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River House, 17 Museum St, York, YO1 7DJ. Tel: +44 1904 672 904

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      11.11.2009 15:21
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      Well run branch of national chain, lovely setting - try to sit next overlooking the river

      Pizza Express is a chain of restaurants with branches all over the country. The chain began with the first restaurant in London in 1965. They have a large range of pizzas as you would expect but also serve lovely, substantial salads and pasta dishes. There is a limited range of deserts and a children's menu. Although the menu is always the same throughout the chain the premises can vary greatly and are always individually furnished and decorated.

      York has two branches of Pizza Express. This one is opposite the museum gardens and looks straight out on to the River Ouse. The grade I listed building has a grand appearance from the outside with huge stone pillars either side of the entrance. Inside you are met with a waiting area with bar stools and comfortable leather chairs and tables. Immedately next to this is the drinks serving area and a small number of dining tables. The main eating area is through to the right and consists of a couple of rooms with windows looking out on to the river and very, VERY high ceilings.

      There is a narrow balcony on the river side with a handful of tables - great for a hot day so needless to say, I have never sat here!

      The building has recently been refurbished giving a much cleaner modern look. In the process some of the original features have been lost whch is a shame and personally I preferred the decor to be more inkeeping with the building (photo above shows how it used to look).

      The dining tables placed in the entrance room are also a new addition. This allows the restaurant to seat more diners, but I would not like to be sat in this part - with waiting diners on one side of you, and staff preparing drinks on the other. It gets quite a lot of foot traffic in this part.

      I have lost count of the number of times I have visited this branch but staff have always been very friendly. It is never a long lingering evening at Pizza Express - it does exactly what it says on the tin with a quick turnaround, although I never feel rushed.

      I find the quality of food consistent throughout the chain, and this branch is no exception. The dough balls are to die for and at only £2.15, I can't resist these. Pizzas are between £8 and £10 and very filling.

      A full version of the menu, which changes seasonally, can be found at www.pizzaexpress.com.

      Opening Hours:
      7 days a week 11.30 am - 11.00 pm

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