“ Prezzo provides great quality Italian food in a friendly and relaxed environment at affordable prices. We use the finest seasonal products available, many of which are imported directly from Italy. Our menu includes a wide variety of antipastic as well as pizza, pasta, risotto, grilled meats, fresh salads and frequently changing specials. „
-- About Me --
We all have a different opinion as to what is expensive, at the end of the day it is relative to our lifestyle and location. I like to feel that I have received value for money when eating out. My wife is a vegetarian so when we go out as a couple we have to keep this in mind, so many places fail to offer a good selection of vegetarian food options.
When I eat out I wouldn't dream of spending more than £60 a couple or £30 a head excluding drinks. My average spend is nearer the £20 a head mark, that will always include a starter or a desert with the main meal.
-- Location --
There is no parking unless you are disabled then you can park directly in front of the building. Prezzo Northampton is located at Unit 3 Wood Hill NN1 2DA it is what used to be the old HSBC building opposite the Market Square.
-- Ambience --
The restaurant itself is clean with a stylish and modern décor. When you first walk in through the door you have a feeling it is going to be twice more expensive to dine than it actually is. The toilets are clean and the staff are both friendly and polite.
-- Food --
For starters I had the Baked Mushrooms and my wife chose the Bruschetta. For my main course I went for the Carltoni Calzone and my wife had the Goats Cheese Al Forno and we shared a portion of fries.
For Vegetarians - There were four starters to select from EXCLUDING the salads, breads and olives. There were 6 pizzas and four other main dishes excluding various side options.
The food was exceptional and the portions were large, we were both feeling very full afterwards but as I have an extremely sweet tooth we decided to look at the desert menu.
The main desert menu is a little limited but then they are an Italian restaurant and I have never been to one yet with an extensive offering. What they do have though is a selection of mini deserts, they are smaller portions and they come with a hot drink of your choice. I had a coffee with a Chocolate Profiterole, my wife a coffee with a mini Vanilla Cheesecake.
Cost - Excluding drinks and without any discounts the total bill was £43.50
-- Summary --
Prezzo definitely has the edge over its competitors, the ideal place to take a loved one and make them feel special without costing the earth.
-- Tip --
Register online with Prezzo and you will receive a discount code at least once a fortnight. I have used them without any issues. So far I have used a buy one main course and get a second for free, buy a main course and get a desert for free and receive 25% off your entire bill excluding drinks. They are time limited, usually valid for a one week period.
Prezzo is an Italian restaurant chain owned by the prezzo restaurant group which now has over 150 restaurants in the UK. My home city of Nottingham now has two Prezzo restaurants one located on Forman Street and one on Low Pavement with both being quite centrally located in the city.
Both restaurants are very modern looking but still have quite a cosy feel to them. I am personally a fan of modern décor so find the restaurants very inviting and love the fact that you can see the chef's preparing your food in the restaurant on Forman Street.
My husband and I last visited the Prezzo on Low Pavement last month on a Monday evening. As we normally go to the Forman Street restaurant we thought we would have a change. I always convert my Tesco club card vouchers to restaurant vouchers and Prezzo is one of the restaurants which take part in this offer which allows you to change your club card vouchers for 4x the amount of restaurant vouchers. You can also often find offers for Prezzo online from the Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert. As Prezzo has promotions such as buy one get one free on a regular basis it definitely makes eating here much more appealing and great value.
When we arrived at the restaurant the matradee desk was located just inside the door. We were quickly greeted and shown to a table with the lady asking if we wanted to be near the front or the back of the restaurant, it was surprisingly busy for a Monday evening but it did look like most people were taking advantage of discount vouchers they had found online. As we were shown to the table we were also given menu's allowing us to start choosing what we wanted to eat and drink straight away. I found this really helpful as a pet hate of mine in restaurants is being left seated for a long time before anyone brings you even a drinks menu so to me this was very good service.
We were waiting only about 5 minutes before our waitress came over and took our drinks order and the drinks followed shortly after. We indicated at this time that we were in fact ready to place our food order and she quickly returned to take it. She was very pleasant and friendly and told us that if we needed anything else just to let her know.
On this occasion I opted for the Grilled Goats Cheese(£4.95), Goats cheese with plum tomatoes and caramelised onions on ciabatta bread with a balsamic glaze followed by Risotti with king prawns and oak roast salmon and petits pois in a creamy saffron sauce (11.95). My husband ordered the Mozzarella In Carrozza which is Mozzarella cheese deep-fried in breadcrumbs served with pomodoro sauce (£5.20) followed by Spicy Beef VIP pizza which is served on its on board with pizza cutter (£11.05). We also ordered drinks of one coke (330ml £2.25) and one San Pellegrion sparkling lemon drink (200ml £2.10).
Both of the starters came out together and were very well presented, we actually shared them and both were lovely and fresh tasting. The main courses followed around 10 minutes after the plates of our starters were cleared and also came out together and looked very presentable, my partner being glad that he did not order any side dishes after seeing how large his pizza was. My risotto was cooked perfectly and had a wonderful balance of flavours, they had also not scrimped on the prawns and salmon, the waitress also asked if we would like any parmesan cheese or black pepper which I opted for. My partner also enjoyed his pizza that had an even spread of topping, although it was rather spicy it was not overly powerful and it was easily possible to avoid the larger slices of chilli on the top if you needed too.
