“ Address: 52-54 High St / Salisbury / SP1 2PF / Wiltshire / England „
By mid afternoon one Saturday in March, having spent some time in Salisbury Cathedral and then walked down to look at the River Avon, we had quite an appetite. Prezzo seemed to be a safe bet for a late lunch, as we have visited their Chichester restaurant a few times and always enjoy the food there. The Salisbury branch is housed in an old timber-frame building with a very distinctive exterior.
It was quite busy, and we were shown to a table for two near the middle of the restaurant. The table next to us was only about six inches away, and I couldn't help but hope that no-one would come and sit there as it really was a little too close. The head waiter and our waitress were seemed very friendly and welcoming, and menus were brought straight away. The waitress came back rather too soon to take our order, so we each asked for a glass of fruit juice (£2.30) and said we needed a little more time to study the menu.
Starters at Prezzo include Minestrone Soup with ciabatta bread at £4.85, Baked Stuffed Mushrooms at £5.10 and Crab Cakes with garlic mayonnaise at £5.50. There are also three starters to share, one of which is a vegetarian choice, Italian Nachos at £6.50. Meat eaters can choose between the Trio of Crostinis at £6.95 and the Antipasto Platter at £9.95.
For those on a diet, Prezzo offers a selection of flat bread pizzas and low-calorie pastas; both come with salad and contain 650 calories at most. The flat bread pizzas are around £9 and include two vegetarian options as well as one with chicken, rosemary and portobello mushrooms and another with tiger prawns, asparagus, spinach, red onion, mozzarella and tomato. The light pasta dishes range from Spaghetti Arrabbiata, a vegetarian dish at £7.75, to Chicken and Roasted Pepper Fusilli at £8.95.
In the Pasta Mains, there are thirteen dishes to choose from. They range from Spaghetti Bolognese at £8.25 through Chicken Ravioli at £9.95 to Salmon Penne at £10.95. Four of the choices are vegetarian, for example Fusilli Al Pesto with asparagus spears, field mushrooms and roasted peppers at £7.95 or Wild Mushroom Girasolle at £10.50. There are also several baked pasta dishes in the Al Forno section, such as Traditional Lasagne at £9.50 and Pollo (Chicken) Carbonara at £9.95.
If you are a fan of risotto you can choose Field Mushrooms at £9.50, Tiger Prawns at £10.95 or Chicken and Asparagus at £10.75. Grills are served with a choice of fries, gratinated potatoes or mixed salad; four of the six choices feature chicken breast, but there are also Crab Cakes at £11.50 and a Classic Burger at £9.95.
As well as the flat bread pizzas, Prezzo offers thirteen standard pizzas and three calzone or folded pizzas. Prices go from £6.95 for a Margherita up to £10.95 for the Di Mare Calzone, with oak roasted salmon, tiger prawns, broccoli, pomodoro sauce and a blend of cheeses. Whether you like pepperoni, tuna, chicken, spicy beef or gorgonzola, you will find something here that appeals to you.
Like most Italian chain restaurants, Prezzo includes salads in its range of main dishes; there are six in all, only one of which is suitable for vegetarians. They range in price from £8.95 to £9.75, except for the Classic Caesar Salad which is £6.95. Two of them feature chicken as the main ingredient, but the Salmon and Avocado Salad is perhaps the most tempting of all.
If you are not convinced that your main dish will satisfy your appetite, you can order an extra side dish of potatoes or salad. Fries are £2.95, or there are Gratinated Potatoes at £3.20. Tomato and Red Onion Salad is £3.10, a Caesar Salad £3.75 and a Mixed Salad is £3.50.
We often don't feel the need for a starter, but this time we decided to have some Marinated Olives at £2.85. My son chose Goat's Cheese Al Forno at £9.50 for his main course. I was wondering whether to have a low-calorie pasta dish when we suddenly realised there was a small specials menu on the table. From here I picked Raul's Bolognese at £8.50. I don't find it easy to eat spaghetti, but this dish came instead with pasta shells and the sauce included mushrooms. It seemed a good opportunity for a Bolognese main course.
Speedy service seemed to be the order of the day, and it wasn't long before our olives were brought. They were a mixture of black and green olives with one or two cloves of garlic and the odd piece of red pepper. Toothpicks were provided to spear them with, but I was surprised to find they were the quill type rather than wooden sticks. They served their purpose all the same. We had barely finished when the waitress arrived with our main courses. My son's goat's cheese pasta dish looked more interesting than my choice, being made with field mushrooms, red peppers, spinach and fusilli pasta in tomato sauce and pesto. My Bolognese pasta may not have looked particularly fascinating, but it proved to be a very good choice. There were visible pieces of diced carrot as well as slices of mushroom, and the sauce was rich and quite creamy. I had declined the offer of grated parmesan, and the dish really didn't need it. My son was just as happy with his pasta al forno, as was made evident by his clean plate at the end.
