I've visited a few of the restaurants in the Zizzi chain and I do think that although the menus are exactly the same, each venue differs greatly in terms of service and atmosphere. Tonight, I visited the branch in Edinburgh's West End at Queensferry Street and I think it's top!
I booked the restaurant earlier in the day - a table for two for 6pm. Me and my sister regularly visit Zizzi for a quick bite to eat and catch up. One of the main reasons for this is the regular vouchers offering discounts - we can't resist a bargain! If you haven't already, and you like a pizza or pasta, then sign up to the Zizzi newsletter on their website and you'll receive offers to dine cheaply around every two weeks. The current voucher is for two main course for £12. While this isn't a huge amount of their regular prices it still makes a visit worthwhile.
We arrived and our waiter was friendly from the beginning. He asked how our day had been and commented on the horrible weather (well it is Scotland!). Although it was busy he offered us a choice of two tables and left us to look at the menu.
A waitress arrived at our table very soon afterwards to take our drink orders. My sister ordered a large Peroni and I ordered a large glass of Pinot Grigio. We were also asked if we would also like tap water, which I think is a nice touch. Our drinks were brought swiftly.
We both knew what we wanted so quickly ordered a garlic bread and cheese to share to start. My sister ordered the Calzone Carne Piccante and I ordered the Trentino.
The calzone is described as: An irresistible meat feast with marinated chicken, meatballs and Bolognese. With mushrooms, chilli, mozzarella and tomato. Served with mixed salad.
The Trentino is described as: From the mountainous north with smoked ham, buffalo milk mozzarella, Santos tomatoes, rocket and grana padano cheese.
Our starter arrived quickly and our waiter advised us to try it with the chilli oil readily available on our table. There was an ample portion for two people, in fact in my opinion too much for one person for a starter. The bread was okay, but I thought the cheese and caramelised onion topping was lovely. Our plates were cleared quickly and we began to chat.
I would say here is where the service fell a little - we waited around 20 minutes for our food and although it was quite busy others who had ordered after us were served before us. Our waitress did apologise once and then our food soon arrived.
I think the pizzas are very generously sized, in fact neither of us finished ours. I really liked mine although I found it a little difficult to cut. The thin base meant it was kind of slipping about and at points I thought it was going to fly across the table. I quite like my pizza pre-cut but this is a personal opinion!
My sister enjoyed her Calzone which was filled with meat. I thought the meals were good value and tasty without being outstanding in their quality.
Our plates were cleared quickly and I asked for the bill. This was received quickly however when we went to pay we waited ten minutes and when we tried to pay with another waiter he asked us to wait for our own server. We were in a bit of a hurry so I didn't think this was great.
As I said the food is reasonably priced, however if you do like a vino (I do!) these are a little steeper. £6.50 for a large glass of house is a bit steep in Edinburgh, especially in a chain restaurant.
However, for a quick Italian, use a voucher and I think you'll find it worth your while. However, never go without a voucher because they're available so often it's not worth it!
Zizzi to some is merely a faceless chain restaurant, but the truth is it does what it does very well! If you are looking for decent quality italian food at a reasonable price then this is the place. We're not talking artisan bread and rustic tuscan feasts here, we're talking carbonara, marinara and spag bol. Nicely presented and well-cooked. Also, for the diet-conscious, their spaghetti pomodoro is only 5 weightwatchers points
Moreover in these credit-crunchy times, money is more and more important and zizzi constantly have an offer on for buy one get one free or buy one, get one for £1. These usually run Monday to Thursday and make it great to meet up with a friend for a quick chat without breaking the bank.
In short if you fancy some pasta and you don't want to pay a lot of money, get yourself down there with a voucher and try it out.
Zizzie is an Italian food chain. I have visited several of the branches in central London, most often the one on the Strand.
The food is decent, and in the same mid priced range as other similar restaurants such as Strada (£7-12 for mains). My favourite dishes are their pesto pasta with artichoke, although the sauce can be quite heavy, and their mushroom and chicken risotto, which is very good. The portion sizes are decent, the only time I had an issue with the food was once when I had the pesto pasta take-away, and I felt ill after- I chalked it up to the fact that I had eaten it an hour after it had been cooked, although not sure why that should be a problem other than the thick sauce had congealed a bit.