Our waitress did come over to us during our meal to check that everything was alright which it was. She also offered us the coffee and desserts menu after we had finished the main courses which we declined as we were both rather full already.
I did nip to use the toilet facilities during our meal and found them to be very clean, and filled up with plenty of toilet tissue and soap etc. There were also baby changing facilities for anyone visiting the restaurant with babies.
When I asked for the bill I presented the waitress with our Tesco vouchers which she happily accepted. The bill arrived and was all correct, I opted to pay by card and the card machine was brought over to the table to me. All in all it was a good quality meal with very good service. I can certainly recommend that you try a Prezzo restaurant if you are a fan of Italian food, they have a great selection of dishes from pizza, pasta, risotto, calzone and salads. As I stated we did not have a dessert on this occasion but have in the past and they have also been very good.
Also keep an eye out for discount vouchers by signing up to Prezzo's newsletter on their website.
Normally when out and about and going for Italian, I like to go to Ask if looking for pizza/pasta places but thought for a change that when out over the weekend, my boyfriend and I would go to Prezzo in Kingston instead. We had tried to go before but told there was a 40 min wait one Saturday night so went elsewhere in the end. This time, we went straight in.
The waitress was very friendly, introduced herself and came and checked on us a couple of times whilst we were eating and was generally very smiley. We got a table though it was relatively busy.
The menu was reasonably varied, pizzas, pastas, grills, salads, light bites and so on. I thought I would try something I hadn't tried before and picked Chicken Ravioli. My boyfriend ordered a margherita pizza.
The food was brought to us relatively quickly, within about 20 minutes I would say. However, I was quite surprised to see that there wasn't that much to my meal, about 9 raviolli, I expected a bit more, it looked very pretty on the plate but I prefer a good meal to a work of art when I go out to eat. It tasted fine I admit, though there was only a very thin layer of chicken in the past. This was accompanied by some bacon and a few peas so it looked pretty I admit.
My boyfriend did not want all his pizzas so in the interest of comparing to other margerita pizzas, I had a small slice from his plate. I have to say it was really bad, the first mouth I took, I thought, this is not nice and the second confirmed it so I eat no more, the cheese was just so awfully plastic it made the whole pizza taste horrid, it's the sort of taste I would expect from a £1 pizza from a budget supermarket.
We didn't feel like dessert so asked for the bill. When I presented a Second Dish for £1 voucher, the man gave me a bit of annoyed look so that wasn't the nicest.
Overally, not overly impressed, might go there again for variety in the future but not one that is going on my favourites list.
Prezzo is a big chain restaurant specialising in Italian food and branches can be found up and down the country.
Similar to ASK and Zizzi, their restaurants have a nice informal feel whilst being in beautiful buildings with very stylish contemporary design.
The menu is very diverse - there is the standard anti-pasti and starters, pizza and pasts dishes as well as in some branches rotisserie chicken, which is good if you are dining out with someone like my Dad who thinks that pasta and pizza is foreign but can just about cope with the idea of eating chicken and chips!
There is normally a bar area where you are asked to wait for a table when the restaurant is busy and then a large dining area.
I've found that unlike their rivals ASK, the food can be a bit hit and miss depending on what branch you happen to be in but it is generally good.
My favourite dish is a pasta dish called Penne Con Salmone, which has oak smoked salmon and broccoli in a cream based sauce that has chilli in it - it is lovely, and just thinking about it now is making me hungry!
They also do a lovely garlic bread with balsamic glazed onions which is also very nice as a starter.
I don't think I have had room for dessert on most occasions that I have visited Prezzo but I have had the honeycomb smash cheesecake one or twice and i'd really recommend that!
A main course is about £9.00 so about the same as ASK or Zizzi, but you can normally find a voucher online to use most days (Saturday and sometimes Fridays being the only exceptions) to get 2for1 on main courses which is really good.
If you want good Italian food in a relaxed setting, Prezzo will do the job. Although if there is an ASK nearby, I think they just have the edge!
I was first introduced to Prezzo's when discussing where to go for a meal to celebrate my birthday. A couple of my friend's mentioned how good the Prezzo's in a town not far away from us , in Oswestry was , and so I took there word for it and went for it and fifteen of us had a lovely meal there . I enjoyed the experience so much that my friend and I went there again last week. I am going to base my review on my latest visit to the restaurant , which was last week.
First of all , for those of you who don't know ; Prezzo's is a chain of Italian restaurants in the United Kingdom. In fact , there are a total of one hundred and forty Prezzo's restaurants in this country ; the first which opened in 2000.
The restaurant we went to , used to be an old 'Toymasters' store". The restaurant is very "long" and is as though it is in three seperate sections ; the first section by the door contains some tables , as well as sofa (where you can wait by the bar before being seated ) and then a kind of middle section where you can dine , as well as 'the far end' section where you can also dine. We were sat at the back of the restaurant , and it is here , where you can see the chefs cooking. The way that you can see the chefs cooking behind a kind of bar/counter , reminds me of 'Little Chef' although more formal of course.
The restaurant itself , seems formal , yet informal at the same time. We were sat , a table or two , very near to other customers ; we had tables of two either side of us , and it didn't feel very private , because as we were talking , we could see the customers by us , looking at us and listening and so would have preferred a quieter table. Although , the restaurant was very busy on the night that we went , and working in a restaurant myself , I understand that at busy times sometimes in order to acommodate everyone , it's necessary to 'squash' a lot of tables.
