On the HBO series Looking, which was set in San Francisco, one of the characters put his heart and soul into opening a restaurant centered on the Portuguese dish of piri piri chicken. (If you look closely, you’ll recognize that his pop-up takes place inside Pungal on 24th Street in the Mission.)
Back in reality, Telmo Faria — formerly of Tacolicious — opened Uma Casa in Noe Valley in 2016, establishing a spot for excellent Portuguese food that’s a tad more upscale than Grubstake. Housed in the space that used to be Incanto, Uma Casa is romantic but singlemindedly food-driven, and piri piri chicken wings have been on the menu since its inception. But it turns out Faria had wanted to do something a bit more casual much earlier than that.
That project comes to fruition in Piri Pica, which takes over the former Frjtz space on Valencia — as Frjtz, in turn, moves into what used to be Bayou, on 17th Street. Along with Khalid Mushasha of Lolinda and Black Cat, the Azorean native’s menu will orbit around piri piri — or “pepper pepper” — chicken in quarter-, half-, or whole birds, along with items like a pork loin, Mediterranean side dishes, lots of local beer and wine, and a wealth of spicy and garlicky sauces. It’s counter service, with nearly everything at or below the $15 threshold.
The restaurant scene on Valencia Street, as we’ve noted many times recently, is languishing badly, so it’s well-nigh time for some fresh blood. If you’ve ever had Uma Casa’s malagueta pepper sauce or the bacalhau gomes de sá, you know the heat is on.
Piri Pica, 590 Valencia St., piripica.com