Service is alright- for dinner the restaurant often has more customers than the staff can serve promptly, especially when a voucher has just come out, but for lunch its usually acceptable, although not outstanding.
It might not be worth making a special date to go, but Zizzie is a good alternative if you need a decent meal, especially if you find a 2 4 1 voucher floating around.
Yesterday I had dinner at the Sheffield branch of Zizzis.
Zizzis is an Italian resturant chain. They serve a variety of pizzas, pastas, meat and seafood dishes.
We arrived at about 7pm, and although the resturant was very busy we were able to get a table for 2 straight away.
The resturant is set out really nicely, with a balcony all around a central section where there are more tables and the kitchen. If you are on the balcony you can watch the chefs working which is quite fun as they make pizzas and set things on fire.
We shared garlic bread to start at a cost of £3.45. We got quite a big portion, and it didnt taste really garlicy but enough to taste it.
For mains I had a pizza funghi (mushrooms), and my sister had creamy chicken pasta with pancetta. They both cost around £8, and were very tasty and filling. We didnt have to wait more than 20mins between our starter and mains.
For pudding we shared a chocolate cake. It came with marscapone but we asked for it with icecream, and this was delivered to us.
One thing that was a bit annoying was that we had 2 waitresses serving us, and one didnt know what the other had already done, or the other was too busy to get us a pudding menu. It was all a bit confusing. They should just have one person per section.
We had a 50% off main courses voucher, and we gave them this when we got the bill, and got a reduced bill. It was only £16 for a starter, 2 mains and 1 pudding. We just drank water as we were going for cocktails afterwards.
You can download a 50% off voucher for Zizzis from moneysavingexpert.com. There wasnt a problem with us using it, and you just have to fill in your details on it.
Overall our meal was very nice, there were the right amount of times between courses, and the waitresses were very friendly. I will definately go back to this branch again when Im next in Sheffield.
I have been visiting the Zizzi chain of restuarants for many many years now. I keep going back because i find the food delicious and the prices very reasonable.
I have been to several Zizzi restuarants in the South East, Beckenham, Bromley, Maidstone, Tunbridge Wells, and Sevenoaks. All of them are great, but my boyfriend and i particulary like the Sevenoks restuarant. This is because the staff are great and always go above to beyond to make sure your meal is an enjoyable one.
** Why I love Zizzi's**
If you love simple Italian food, then you will love this place as much as i do. They serve Pasta/Risotto dishes, Pizza/Calzone, Salads, and a wide range of nibbles and starters.
Nibbles/Starters - with a wide selection to chose from, i always never know what to get to start my meal. I usually go with the garlic bread, which is served on a pizza base, and is ideal to share. You can also get garlic bread with cheese, or tomato pesto bread, which are also served on a pizza base.
If you like something to yourself, then they serve very nice bruschetta, both are very nice, and are just enough for two if you do wish to share ;-)
Pasta - My favourite pasta meal is Penne Della Casa, however, recently this was taken off the menu, and then was brought back but it has been changed slightly, the broccoli has gone, and its definately lost its yum factor. I have tried a few of the other pasta dishes and they are all very nice and cheaply priced.
Pizza - if you like your pizzas big, then you will love the Zizzi pizzas. They are very big and you can choose from 12 different choices. They are all cooked in a wood burning oven, which makes the pizzas a lot different to any other pizzas you will eat.
Salads - If you are after the healthy option, you can chose from a wide range of salad choices, from the popular Cesare salad, to the classica salad with Buffalo milk mozzarella served with ciabatta bread.
Of course, i have not forgotten about the desserts, i was just saving the best till last. If you're a piggy like me, you willl always be able to fit in one of the gorgeous desserts on offer.
Desserts - They serve the classic Tiramisu, but if you don't fancy that, i can reccommend the banana con cioccolata. It is a caramellised banana with chocolate and toffee sauce on a yummy warm waffle. It is baked hot, so the ice cream on the side melts all over it, which just adds to the yummy taste.