Prezzo's desserts are mostly priced at £4.75, including Milk Chocolate Fudge Cake and Honey Smash Cheesecake. There is also a Sticky Toffee Pudding at £4.95, but the Ice Cream and Hazelnut Bombe with a meringue centre is a mere £2.95. The selection of hot drinks includes teas, coffees and Cadbury's hot chocolate, all priced between £1.85 and £2.10. We were feeling rather full, however, and wanted to walk round the town before trying out the cakes at the Boston Tea Party, a cafe further along the High Street, so we didn't sample Prezzo's desserts.
When we wanted to ask for the bill, the waitress who had up until then been super efficient seemed to have vanished. We eventually requested it from one of the waiters. Our bill came to £25.45, to which we added a tip. For tables of seven or more, Prezzo adds an optional ten per cent service charge.
There is a disabled toilet with baby changing facilities on the ground floor, but other toilets are situated on the first floor, where there is an additional seating area too. There were two cubicles in the ladies' toilets, but the light was only working in one of them. Strangely enough, I had found the same problem at Ask in Petersfield a couple of weeks before. Other than that problem, there was plenty of toilet tissue and soap, plus a hand drier in good working order.
I would happily recommend Prezzo to anyone visiting Salisbury who likes Italian food. The prices are reasonable, service is friendly and efficient for the most part, and the menu offers a good choice. I think the addition of the flat bread pizzas and low-calorie pasta dishes is a particularly good idea for anyone who is watching their weight but doesn't want to be confined to salad. There were several children with parents at the time of our visit, and Prezzo offers three courses and a drink for children at £4.95. Apart from the fact that some of the tables were rather too close together, I would find little to criticise and look forward to returning to this or other branches of Prezzo.
52 High Street
Tel. 01722 341333
Salisbury has a lot of Italian chain restaurants (Pizza Express/Strada and ASK) However, out of them, Prezzo is my favourite. This is probably due to the location and building more than anything (the menu is similar to that in the other Italians) but the atmosphere is better and the staff seem to be mainly Italian, which makes a change from the usual students! There is also a roof terrace upstairs which makes a great area for a romantic meal or party of upto 12 or so (depending on the weather in the summer, of course!) . I have found the staff friendly, the food good quality and generous portion sizes, drinks reasonably priced and a willingness to cater for large parties by shifting around the tables upstairs. There are also often 2 for 1 vouchers on the internet which makes Prezzo a cheap deal for lunch or dinner with a friend.
Food was much as you expect but the service was "interesting"! We prebooked a large party for a Sat evening by phone and were asked for £5 deposit /head paid by credit card. However, when paying after the meal, staff insisted only £50 deposit had been taken despite being told at the time it was £70. Also manager insisted the deposit be repaid in cash rather than being credited to card. Could that be to ensure I had enough cash to pay a tip which was firmly requested in cash? Of course when credit card bill came, £70 had been charged. A complaint to Head Office resulted in a nice letter and promise to pay but despite reminders no money returned.
A few weeks ago having not had a good start to the day, my partner and I were in Salisbury and feeling in the mood for something a bit more substantial than a sandwich for lunch and also to lift our moods, we decided to give Prezzo a try as its one of the few places in the city we've yet to eat at.
Looking through the window the restaurant looked busy which normally puts me off as I dont like to wait too long but the second we opened the door we were greeted by a waiter and shown immediately to a table upstairs, result!
Who or what is Prezzo?
Prezzo is a chain of restaurants that specialise in Italian style food, that started life in Londons Oxford Street in 2000. Since then they have expanded to a chain spanning the UK from Edinburgh to Cornwall.
On being seating in the resturant our waitress introduced herself whilst handing us menus and asking us which drinks we'd like. She was attentive without being in our faces the whole time and made us feel at home and well looked after.
For our meals we chose to share some cheesy garlic bread to start and then I had a pepperoni pizza (as I always do with pizzas) and my partner had a chicken pasta dish (I forget the exact name of it) which looked very creamy and indulgent. Our dishes were quick to arrive but not so fast that we were given reason to believe a microwave was being used.
My pizza was huge and definitely worth the £8.99 we paid for it, in fact I struggled to finish it, the base was thin and crispy and the toppings crispy and moreish, just how I like them. I didnt taste my partners pasta dish but the yummy noises he was making plus the super quick rate at which it dissapeared down his throat pretty much said it all.
We declined dessert as the huge portions plus drinks we had were more than enough for lunch, any more food and I would have fallen asleep during the drive home which would have been a tad dangerous to say the least! They did look very inviting though and at less than £4 each are super value.
Paying for our meal was painless and all in was a bargain given the quality and quantity served up, the staff attending us were professional and helpful and we left with happy faces as well as tummies, I would definitely eat there again.