“ 10 St. Sampsons Sq, York. Tel:+44 1904 630 930 „
This review is for the Pizza Express at St Sampsons Square in York, in Yorkshire. This isn't the only Pizza Express in the city, there are two others, one situated at River House and the other on St Nicholas Avenue.
St Sampsons Square is situated between Petergate and Parliament Square in York, just off Swinegate. It is quite close distance wise to the River House branch on Lendal Bridge, which has superb views over the river, and is my personal favourite of the various branches in the city. The St Sampsons Square branch has a modern design, covers two floors and also has an outside eating area.
The restaurant is open throughout the day, seven days a week. The opening times stay the same each day, opening at 11.30am and closing at 11pm. It's worth keeping an eye on the company's main web-site, at www.pizzaexpress.com, as there are sometimes special offers which are worth knowing about.
Pizza Express in my view constantly serves up good quality pizzas, and this is the case in this restaurant. There is a good range of pizzas available, my favourite being the very hot Etna pizza, which I have on a Romano base, which makes the pizza 14 inches and definitely a filling meal. There is though the usual mix of toppings, whether you want vegetarian, spicy hot, or you can of course just have a simple margherita.
I noticed on the latest visit that they now have leggera pizzas, which are a healthier and lighter option. Although not to my taste, they seem a good idea as they replace the central dough elements with salad to ensure that your total calorie count is lowered. Each of these pizzas is designed to be around 500 calories, so definitely a lighter and healthier option.
The prices aren't too bad, and there are often promotions and discounts available. The pizzas tend to cost around eight to ten pounds, a little less for margheritas and a little more for the expensive toppings. This isn't too bad, and as the portion sizes are reasonable, it's actually not much more than the rather more greasy Pizza Hut offerings.
Drinks prices are a little more expensive, with J20s being around 2.60 pounds and a large Peroni is a rather expensive 5.95 pounds. There is though a wide range of wines available, which start from moderate prices, and tap water is available on request.
I don't normally have desserts, but these are available if you are still hungry. There is a range of gelatos and more traditional desserts such as profiteroles, tiramisu and chocolate fudge cakes. There is also a range of coffees for after the meal, and you can buy small desserts to go with the coffee at reasonable prices.
The staff in this branch of the chain are polite and attentive, and I've never had any trouble. The food has always been served quickly and at the right temperature. It is also easy to attract the attention of the staff if you need anything or are ready to pay the bill.
Overall, this is a good restaurant, in an area where Pizza Express clearly do well to justify three branches. It's not the restaurant with the best view, but the food is good and it's a central location for the city centre. Definitely recommended.
Pizza Express is a chain of restaurants with braches nationwide. I am a big fan of the chain and visit often. I always find the food to be of a consistent high quality and this particular restaurant is no exception.
The Pizza Express menu consists mainly of pizzas (you don't say!), all priced under £10. Main course pasta dishes and substantial salads are also available. A new addition is a pizza with a hole in the centre filled with a green salad. Perfect for the smaller appetite.
Starters are mainly under £4, my favourite being the garlic dough balls at just £2.45 - to die for!
Desserts are under £5 although to be honest it is rare for me to have one. As someone with a sweet tooth this is saying something, but after dough balls and a pizza I am stuffed! The ice cream is delightful though, and a lovely light way to finish the meal. I can highly recommend the lemon and the coffee flavours.
The full menu, which changes with the seasons, can be found at www.pizzaexpress.com.
This outlet opened in Summer 2009 and is a 5-10 minute walk from the larger and long established branch on Museum Street. The location of this new restaurant is very central being on the main shopping street.
The restaurant takes advantage of being on a pedestrian square and has an alfresco dining area. Lovely on a warm day but be warned - as it is such a busy thoroughfare you will get plenty of shoppers gawping at you!
The restaurant itself was a paint works in a former life and they have cleverly reflected this in the decor with blocks of colour made to look like a colour chart, and a large piece of art made entirely of paint tin lids.
The kitchen is open to the dining area which I think is always a good idea and also interesting to watch. Perhaps this is a good place for a first date - if its not going well you can always chat about the chef's ability to make pizza and the huge basil plants!
This is where my love of the restaurant ends I am afraid ...
It is a very small place and as such the ambience is just not there. You are very conscious of other people - made worse by the fact that too many tables are squashed into the space. It is tricky to negotiate as it is but add a pushchair and some shopping bags on the floor and it is a nightmare.
There is an upstairs but as is usual they cram everyone downstairs so they can use less staff, and to make it easier for those staff.
On my visit, on return from the toilets upstairs I had to stand on the stairs for quite a while until a customer had finished putting on her coat etc - there is not room for two people to pass at any point.
Added to this the drinks preparation area and till is very close to some tables. We sat here originally and then moved over to the opposite wall as there was too much traffic around us - a constant stream of waiting staff. Be wary of this when you are seated.
If the restaurant is busy there is no waiting area unlike it's bigger brother around the corner.
As much as I love Pizza Express I would not visit this one again. I would much rather go to the Museum Street branch which is in a nicer building, is bigger, with a better ambience. If it is busy, I would rather sit in the foyer with a drink and wait for a table than make the short walk round to this one I am afraid.