* Food *
At Prezzos , there is so much choice! There are around ten choices per each course , so there is plenty to choose from. For starters , you could choose from soup , stuffed mushrooms , Goats Cheese , or items such as king prawns or chicken wings. For mains , there was loads more to choose from ; lots of pasta dishes , pizzas , risotto and steaks.
I love pizzas and pasta dishes , so I was confident that there was going to be something that I would like on the menu. Every time I go to a restaurant , I always go for the pasta dish , and so in Prezzo's , I had a slight dilemma ; which pasta dish to go for ; as they all sound so delicious. I am vegetarian , but there is so much choice ; pasta wise , there are meaty ones and no-meaty ones , so everyone's a winner.
For starters I had , "Baked Mushrooms stuffed with grana padano cheese , garlic , carmelised onions , mushrooms and breadcrumbs - £4.95. It consisted of six medium (not the baby ones , and not the large ones , the middle sized ones) sized mushrooms stuffed with cheese along with a delicious creamy garlic dip , as well as a rocket salad. To begin with , I really loved the mushrooms ,but after I had eaten three of them , I found that they became a little sickly , and so for this reason , although I thought it was great , that you had quite a lot for what you paid for , I think around three mushrooms would have done the job fine. I really liked the garlic dip ; it was delicious and complimented the mushrooms really well.
For main course I had a pasta dish ; "Fusilli Al Pesto - Asparagus spears , field mushrooms , roasted peppers in a basil pesto sauce - £7.95. Again , a very generous portion which is great if you have a large appetite. I really enjoyed this ; the pasta was a perfect texture and I loved how all the ingredients went to well together and how there was so many delicious tastes ; from the pasta sauce , to the asparagus to the peppers. The only thing was that I couldn't eat all of it , as I was still quite full from the starter. I also had some home-cooked fries , which were so tasty ; so moreish!
We were too full to have a desert ; not like us at all! I have always got to have a desert no matter what , but this time I had been beaten! There was a great selection of sweets available from sticky toffee pudding , to milk chocolate fudge cake and ice creams! Perhaps next time I wouldn't have a starter , but would have desert instead.
* Service *
Considering the restaurant was so busy , we had a great service , even if we did have around twenty five minutes to half an hour wait for our mains , although you could see that the chefs were working very hard and so we didn't mind waiting. I like the fact that you can see the chefs preparing the food ; it makes the dining experience seem more 'real' if that makes sense. The staff were efficient , friendly and professional , which again added to the experience.
* The Bill *
Luckily , my friend who is a regular Prezzo's customer , and loves a bargain , had printed a voucher off the Prezzo website. The voucher entitled us to ; buy one main course get another for £1 , which I thought was fantastic , and so we got the cheapest main course (which was mine), for £1 , although , we split the bill. Together we had two starters , two main courses and four cokes between us and came to a total of just over £31 , which I thought , "wow! that's a lot!" but then , after I thought actually that's not that much at around £15 each! So all in all , well worth the money.
I would definately recommend Prezzo's to everyone! If you love Pasta and Pizza then you will love this place! I think next time , I might try a pizza for a change! It's also not to expensive which is great if you're on a budget! Look out for any special offers on their website!
Thanks for reading!
July 23rd 2010
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted on ciao under xdonzx)
Ever since having my daughter over a year ago, I have been dying for the opportunity to go out for a meal, just me and my hubby, like the good old days and I finally had my chance last night.
As you can imagine I probably would have been grateful to eat anything, or go anywhere, but luckily I didn't have to as we had a reservation for dinner at the East Grinstead branch of Prezzo.
Prezzo is a chain of Italian restaurants with several branches across the UK, and it prides itself on producing authentic pizzas, pasta, fish and meat dishes.
I have eaten there several times over the years and have never been disappointed, however I appreciated the experience so much more yesterday since it is now a rare treat to get out without our lovely baby in tow.
On first impressions, Prezzo in East Grinstead is a very classy looking restaurant. It is housed in a gorgeous, grand building in the historic end of the high street, and has lovely floor to ceiling windows which are always opened on a balmy summer evening like last night.
The interior is minimalist, set on two levels with smart leather look chairs and simple yet modern furnishings. The kitchen is open so you can see the chefs preparing the food.
I have never eaten in another branch of Prezzo but there are quite a few in our wider area, and a lot of them are housed in beautiful, historic buildings which adds to the ambience.
Prezzo gets very busy, yet the staff are excellent and have the got the right balance between being attentive, but not overbearing. They are polite, friendly and professional.
The menu is extensive which can make choosing difficult as there is a lot of choice and everything looks so nice. It is divided into sections as follows; bread and olives, starters, pasta, al forno, risotto, grills, pizza, salads and side orders.
There is a separate drinks and dessert menu and a children's menu is also available.
As we never get out these days, we decided to go all out and have three courses so I opted for garlic bread with mozzerella, spaghetti carbonara and raspberry panna cotta.
My husband went for crab cakes, tiger prawn risotto and toffee and banana cheesecake.
The portions were generous and the food delicious. Words can't describe how much we both enjoyed this meal, and savoured every tasty morsel. It arrived quickly and was very fresh and piping hot where applicable.
Price wise, Prezzo is competitive. A main course ranges from around £6 - £12, and a three course meal for two, with soft drinks cost £50, which I think is fairly average.