Drinks - A small selection of red/white/rose wine on offer. You don't get too many choices, but the few i have tried have all been really nice. They are priced from £15 - £23. If it is a special occasion and you fancy Champagne, they have 3 to chose from, priced at £20 - £45.
You can also chose from Italian lagers, or a wide range of soft drinks, diet coke, coca-cola, Fanta, Sprite.
** Staff and Customer Service**
The staff are all very friendly at all the restuarants i have visted, however, i find the Sevenoaks staff to be much more friendly. They are dressed casually, jeans, and the Zizzi shirts, and i think this style of dress adds to how easy it is to relax at this restuarant.
All Zizzi restaurants are designed to a high standard, and its great having the open kitchen with the wood burning oven.
If you are looking somewhere to eat for a special occasion, then Zizzi is the place to try. The prices are great, and you can normally find 2 for 1 offers online. I have used several this month, where you get one main meal for free.
I visited a Zizzi restaurant for the first time about 3 years ago. I like their look; there was a wooden floor and the tables were laid out nicely and it looked nice and spacious inside. The lighting was done nicely and is not too dim unlike some other places, it's nice and clean and has a pleasant atmosphere.
The food at Zizzi's is Italian style and they have quite a nice variety on their menu; from pizza's to pasta dishes and calzone's. I've tried their spicy calzone and liked it a lot; it's very meaty and flavourful and the dough isn't too thick, which is great in my opinion. I think their pizza's and calzone's are stone baked and they have a lovely flavourful topping and filling inside.
My absolute favourite dish was their meatball lasagne but unfortunately they don't do that one anymore.
They also have a nice range of desserts; their best dessert was their banana, toffee and chocolate waffle served with ice cream and chocolate sauce. Sadly for me, they've also stopped making this. They still have things like chocolate cake, cheesecake and some other desserts on there, which are also quite nice.
I'd give them 4 stars as they are a nice restaurant but stopped serving my 2 favourite meals on the menu. Still a very nice and reasonable Italian style restaurant though.
I try to avoid eating in chain restaurants, but sometimes there is little other choice. On any high street you may be quite close to a small independent restaurant, but they are rarely in the more expensive prominent, convenient locations, so unless you know of their existence a good consistent chain restaurant may have to suffice. Zizzi is just such a place, serving consistently good quality, simple, Italian food. The pizzas are particularly good and excellent value too. Everything is approximately Italian in style, rather than Italian American, albeit never quite as good as the real thing.
I have been to a few Zizzi restaurants in London and have found them to be fairly consistently good. My local one, in Richmond, is the best that I have been to, partly because the staff very are good, friendly and seem to care about the job.
The menu is fairly typical Italian, although it is divided up into eleven sections: aperitif, nibbles, starters, pasta, risotto, pizza, calzone, side salad, salad, deserts and drinks. The pizzas are cooked in a wood-burning stove, which is visible from the restaurant.
Nibbles and starters
There are good pizza bread based starters, which can also be shared, such as garlic or tomato pesto bread, although these may be a bit too much bread, if you are going to follow it with a pizza. Alternatively there are some rather more expensive starters such as "Antipasto Zizzi" for £9.95 for two people or mussels for £5.65.
Pasta and Risotto dishes
The pasta and risotto dishes range from about £7 for a simple Spaghetti Pomodoro to £11 for Linguine Gamberi or £12 for the Risotto di Pesce with a wide range of the usual favourites in between. The pasta dishes are usually cooked correctly (i.e. al dente) and the sauces are generally very good.
Pizza and Calzone
There are twelve pizzas and two calzone ranging from £6.50 for a Margherita to £10 for the Pizza di Mare, which are generally a very good approximation to a proper thin-crust Italian pizza, cooked in an authentic way in the large wood-burning oven. The Diavola is a potent hot pepperoni pizza with chilli, but all pizza are served with chilli oil if you like a bit more kick.
Salads range from side salads from about £3 to £9.50 for a Caesar salad with king prawns in case you want to have one instead of real food as a main course.
I rarely manage to eat a dessert because I've already eaten too much by that stage, but Zizzi have some of the usual Italian favourites such as Tiramisu.
The wine list is fairly small but includes some good value wines such as Montepulciano d'Abruzzo or Frascati ranging from £13 to £26 or £45 for the best Champagne. Italian lagers and soft drinks are also available.
