restaurant without knowing whether or not we had a table or not, so Dominic remained in the car with our under 3s and I went inside for a look around.
I was surprised to see that it was only 75% full. Especially considering recent reviews suggested that you can never get a table.
But it was the first really hot day of the season and who wants to be in a restaurant when you could be on the beach or sunbathing by a pool?
I got a table that was in the main dining area and had views out to the outside space.
First thing I did (well you need them when you have a 8mth old) is a high chair. They brought me one over and one look at it and I was really disappointed. It had a huge gap in between where the small child sits and the end. It was unsafe and it would be a case of holding your baby in place for the entire meal. Which I may add that Dominic went on to do while I sat next to Sofia.
Maybe the high chair was more suited to a 3.5 year old, rather than an under one? But it was still better than nothing.
O Frango Dourado – Eats & Drinks
When we sat down our drinks (that I had ordered when I was shown to my table) was already there, but they were wrong. I had ordered 2 Diet Cokes and 1 water. In fact what was waiting for me was a Coke and a water. One drink down and one drink wrong.
Not exactly a good start.
But I had seen on TripAdvisor that the food was great but it had bad comments about the service so maybe this is what they were talking about?
Then when we sat down there was also the bread and some olives. Personally we follow Paleo a lot of the time so we don’t have much (if any) bread in the house. So to be presented with such a huge portion was going to be a big waste. Plus like many families we don’t eat the olives. But the bread and the olives are in the price, so we really shouldn’t complain.
In a blink of the eye, the rest of our food is here. Though I should rephrase here…..everything is here minus the rice. They have forgotten to bring us our rice and brought out a plate of chicken, a plate of salad and a plate of chips.
We called the waitress over after about 10 minutes and asked for our rice, which soon came.
All our food was here and we tucked in:
The chicken itself was amazing. The chicken was flavoursome, it was succulent, it had the most crispy skin that I have ever had in a restaurant. Plus the chicken was really meaty rather than being bones like you can find in some Piri Piri restaurants.
The rice was nothing special. Just rice with a little seasoning. Not what I have grown to expect from Portuguese restaurants as it is normally a lot better than this. It is normally like garden rice with egg, sweetcorn and peas. But it is still rice and it is still well cooked and fitted in nicely with the chicken.
The salad was the worst part of the meal. Just because when you have salad at a Piri Piri restaurant here in Portugal it tends to have such an amazing salad dressing that you actually ask for more salad.
The chips had seen better days. They were homemade which is a HUGE PLUS POINT in my world. But it was like they had been around too long and had been slightly over cooked. I grabbed a handful of them, but had no urge to go back for more.
What I tend to do when it comes to Piri Piri Chicken is to dip the bread into the juices from the tray. That way you can really try it out and see how spicy it really is and get a real idea of how good the marinade actually is.
I did this today and wow its like a kick of chilli but without being overly spicy. A true winner in my book!
Then we ordered our dessert from the chiller. They had all kinds of cakes. We opted for a slice of Maria Cake for Sofia (its one of her favourites) and a slice each of chocolate cake for us.
We have this rule that when we are out for dinner we are not on Paleo, as it gives us a nice balance between healthy eating and enjoying the naughty food.
O Frango Dourado – Highs & Lows
O Frango Dourado – The Positives
Well I always like to start with the positives and I have to say right now that the chicken was truly amazing. It tasted so good that it would be worth returning just to experience the chicken again. It is flavoursome and not over spicy. My daughter really liked it and she is 2.5 years old and likes food that is mildly spiced.
It was very good value for money. We paid just 16€. For that we got 2 lots of Piri Piri chicken with rice, chips and salad. This also included enough food to feed our toddler too. On top of this the meal also came with bread, olives, a slice of cake each and a drink. We also ordered a drink for our daughter and a slice of cake for her. For her we paid just 1€ (with us paying 7,50€ each) and she had a drink and a slice of cake. I have a feeling that it was worked out wrong, but I am hardly going to argue am I?
We loved the delicious moist chocolate cake. Often chocolate cake is really heavy, but this is really, really nice. Plus not many restaurants include the cake in the price of the meal.Piri Piri #Chicken At O Frango Dourado In #Messines @recipe_thisClick To Tweet
O Frango Dourado – The Negatives
My experience of leaving O Frango Dourado was of a couple walking their dog on the restaurant grass, letting it poop and then not cleaning up the mess. I thought this was disgusting. The restaurant staff work incredibly hard and it is awful to think that they have to deal with this as well.
I also found that the fellow diners seemed rather rude and had a lack of respect to the team that were working so hard. This was off-putting to me after all I was raised to always say “please” and “thank you” and it never hurts to be polite to others or show warmth with a friendly smile.
I felt that there was too much bread and not enough chicken. Our portion size was very small for the 3 of us. Though after paying I discovered that we were charged for just 2 of us + 1 drink for our daughter, so it was very good value for money.
I have always hated the chaotic way that you pay for your food and drink in Portuguese restaurants. You get your food fast, but when you ask for the bill you can be waiting 20 minutes to get it. Then asking for an invoice (as I am a business owner and can claim it back on my tax bill) can take even longer. By the end of it you feel traumatised by it all! Plus they never seem to remember what you have eaten, which is a good thing as you will end up getting a drink or 2 for free.
As a family I hated the unsafe highchairs. It was a real shame that they were so dodgy and not suitable for young children. They could really do with being replaced as there was a lot of children at the restaurant when we visited.
Here is Jorge looking miffed in his highchair:
O Frango Dourado – RecipeThis.com Rating
So at RecipeThis.com instead of posting it on review sites we post our results on here. I find that review sites choose which reviews they send live and on here I can be a lot more honest about my experiences.
- Location = 5/5
- Service = 3/5
- Value For Money = 5/5
- Quality Of Food = 3/5
- Variety Of Food = 4/5
- Overall Rating = 4/5
- Cost Per Person = 7,50€
- Visit Again = Absolutely
Overall we loved the place. The food was not perfect and neither was the service, but the chicken was absolutely delicious. It was full of flavour and represented everything that we love about Piri Piri chicken.
The service could be improved but we think that with the Wednesday lunch time Piri Piri special being so popular, that they simply don’t have enough staff to deal with demand.
We would love to go on another day too. The restaurant is also known for its Mediterranean kebabs, that I may add look huge and we would LOVE to eat them to excess. So I am sure there will be another review coming your way soon!
You can find the restaurant on the main road between Messines and Algoz just before the turn off for Krazy World and it is well worth a visit.