There are also good deals available which can be found on the website or via google. These include the current special offer which is a a starter, main course and rink from the set menu for just £10. The set menu is quite good and includes a nice selections and we almost availed of this offer as like most people, money is tight these days.
I will definately be going back to this fantastic restaurant the next time I can bribe someone to babysit my child!
This review is about the Prezzo in East Grinstead.
Prezzo Serves Italian food such as pizza, pasta and risotto.
You can also enjoy favorites like chargrilled chicken or a simple salad.
This prezzo has a contemporary feel. Its no the done up and is a nice place to eat weather the occasion be a birthday or just nothing in the freeer.
The staff are always quick to see you and seat you, but i would recommend a reservation as there ALWAYS full. The staff are always polite and smiling, and that its self makes the experience a lot more enjoyable.
I think the longest ive waited for my meal here is roughly 15minutes. Thats amazing considering my local mc donalds often takes longer.
I signed up to the monthly prezzo offers. They bring out a £10 meal deal each month where you get a starter, main and drink for only £10! Only problem is you get a set menu so if you dont like anything on there you can use the offer. They also have another offer where with every main meal you order you get another for just £1. This is on every main meal so theres something for everyone.
The menu is amazing for the quality of the food. Pizzas start from around £6.75 and go upto about £9.75. This is great considering all food is freshly cooked.
The menu is a perfect size. I can stand it in places where the menu is so big you cant decide. They have a bread and olive section, starter, pasta, al forno, risotto, grills, pizza, salad and side order. Each section is not huge and has about 10 items. They have a separate wine menu and separate desert menu. Other drinks can be found of the back of the main menu. They also have a separate childrens menu.
Ive never experienced any problems here. Everything is perfect and of high quality.
Last night I did something that I never do I left a tip! I was really happy to leave a tip as well as I couldn't fault a thing (well only really daft things!) so let me share my experience of Prezzo Oxford.
Prezzo is an Italian chain of restaurants that's ethos is to serve great value Italian food in stylish and contemporary surroundings.
They offer a wide selection of Pasta's Chicken Dishes, Pizza's, Risottos and salad's
(Prezzo in Italian means Cost)
The restaurant I am reviewing is Prezzo Oxford located in the Oxford Castle Complex at number 2 Oxford Complex and is a contempory modern building.
Oxford Castle complex is located a short walk from the Westgate Car Park or if you are a Disabled badge holder there is parking right outside the complex.
There are as you would expect of a major city excellent bus services from outlying towns and villages mostly run by Thames Travel.
I have looked at their website and Prezzo does seem to have Restaurants in most of the country to check your area go to www.loveprezzo.co.uk .
You can book via the website however I am a bit of a techno phobic so used the old fashioned way of telephoning plus I wanted to check they were not Child phobic! I am glad that we booked as the restaurant was almost full for the 2 hours we were there only 1 table for two at one point!
I am notorious for not finding much to suit as a vegetarian often only finding one or two items our difficulty was in narrowing down our options!
We chose Mushroom Arancini which was Crispy Risotto balls filled with field mushrooms and Mozzarella with a tomato and chilli dip. He choose Tiger Prawns cooked in a tomato chilli and spinach sauce served with focaccia which eventually he stated was delicious!
I thought that all the starters sounded lovely and there was a good selection from Crab Cakes to Minestrone soup and no less than five vegetarian options! All priced between £4.65 and £5.50.
After another lengthy struggle we managed to decide on Penne con Buffalo which was penne pasta with mozzarella roasted cherry tomatoes onions garlic and basil in a tomato sauce and which was intense in flavours with a beautiful velvety sauce. (£7.50)
My Husband went for Pollo Carbonara(£9.50) and again until he had eaten about half not a murmour was heard!
We also order a mixed salad which was beautifully presented and contained Tomatoes, mixed leaves, cucumber, red onion, olives and peppers.(£3.50) Plus we also had Garlic Bread with cheese.(£3.20)
I mentioned the children earlier well I have to admit this is what impressed me the most they got for £4.95 a starter of either Garlic bread or Garlic bread with cheese which was the same size as a normal portion which costs £3.20! They also have the choice from Children's Pizza, Spaghetti with meatballs, penne or spaghetti with tomato, Bolognese or carbonara sauce or oven roasted Chicken wings. Followed by a scoop of ice-cream and including a glass of squash!
Both my girls choose Pizza the eldest had a margherita and the youngest pepperoni when they arrived I was gobsmacked at the size of these (a normal dinner plate) and as is every parents duty we tried a piece and the pizza was delicious a really lovely thin base which tasted as if it had been cooked in a proper Pizza oven I was also amazed as the children pronounced them delicious and after the eldest had said it was too much managed to eat all bar two slices!
Desert Well the menu looked great indeed with my favourite chocolate fudge cake but as he wouldn't share and I was really full it had to be abandoned , however the children's Ice cream was a good quality one with pieces of chocolate / strawberry in.
I felt that the portion sizes were very generous and that the value was excellent we also added two cokes to our order at a cost of £2.20 plus two glasses of wine at £3.95 and £3.75 Drinks were the most pricey aspect of the meal however having looked at other places they were fairly standard. In total or bill came to £56.15 for the four of us which I feel for good quality food and dining experience was excellent even better was that I paid in Tesco club card vouchers so I only had to pay for the drinks!
.................Overall presentation and dining experience..............
