Bwok bwok, it sounds and smells like flame-grilled, Portuguese piri piri chicken… Yup, due to open this week in the Mission is PIRI PICA from chef Telmo Faria (Tacolicious, Uma Casa) and Khalid Mushasha (Lolinda, Black Cat), a fast-casual spot in the former Frjtz.
As I mentioned in a previous piece, it’s feisty chicken—with chile and garlic and citrus and herbs—that has its roots in Africa (supposedly Portuguese settlers brought the chile peppers to then-colonies Angola and Mozambique, where the sauce originates). You’ll be able to get it by the quarter ($8, or $12.95 with two sides), half ($14, $18.95), or whole bird ($26, $32.95), and you can also designate how spicy you want it, or if you want it with lemon and herbs. Faria grew up in Portugal’s Azores, so these are flavors he knows well.
There’s also grilled breast, a shrimp skewer, plus a crispy chicken sandwich, a chicken wrap (whole wheat tortilla, saffron rice, three-bean chili, cabbage-herb slaw), and four kinds of salads, from cabbage-herb slaw to couscous to wild rice ($3.95 as a side, or $7.95 as a main), or the salad mista (chopped romaine, kale, spinach, tomato, cucumber, avocado, grapefruit, croutons and feta) for $10.95—you can add chicken to any of them for $5. Sides include french fries, saffron rice, vegan bean chili, grilled corn, braised collard greens, and hummus and grilled bread ($3.95-$5.95). The menu strives to be affordable and healthy, while also being well made and full of flavor.
Local beers and a Portuguese-influenced wine list will also be on offer. C Walters Design is behind the cheerful 48-seat space, which includes a vivid yellow door and yellow chairs inside, and four custom-designed steel banquettes (there will also be outdoor seating, with room for 10). Open daily for lunch and dinner from 11am-10pm. Hopefully they will update their Instagram account with the news when they open! 590 Valencia St. at 17th St., 415-800-7994.
Lemon and herb chicken with chili and corn sides. Photo: Gamma Nine.