Top-notch Portuguese spots for prego and peri-peri

“It’s grown in the African soil, so the magic starts from the ground up,” Nando’s says of their world-famous sauce, emphasising that it all begins with the cultivation of African bird’s eye chillies in African soil. As they tell the story, the peri-peri chicken, a beloved favourite, originated in Mozambique before making its way to South Africa.

Mozambique is a diverse country with a rich heritage; as a result of its colonisation in the 1400s by Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese culture is deeply engrained in their customs – and food. Thus, peri-peri and prego was born – and even today is a firm favourite of South Africans the world over.

Whether you’re visiting, or just keen for a little piece of home on a night out this holiday season, we rounded up the best, top-notch spots for prego and peri-peri in South Africa!


Adega is another family-friendly traditional Portuguese restaurant that’s recently become more contemporary – and launched a lounge! Their prawns, drizzled in lemon butter, will stay with you long after you’ve left – they have, after all, won the best of Joburg award from 2006 to 2014, as well as the best of Pretoria, for their seafood. They’ve since announced they’re expanding their menu, as well as opening a new establishment in inland Africa.

Restaurante Parreirinha
Restaurante Parreirinha (Pa-rey-ring-here), first established in 1975 in La Rochelle and locally known as the Sixth Street Police Station, has moved to Melrose Arch in recent years – and brought some of the original holding cell bars along! Though they’ve since taken up a new residence in a swankier part of Joburg, they’re still serving up the best codfish on the braai and prawns.

1920 Portuguese Restaurant
1920 Portuguese Restaurant in Hyde Park and Ferndale is a husband-and-wife-owned restaurant adorned with football memorabilia and serving the very best in Portuguese cuisine. The Mozambique prawns served with a homemade peri-peri sauce is a standout.

A Churrasqueira
“One of the most frequented Portuguese restaurants in Johannesburg,” A Churrasqueira in Alberton is a lovely family restaurant; it even has a play area for the kids. A Churrasqueira loosely translates to a “variety of food on the grill”, and that’s exactly what they offer. Try their traditional Portuguese peri-peri chicken or Churrasqueira steak with a secret sauce that keeps customers coming back for more.

Cape Town

Beira Mar Portuguese Restaurant
Beira Mar Portuguese Restaurant in Kalk Bay serves authentic Portuguese food, which includes delicious peri-peri chicken and chicken livers, as well as fresh prawns and hake. While it’s a quaint spot, it is indeed a hidden gem that provides great service and hospitality.

Pigalle, tucked away in Green Point, with another location in Sandton, is perfect for a fancier evening out. The restaurant, with a cigar lounge, is romantic and candlelit, but don’t expect a quiet night, with a live band that is sure to get you onto the dance floor. Pigalle is renowned for its fresh seafood, as well as its Chalmar steak.

Baia is located within the V & A Waterfront and with its sophisticated interior, overlooks the harbour. Baia, Portuguese for ‘bay’, opened its doors in 2001, and offers the finest seafood in all of Cape Town. Their princess platter, one of the chef’s specialties, is an absolute fave.

Villa Portuguese Restaurant
Villa Portuguese Restaurant is located on Buitenkant Street, but step inside and you’re instantly transported to a tavern in Portugal. The restaurant advises you start with their delicious mussels in a rich garlic and cream sauce or their chicken liver peri-peri. Main dish standouts include their chicken trinchado and tentacles, spare ribs and queen prawns.

Carla’s is a small and intimate little restaurant in Muizenberg. Just like its owner, it’s warm and inviting. It’s a simple spot, often frequented by surfers and locals, but a must-try if you’re visiting. The prawns, in Carla’s secret sauce, handed down to her by her mother, are the restaurant’s pride and joy.

Dias Tavern
Dias Tavern in the Mother City boasts views of Table Mountain. The restaurant gets its name from 17th-century explorer Bartholomeu Dias, and has an extensive menu including linefish, steaks with a Portuguese twist, as well as peri-peri chicken and prawns to enjoy with their live music. Visit the various branches across the city.

Vasco Da Gama Taverna
Vasco Da Gama Taverna was established in 1972 and built from rocks retrieved from the old Quarry. With weekly specials on some of the finest Portuguese food and beer on tap at the bar (they reportedly sell around 300 litres a day!), their motto is simple: “Where the food is always good and the gees is even better!”


Mozambik offers some of the very best Afro Porto food you’ll find in South Africa, with an extensive and affordable menu. It’s more of a family-friendly establishment that does a stand-out peri-peri chicken. Mozambik, first launched as a single store in Ballito in 2005, has since opened 33 stores nationally, and three internationally in Lusaka, Gaborone and Harare.

A tasca
“Welcome to a piece of Portugal in KZN.” ‘Tasca’ is Portuguese for a quaint café or bistro, but this restaurant is anything but, with its signature royal blue décor and food that will have you salivating. Menu recommendations include the mariscada – a seafood platter drenched in lemon garlic butter sauce or peri-peri; the bife à Portuguesa – steak topped with an egg and covered in a mushroom, garlic, mild peri-peri, herb and wine sauce; and their pastéis de natas.

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