Well as mentioned We were dining with children and often although this supposedly acceptable it isn't really here the children were treated with respect asked for their opinion and were listened to a really nice change and led to a relaxed dining experience for my husband and I! I would have to say that although this is a chain it felt like a family run place we spent a hour and a half in the restaurant the service was good the food was great it was prompt but not hassled and although very busy it didn't feel that way indeed I noticed that all conversation ceased when food arrived!
Yes yes yes it was great experience and if you go to their website they have a deal for £10 which is a starter, main and a drink which sounds excellent value, or if you have any club card vouchers then exchange them for Prezzo vouchers every £2.50 equals £10.00 and if you buy a bottle of wine at £15.00 still a great deal. My family cannot wait to go again we have even chosen what we are having!
I cannot even think of any bad points which is really unlike me so give it a try.
Prezzo is a popular place for me and hubby to eat out as it is relatively cheap (you can also get some great voucher offers online if you have a look, such as two main courses for the price of one, or dine for £10), and the food (while not haute cuisine) is of decent reliable quality. We mainly use the Weymouth restaurant and the service in there is generally excellent with the staff actually remembering us and what we have to drink even though we are not what I would consider regulars! The Prezzo restaurants I have been in also appear to be very well designed and contemporary.
The menu is Italian of origin and includes pasta, pizza, oven baked dishes, salads and even burger and chips (!) for those who are not big italian food fans. The desserts are generally average, consisting mainly of cheesecake and ice cream dishes (although the hazelnut cheesecake is a winner), gone are the tiramisu and crumble dishes which were an old favourite of mine. The wine list is fairly average and could be better, with the prices fairly expensive as is often the case in restaurants such as this.
My boyfriend and I have always wanted to try Prezzo but we always go to the less expensive restraunts as we dont have much money but I managed to save my Tesco club card vouchers which you can quadruple so I managed to have £50 in vouchers and we love it, we have recently saved another £50 in vouchers and went straight to Prezzo again.
The Prezzo near me is situated in an old building. As soon as you walk in you are greeted by friendly staff who always have a smile on their face. They will check you will and then there is a board with the special of the day which they will show you.
The restraunt looks very nice and clean inside. They bring the menus to your table and offers you a drink. They have a great range of Pasts and Pizzas to suit all tastes. At first we thought they will be small portions but they are actually quite big. They have lovely starters, I recommend the stuffed mushroom. For deserts my boyfriend loves the chocolate cake and I love the honey cone cheese cake. They use frsh quality ingredients and cooked to perfection.
The last two times we have been, we have been seated near the door so when ever someone comes in, it makes a draft and becomes cold. The frinks can be expensive aswel as we get a coke which costs £2.20 for one of those small glass bottles.
I would suggest that you ring up and book a table first because the first time we tried going we rang up and they were fully booked so we had to arrange another day and then the second time we managed to ring a get booked in straight away but when we was in the restraunt eating, lots of people entered and got turned away because they were fully booked.
In conclusion, Prezzo is a great restraunt with friendly staff and delicious food and would strongly recommend it.
Put simply, I love Prezzo. The food is always delicious and I have never once been even slightly disappointed. There is a large range of great Italian dishes and there is plenty of choice for vegetarians. Whether it be pizza, pasta or risotto that you fancy, you won't be struggling for options. The same goes for starters and puds, there is a great variety that will leave you 'umming' and 'ahhing' and wanting more than one of each. The portion sizes are generous but not so large that you will be too stuffed to manage three courses.
I always feel really comfortable in Prezzo as well. The atmosphere is nice and relaxed but a little more formal than some of the other high street chains, which can make it feel a bit more special for a particular occasion.
In my experience they are also really good at dealing with large groups. Whereas some restaurants seem to take forever to serve larger parties, Prezzo never seems to be particularly fazed. However they do sometimes require a deposit for these larger bookings.
Overall Prezzo is a lovely dining experience that I always enjoy and the food is delicious.
Recently my boyfriend and I decided to spend our Tesco vouchers on a nice meal out. Looking at the restaurant options on the Tesco website, we decided to go for Italian chain restaurant Prezzo as we'd always liked the look of our nearest branch and thought we'd try it out.
The branch we visited is in Thame in Oxfordshire. From the outside it looks very smart, and as you walk in it has a pleasant atmosphere with nice lighting and well-spaced tables. We visited on a Thursday evening and it was quite full with a low buzz of conversation. I can't remember if there was any background music playing, so if there was it can't have been intrusive.
At first glance the restaurant seemed quite small, but then we were led upstairs to find there was another floor with plenty of tables and with just as nice an atmosphere as downstairs. We were taken to a table on a sort of narrow balcony that looked down onto the floor below, which seemed nice until we noticed that right next to us was a small area where drinks and a till were located, meaning the waiters were always coming and going right next to to our table, which didn't seem very private.
First we ordered out drinks, which seemed quite expensive at £2.10 for a soft drink, and which turned up in a disappointingly small glass. After that we just ordered tap water to drink.
Looking at the menu, there is plenty of choice and it all sounds very tasty. It took us both a while to choose what to have as we were tempted by several different things. It is very well laid out with good descriptions of the different dishes.
First there is a selection of bread and olives to choose from, followed by starters including baked mushrooms, bruschetta, deep-fried mozzarella, and calamari. Starters cost around £5 each.
