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The British Are Coming!

July 4, 2008

Kind of. Sort of. Well, not exactly…Two restaurants with large followings across the pond are finally making their way to the District.

Portuguese themed restaurant Nando’s is spicing up the D.C. food scene with the opening of their very first U.S. location this weekend. Located in Chinatown (819 7th Street NW), Nando’s is well known in the UK evidenced by their 185 UK locations. The chain originated in South Africa in 1987 and now has locations in Australia, Canada, South Africa, and Kuwait to name a few countries. Patrons are hot for their PERi-PERi chicken and marinades. The PERi-PERi flame-grilled chicken comes basted to your taste and sides include corn on the cob, spicy rice, “chips,” coleslaw, and salads. The food has caught on in a big way, count “Becks” David Beckham and Ricky Gervais among the fans.

Wagamama is a chain based on modern ramen bars that serves up pan-Asian inspired noodles and side dishes. The restaurant is insanely popular in the UK, so much so, that it has now twice (2005, 2006) earned the distinction of London’s most popular restaurant by Zagat London Guide. First opened in Bloomsbury, London in 1992, Wagamama has grown to over 90 locations worldwide. The first U.S. location opened up in Boston in the spring of 2007. Hungry diners will find picnic bench style seating, hip waiters taking orders on PDAs, and dishes that come out once ready. For those curious the website states the translation of wagamama is “wilful / naughty child.” Washingtonians, get ready for this “naughty child” to create a stir once its doors open later this year or early next on 418 7th Street NW, former site of Olsson’s Books & Records.

Erin texted me at work yesterday with the news of Wagamama coming to D.C. and it was the best news I heard all day. I have personally dined at the Nando’s and Wagamama in London on multiple occasions and I can not wait to have a “jolly good time” grabbing some pints and sampling the D.C. locations.

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