While fried chicken always hits the spot, it's probably not the best long-term option for consuming your chicken buck-buck-cluck. Between the cholesterol, trans-fats and calories, rotisserie chicken is typically a healthier choice. And with Mami Nora's out on Wake Forest Road, you won't even be sacrificing any taste, either! While the original Mami Nora's is based out of Durham, the newer sister restaurant seems to be doing better in the online review world. If you haven't tried Peruvian chicken before, you're in for a treat. The meat is rubbed with spices and grilled over wood to create a VERY tasty bird. Along with Mami Nora's traditional South American sides, you've got the makings of a hearty but reasonably priced meal.
Step inside the bright yellow building, head on over to the counter and you'll see a handful of choice on the menu mounted above. Three or four rotisserie chicken options along with some sides (black beans, three types of plantains, yucca fries, and more) keeps things basic. I'll typically go with the 1/2 chicken option along with two sides for $8. Grab a seat after you order at the counter, it'll typically take five or ten minutes to get you served. Mami Nora's also has a nice array of S. American soft drinks (Inca Kola, Cola Champagne) available. Yes, you could probably get your rotisserie chicken faster at Boston Market but it's going to be worth the wait.
Out pops a smallish chicken, cut into two quarters with well-browned skin. The meat is slightly smoked from the wood flame and tender. And the spices? Not a typical sweet marinade but a hearty mix of what tastes like oregano, garlic, and more. The chicken is served with aji verde and amarillo (creamy pepper sauce, the green is spicy) as a condiment, sort of a mayonnaise dipping sauce. Be aware that if you do take-out, they'll be packing your bird and food in a lot of styrofoam, if only they could be greener! I brought some Mami Nora's chicken to a potluck and it disappeared in a blink of an eye...
Mami Nora's also does awesome sweet plantains that have been softened and sweetened to perfection. Toothsome and satisfying, they are up there on my best plantains ever, list. The chicken soup is a bit salty but full of veggies and meat. And their black bean (frijoles) are basic but very tasty. In addition to the chicken, I've also tried their arroz chaufa (fried rice with chicken, sausage) and a side salad which was excellent. Mami Nora's has a small selection of desserts, including flan and a tres leches cake special from time to time.
What I really like about Mami Nora's is the authenticity of the place. Between the staff and patrons, the place has a real latin feel. Salsa music on the speakers overhead, simple carved wood chairs and tables, Mami Nora's has enough personality to briefly take you to Sud America for your meal. And yeah, the food is inexpensive and good, always a winning combination on Foodalicious Follies! There's nothing like great roasted chicken and that's what Mami Nora's delivers on the cheap, bon appetit.
2401 Wake Forest Road
Raleigh, NC 27608
4 stars out of 5