Main courses are divided into pasta, al forno, risotti, grills, pizza and salads. Depending on the branch, there is also a section of either roast chicken, or calzone (folded pizza). The Thame branch has calzone. Prices of a main meal are around £7-£11. There is also a small dessert menu.
We chose to share some Pane con cipolla, which is garlic pizza bread with caramelised balsamic onions and mozzarella. This was nice enough but nothing special, and didn't seem to have much mozzarella on it.
For my starter, I chose tiger prawns in tomato sauce with garlic, chilli and spinach, served with focaccia bread. When the starter arrived, I was a little disappointed by the very small amount of bread with it, but the prawns looked fresh and juicy, and there were a reasonable number of them. They turned out to have a lovely texture, however I couldn't taste them at all as they were so overpowered by the chilli in the sauce. I didn't think it was a suitable combination at all and it seemed such a waste not to be able to taste what looked like very nice prawns.
My boyfriend chose chicken with pesto on focaccia bread, which he said was quite nice but not something he'd want again.
For my main course, I chose a pasta dish with chicken pieces in a saffron sauce, & my partner chose an al forno dish: chicken carbonara. The dishes arrived looking appetising and the ingredients looked fresh and well-cooked. Unfortunately neither of us managed to eat more than half of our main course as they both tasted very bland, and after a while the taste began to be a bit sickly & unpleasant. Despite the fresh-looking ingredients, the tastes all seemed to blend into one bland flavour, as if the dishes had been microwaved.
I wouldn't be very keen on going to Prezzo again after this experience, however I imagine their pizzas would perhaps be slightly tastier, as in my experience chain restaurants are much better at producing nice pizzas than tasty pasta dishes. In fact, I normally avoid pasta when eating out due to several experiences of not enjoying it, but Prezzo lulled me into a false sense of security with its up-market atmosphere and fancy-sounding menu.
I am giving Prezzo two stars based on the pleasant atmosphere and good service, and the assumption that some of the food on the menu must be more pleasant than what we chose!
Money Saving Expert once again came up trumps on our recent trawl to find someone new to dine out. Having tried Ask last year (and coming away replete but not exactly over-whelmed with the menu), this time it was the turn of Prezzo, another high street Italian chain. Like Ask, Pizza Express, Strada, Zizzi et al, Prezzo offer informal Italian themed dining in contemporary and stylish looking outlets. Prezzo have around 140 different city centre outlets dotted throughout the UK, many of which are located in listed buildings or places of historic interest. For example, the restaurant in Chichester (where we dined) is located in an old city centre pub with loads of traditional wooden beams and stained glass windows.
Prezzo offer a broad range of Italian dishes including pizza, pasta, risotto and salads. Their emphasis is on using fresh seasonal ingredients, some of which they import direct from Italy. So how did Prezzo measure up in comparison to Ask, Zizzi and Pizza Express? Read on and find out.....
~*~ DÉCOR & AMBIANCE ~*~
Just like Ask, Prezzo outlets tend to be located in historical or unusual looking buildings. This is certainly the case for the Chichester restaurant, which is located in an old pub called The White Horse. I can't honestly ever remember either drinking (or dining) in there when it was a pub, despite having lived in the Chichester area for the last 20 odd years. Therefore I cannot accurately comment on what sort of transformation Prezzo have wrought on the décor since their arrival. However, Prezzo have done a good job of using the period features of the building such as the ancient beams and stained glass windows to enhance the décor. Indeed, clever lighting with spotlights on the beams made the place feel fresh and contemporary, and married the ancient with the modern very nicely. It was a Thursday evening when we dined there, and the restaurant was extremely busy - almost full I'd say. The welcome we received was positive and friendly and we were seated quickly and efficiently, but sadly not at the best table in the house (more on that later).....
~*~ MENU ~*~
Prezzo offer traditional Italian cuisine with a good range of antipasti, pasta, pizza and risottos on offer. Some Prezzo outlets offer Pollo Arrosto (rotisserie roasted chicken), and others offer Calzone (which is basically a folded pizza baked in the oven, topped with garlic butter and melted cheese and containing some kind of filling) instead. I think it depends on whether your particular outlet has the room to install the Calzone ovens. There is no Calzone option at the Chichester outlet, only the roast chicken option. However, if your nearest venue is without Calzone oven, worry not, the menu is extensive enough without, and there is a nice amount of choice for each course.
Antipasti /starters offer old favourites like Minestrone Soup, Bruschetta (baked focaccia bread with various toppings) or Garlic Bread. More interesting options I liked the look of were Gamberoni Piccante (tiger prawns marinated in garlic and chilli served with spinach and a tomato based sauce) and a particular favourite of mine Calamari Fritti (deep fried squid with a lime and dill dip). Starter prices range from cheapie garlic bread at £2.55 up to around the £5.00 mark for prawns.
Main courses offer a mind boggling array of choice - not only the usual suspects of pizza, pasta and risotto, but house specialities such as Crab Cakes, Red Pesto and Mozzarella Burgers or a range of interesting sounding Insalates (salads). All the pizzas are freshly baked in a stone oven on the premises and there are 10-12 to choose from. There are old favourites such Margherita, Quattro Formaggi and Tropicana, as well as more intriguing options such as Vesuvio (double pepperoni and red chillis). Pizza prices tend to range between the £6.00 to £9.00 mark.