The style of these restaurants is pleasant and a bit different from many chains. The Richmond one has stacked logs forming the walls, possibly to be used to fuel the oven.
As much as I hate the idea of recommending a franchise of a restaurant chain I have to admit that this chain, so far has proved to be a good alternative to the real thing.
Arrived with a party of 5 looking for an indoor table, which appeared to be totally empty. A member of staff took us to a large table and seated us. Within five minutes, another staff member arrived (presumed he was the manager), asked us all to move, as the table was reserved (no signs in place), and told us he would find us a table, but they were very busy (not from what we could see).
He then proceeded to tear strips off this first member of staff, pointing in his face and shouting at him, just by the bar, only yards from us.
He (The Manager?) then returned and proceeded to try to organise another table for us as if nothing had happened. We immediately left without saying a word, taking our business elsewhere.
Dont assume that a fancy appearance means these establishments treat their staff or customers civilly!
It is awfully hard to write about a chain style restaurant and then limit your review to one particular branch. Indeed it almost seems meaningless as with the proper training and procedures then eating in one should be pretty much the same experience no matter where you go up and down the country.
That said - a restaurant which is the same pretty much up and down the country is normally a chain of restaurants I prefer to avoid, unless eating when on the road is more of a function (e.g. like those beginning with W.....!!) than wanting it to be an enjoyable culinary experience. Zizzi's is a chain owned by ASK, a company formed within the last 12 years, recognising a gap in the quality end of the pizza and pasta market. There are over 60 Zizzi's chains in the UK, and a further 60+ ASK restaurants at the current time, with the group growing at the rate of 25 per year, making it one of the fastest growing groups at present within the UK. So if there isn't a Zizzi's near you now, there could well be in the future. They stretch from as far SW as Exeter, to as far north as .Glasgow!
Anyway, I have eaten at around 4-5 of the 60 in the last few years and I have always been impressed with the quality of the menu and food in all branches, including a couple of London branches. Naturally, I have eaten in the Glasgow branch the most, having dined there three times in total, and twice in the last 3 weeks.
The Glasgow branch itself has a great setting, being situated on the 3rd floor of the popular Princess Square shopping centre, right off Buchanan Street. Princess Square contains lots of more exclusive shops, together with several restaurants, and it is the kind of place where it is easy to lose an afternoon, doing very little other than dining and people watching (well that's my afternoons anyway!).
There is plenty of both indoor and 'outdoor' seating within Zizzi's Glasgow. The 'outdoor' seating is of course contained within the vast glass roof that covers Princess Square, but is outside on the balcony, and it is by far the most popular area to sit, as you can really feel the bustle of the shopping centre below you. However, due to the popularity of both the Square and the restaurant, you may have to sit inside, if you don't want a delay in serving. I have managed to get outside seating on two out of three occasions though, by good fortune.
The décor in all Zizzi's is pretty similar, and modern in feel, typically with wooden floors, solid quality wooden tables, minimally set (i.e. no ugly tablecloths) and chairs, and plenty of brown shades which give the place a wonderful warming ambience. The chairs are great although they can get a bit hard if you sit on them for 3-4 hours or more, as always seems to be the case, when I end up in here! It doesn't seem to be a place that throws you out too quickly either.
With regard to the food itself - obviously the bulk of the menu is either pizza, Calzone, or pasta dishes. I have had pizza more often than not, as I think that they are one of the best pizzas about - thin and crispy, with the perfect texture and taste with the tomato and mozzarella base. Pizzas cost from £5.20 for the simple (yet delightful) margherita, to around £8 and a choice of around 15 pizzas plus a flexible approach to giving the customer what they want should ensure that no one is disappointed.
There are a similar amount of pasta dishes on the menu, and again these should cater for every taste from the plainest to the richest. I have dined with several friends who have been every bit as happy with their pasta dishes as I have been with my pizza, and costs are again around the £6 - £8 mark.
The wine list itself is not extensive, with around 5-6 selected red and white wines, predominantly European in origin and ranging from around £12 - £16 per bottle. All have been more than adequate and light enough to complement the choice of meal. If you want a pre dinner, or after dinner drink then the most popular shorts are available from £2. Soft drinks are available from £1.80 but the staff are always willing to bring a jug of iced tap water to the table at no charge (though perhaps not recommended in all branches!!)
