Portugal Meets California: Portucal Peri Peri Written and Photographed by Misfer Alqhtani and Meshaal Alhojaili
Every occasion in my culture is graced with different kinds of foods. I was brought up knowing that the importance of food went beyond just satisfying and nourishing the body. When celebrating any religious event in my country, people come together to eat.
The variety of foods present at these events can only be described through the aroma that hits your nostrils when you enter the celebration. The spices ranging from masala, pepper, turmeric and chili among others, hit your nose when you enter the room and you feel hungry and happy. I had a similar experience walking into PortuCal Peri Peri in downtown Burbank. The restaurant walls are covered in reds and browns and the darkened glass windows create an atmosphere of calm inside the restaurant when the natural light lands on them. The aroma of rotisserie chicken hits your nostrils as soon as you step into the restaurant. Soon afterwards you start getting the hint of pepper and garlic that automatically make your mouth water. In PortuCal Peri Peri, the menu tells you it is: One part Portugal, One part California.
PortuCal Peri Peri is located on San Fernando Blvd. in Burbank next to a variety of places to eat. The restaurant prides itself in bringing the taste of Peri Peri to the USA, a spicy taste that is hard to find here. Peri Peri is a Swahili word meaning “Pepper Pepper,” so, naturally, I expected to find spicy chicken here. The restaurant is located close to several other exotic food restaurants like the Greek Mediterranean restaurant on its right and the Great Grill on its left, which create a sense of competition for PortuCal. However, PortuCal Peri Peri stands out because of their unique flavors and spices. Their menu consists of only chicken meals, even the salads have chicken.
As a new customer, I had some difficulties picking a dish and asked one of the staffers to recommend something they thought I would enjoy, and they recommended a Chicken Bowl with Mango Sauce. The dish tasted sweet and sour with a mix of garlic, mangos, and herbs over yellow rice. My experience at the restaurant was amazing. Their meals are delicious and well presented, and the Peri Peri spice is actually represented in their food. As a matter of fact, due to the spiciness and the way it was prepared, it reminded me of the Arabic food I missed from home. Since there are not many Peri Peri restaurants to compare with, the only thing I can say about the prices is that it is reasonably priced for the serving you get. I would recommend getting Chicken Bowl with Mango Sauce, Hot Chicken Wings, and the Spinach Chicken wrap, at the restaurant. When I feel hungry and homesick, this is my new go-to place in Burbank.
The sauces at Portocal
Like what you see? Click here to see their online menu and go to PortuCal Peri Peri today!
130 N San Fernando Blvd, Burbank, CA 91502 Store Phone: (818)-861-7673
Store Hours: Sunday – Thursday 11am-10pm Friday – Saturday 11am-11pm