If pasta is more to your liking, then Prezzo do the usual Spaghetti Bolognese, Lasagne, or Spaghetti Carbonara, as well are more exotic options involving ingredients like asparagus, tiger prawns, oak roasted salmon or pancetta bacon. Prezzo offer a choice of 15-20 different pasta based dishes, so something to tempt everyone. Pasta prices range from £6.00 to £9.00 per dish. Lighter meals are served in the form of risotto or insalate. In addition to all these menu options, there is a daily specials "blackboard" as well.
The dessert option is fairly limited but not less mouth watering because of it. It's not particularly Italian sounding, despite a nod in the direction of a Vanilla Pannacotta. Other options are chocolate fudge cake, sticky toffee pudding or cheesecake. Dessert prices are a fairly hefty £4.00 to £5.00 each.
~*~ OUR MEAL ~*~
Thanks to Money Saving Expert, we were in possession of a couple of vouchers offering us a two course menu plus drink for £10.00 per person. This appeared to be a very good deal indeed, so we decided to give Prezzo a whirl.
Basically we had a small array of four starters to choose from, followed by a larger selection of 10 or so main courses. This was accompanied by either a glass of house wine, a bottle of Peroni beer or a soft drink. If we decided to have the same sort of menu it would normally cost around £15-£18, so we were, of course, keen to try it at £10.
For starters, there was a choice of either Garlic Bread, Bruschetta, Mozzarella Garlic Bread or Mozzarella in Carrozza. I plumped for the Mozzarella in Carrozza, which was Mozzarella deep fried in breadcrumbs and served with Pomodoro sauce. I had no idea what Pomodoro sauce was, but it sounded interesting so I gave it a whirl. The dish was actually two large crescent shaped breadcrumb coated parcels of mozzarella - a much bigger portion than I was expecting, and rather generous. The Pomodoro sauce in question was a mild tomato based sauce - fairly meek in flavour. Mozzarella is a rather bland tasting cheese, and the Pomodoro sauce needed to be a little more adventurous. In my opinion it needed some fire in its belly - adding some tarragon, chilis, garlic or black pepper may have added some life to it. My partner chose the Bruschetta, which was foccacia bread with a topping of tomato, basil, red onion and garlic. The Bruschetta was nicely crunchy, but lifted from being just a boring large crouton but the addition of a tasty layer of tomato and herby flavoured sauce.
For the main courses, there was a little more choice on offer, and this took some careful consideration before we made our final choices. There were four different pizzas, four different pasta dishes, one salad and a vegetarian option to choose from - so something for everyone. I was tempted by the Fusilli con Polpette (meatballs and mushrooms in a garlic and tomato sauce finished off with rosemary), but decided to be a little more adventurous after my rather bland starter. I plumped for a Pizza Vesuvio (double pepperoni and red chillis), as I adore pepperoni. I was a little worried about how much chilli would be included on the pizza, as too much can spoil a meal in seconds for me. There were a couple of "safer" options - namely Spaghetti Bolognese and Spaghetti Carbonara and my partner chose the Spaghetti Carbonara, and a good and generous portion was served. The spaghetti was nicely al dente and served with a suitably generous amount of pancetta bacon and creamy sauce. The waitress grated a large quantity of extremely tasty parmesan onto it, which made it nicely cheesy. My Pizza Vesuvio was also a very good sized portion. I was able to locate and remove a lot of the chili from it, as there was rather too much to make it "safe" to eat. I was offered additional chili oil on my pizza by the waitress, but declined this offer, as I felt the level of spiciness was more than sufficient. The pepperoni slices were a little small for my liking, but there were a good quantity sprinkled over the pizza. The edges of the pizza were nicely crispy and centre doughier. On the whole we were impressed with our main courses - the portions were a lot more generous than those served at Ask.
There were no desserts offered on the £10.00 menu, but that really didn't matter as we were full from the starters and main courses. We were offered desserts and coffee, but declined both. However, if I ever return I think I could easily be tempted their Hazelnut Bombe (meringue with vanilla ice-cream and hazelnuts).
~*~ DRINKS ~*~
Prezzo offer a full selection of both soft and alcoholic beverages, a lot of which, not surprisingly, have an Italian origination. From the wine menu you can have Frascati or Chianti as well as choices from other wine producing countries. Beer wise you're limited to bottled Peroni lager - on offer at a wincingly expensive £3.25 for a 33cl bottle (or £5.95 for 66cl bottle). Our menu price included two drinks, so we ordered two bottles of Peroni, and then paid extra for a soft drink for me. A bit sneaky on our part, but a bottle of lager costs £3.25, and my soft drink was only £1.95. We decided against coffees, but they are priced rather reasonably under £2.00, so worth noting for future visits.
~*~ SERVICE ~*~
The service was extremely attentive and very friendly. We were offered generous portions of freshly grated parmesan with main courses - both of which are a welcome touch. Our waitress stopped by several times to check our meals were to our liking, and we were offered further drinks several times. Despite being on the cheapie menu, we were never made to feel like cheapskates or second class citizens like some restaurants do. There was a mix-up with my starter, and I was served with a Mozzarella Garlic Bread instead of the Mozzarella in Carrozza that I'd ordered. Once this was pointed out to the waiting staff, they were profuse with their apologies and a replacement quickly sought and served.