There is also a decent selection of starters, including wonderful garlic breads, which are just perfect for taking the edge of the appetite and for enjoyment with that first glass of wine, so welcome after a hard morning's shopping!
Service has always been swift and friendly, yet not rushed and not intrusive. Having eaten at the same restaurant a couple of times lately, I am beginning to recognise the staff, and all seem to take a healthy pride in their work.
I have never actually made it to pudding, although not sure if this is down to strong will, or the fact that the main courses tend to fill up so much! There is a simple sweet selection, containing all the typical Italian favourites, such as tiramisu, lemon tart, chocolate mousse, and coffees for the more diet conscious.
Finally if you want to organise your works outing here, then a three course meal can be provided, giving a more restricted choice, for a reasonable £14.95 per person.
So if you are in Princess Square Glasgow, ( or any other town) and you spot a Zizzi's restaurant, then I wholeheartedly recommend you give them a try! Of the branches I have tried, it certainly has the upper edge, even if it is purely on its location, with the food in all sampled being of a consistently good standard.
www.zizzi.co.uk to find your nearest branch.
Zizzi St John's Wood. 87 Allitsen Road, NW8 Tel: 020 7722 7296 Zizzi St John's Wood is away from hustle and bustle of St Johns Wood High Street and those wanting a decent meal without paying designer prices should venture past Cafe Rouge, Caffe Uno et al. Zizzi is the new chain of restaurants from the ASK Central Group. Another pizza chain offering the same?... fortunately not! Upon entry Zizzi feels different with its authentic wooden floor (uneaven in some places),conservatory and open oven with stacked wooden logs. The restaurant is arranged so that it appears that there are three separate dining areas. Restaurant capacity is about 90 with parties of upto 20 catered for. It seems a shame they don't have a designated bar or waiting area, especially given the queues that can build up in the evening. It's generally best to arrive before 7pm to ensure that you get a table - after then, you could have a wait of upto half an hour. Clientele ranges from local families and cricket fans to tourists and large party groups. Zizzi's pizza and pasta are cooked in a wood-fired oven, with the oven clearly visible to restaurant diners. Zizzi's pizzas and garlic pizza bread are the largest I have ever seen. Only the hungriest of diners will be able to finish the garlic bread with cheese and shallots and still have room for their main course! In addition to garlic breads, there are 2 types of bruschetta, marinated olives and several salads. A favourite is the Insalata Tricolore - a combination of Mozzarella, Tomatoes and Avocado drizzled with olive oil and topped with black olives. With the main courses there is an excellent choice of pizza, pasta and three salads. This is where Zizzi stands out from the rest. The wood-fired oven results in the pizza's being crisp and the base well-cooked. Among the pizza's are two calzone's - the contadino is a must
for vegetarians with its sumptuous filling of goats cheese and roasted vegetables accompanied a small portion of green salad. For those who like their food spicy, the Tre Gusti and Tagliatelle Arrabiata will be the perfect choice (additional chilli oil, tabasco and crush chillies are there if you need them!) Zizzi will also make small portions for children and have a good supply of high chairs for smaller children. In addition, they offer a choice of types of pasta for each pasta dish. Onto dessert and there is the obligatory Chocolate Cake, Tiramisu and Ice Creams. However, they again steal a march on rivals with their Mela Croccante (Apple Crumble) and Banana and Chocolate Dessert which are both cooked in the wood fired oven. Zizzi offers a range of teas, coffees and spirits along with a lovely Moscato dessert wine. A drawback of the open oven is that the restaurant can get very hot. In addition, plans for al fresco dining were rejected by the local council. The restaurant has large windows to 3 sides, however the planners have struck here as well because of residents complaints about noise. It seems Zizzi has become a victim of its own success. The ever-friendly manager has recently mentioned plans for air conditioning to be installed - until then they they have some fans. Avoid the conservatory during a hot afternoon! A diner on another table summed-up my opinion when she announce to her friend, 'This is the NEW Pizza Express!'