However, the table we were seated at was certainly not the best seat in the house, and I think that in showing our discount vouchers to the member of staff who seated us, we sealed our fate. That said, you can't blame them. They're going to put their full price paying customers on the better tables, and the discount ones in their equivalent of Siberia. The table we were seated at was in a narrow corridor with 3 or 4 other small tables directly leading off from the kitchen. The noise of the crockery and cutlery (not to mention shouty chefs!) was a little loud at times, and the corridor a constant hive of activity through waiting staff collecting hot dishes or returning empty plates to the kitchen. Added to which, the 3 or 4 tables in the corridor were quite close together and therefore quiet conversation was a little strained at times. Definitely not the table for a romantic meal à deux anyhow! If I return to Prezzo for another meal, I shall definitely be in favour of dining towards the front of the restaurant rather than the back (or upstairs).
~*~ RECOMMENDATION? ~*~
Our bill came to an extremely reasonable £21.95 to which we added a tip. I consider £21.00 for a pair of two-course dinners and drinks to be a rather good deal. That said, I don't know if the food was impressive enough to want to make a return visit and pay full price. Don't get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with it - it was all certainly tasty enough and generous of portion. Given a choice between Ask, Prezzo or Pizza Express, then I'd definitely choose Prezzo. The portions at Prezzo are a lot more generous than Ask, and the ambiance a lot more "grown up" and welcoming than Pizza Express. However, I just find that the majority of chain based Italian restaurants lack a certain je ne sais quoi (or whatever the equivalent is in Italian...). The menus make all the right noises, but the food lacks the wow factor. Maybe I'll return and try out the freshly roasted chicken at Prezzo one of these days, as that does sound rather nice. In my opinion, if you're dining on the high street, you'd have to go a long way to beat the food at Café Rouge, The Slug and Lettuce or Nando's in comparison.
Three stars from me; good portions, attentive service, but slightly let down by rather bland food and a table located in the wilderness (but without the matching solitude and tranquillity).
~*~ OTHER STUFF ~*~
Prezzo is owned and operated by Prezzo Plc, and they also run ChimiChanga (Mexican food), Jonathan's, The Ultimate Burger, Meat Packers New York Grill and iMMo Café outlets.
8 Johnston Road
Telephone No: 0845 602 3257
Website: http://www.loveprezzo.co.uk/ or www.prezzoplc.co.uk
The full menu can be found at the website above and there is also a restaurant search facility.
- All major credit cards are accepted
- Disabled access is good at the Chichester outlet, but there is a slight step down into the ladies toilets (these are located at the back of the venue, and were clean and tidy when briefly inspected).
- The emphasis in any Prezzo is on laid back, casual dining, so the dress code is relaxed and informal.
If you're fond of dining out do have a look at www.moneysavingexpert.com (http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/cheap-restaurant-deals) before you make your plans. There are often discount vouchers on offer (current deals are available at Zizzi, Ha Ha, The Slug & Lettuce, La Tasca, Prezzo and many others).
I have always liked Italian restaurants, for two reasons. I am a huge fan of pizza, and I am a vegetarian, and Italian's are the one restaurant that have plenty of choice for those of us who don't want to eat meat. Even the meat free dishes can be tweaked to exclude meat if you ask nicely enough.
Prezzo popped up in my local high street a couple of years ago. I knew a bit of background about it and had had a few friends visit that had really liked it and therefore I felt compelled to test it out.
All Prezzos I have seen have been really nicely and tastefully decorated. They seem to be cosy with lots of low lighting (but you can still see what you are eating) and candles. There are chunky wooden tables, that look like they were expensive and classy. The tables come in all shapes and sizes. There are plenty of ones for two people, which they push together to make tables for more people. All in all, the ambience is very nice.
The menu itself is fairly extensive and there is something for everyone. The food is mainly Italian, but they have some extras thrown in like fries, potato dishes, and burgers, as well as all the usual pastas and pizzas. I have since been to Prezzo many many times and I have never had a bad meal there.
The price range is very affordable, most main meals are under 10 pound. The food is very good and bought out in a reasonable time frame, I have never had a bad meal from there, and I don't know anyone who has.
My personal recommendation is the fried mozzerella in breadcrumbs for a starter and pasta primavera for a main course!
Having visited most of the Italian chain restaurants that are popping up in every corner of our towns and cities (Pizza Express, Strada, Zizzi etc), a friend and i got emailed a 241 voucher on main meals and decided to try out this chain on a recent trip to Cardiff.
The restaurant, as expected was nicely decorated and comfortable if not a little clinical. The staff however were very friendly and acknowledged us and brought us to a table the moment we went in.
The menu is very extensive with a full range of pizzas, pastas, calzone and salads, and a few risottos and English dishes (such as burger and chips). There is a good vegetarian and pescatarian choice available which makes a nice change from the usual pasta in tomato sauce.
We decided to share a portion of garlic bread for a starter - the service time was very good with out starter being at the table within about 7 minutes, impressive considering it was a busy Saturday lunchtime. The garlic bread was hot and tasty, it was very fresh bread and extremly soft, my only criticism is that there could have been a little more garlic in it, although i am a garlic field so it may have been fine for normal tastes.
My main meal was also very tasty, i ordered Calzone di Mare - which, as the name suggests, is a folded pizza with brocolli, prawns and oak roasted salmon in a cheese sauce. I have to say I was very impressed - the calzone as massive and packed full of salmon and MASSIVE juicy prawns!
I would defintely spend £10 on this dish so the fact that we got it for £5 was a bonus!
I was very impressed with Prezzo overall and will definetly be going back! Good Job!