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CiCi's Pizza Buffet (USA Chain)
Member Name: Meggysmum
CiCi's Pizza Buffet (USA Chain)
Date: 06/01/11, updated on 28/05/11 (87 review reads)
Advantages: Lovely Pizzas, nice staff and a bargain price.
Disadvantages: Looks really dingy from outside and very cheap looking inside.
We are a family who really enjoy treating ourselves to a pizza but having had a few pizzas in Orlando we had been disappointed with the quality. In one of the many voucher booklets that you can pick up all over the place we spotted an advertisement for CiCi's Pizza and thought it would be worth a try.
We ended up at the one on Palm parkway just outside the Walt Disney World resort. When we pulled into the car park I felt inclined to drive away as it was in a dreary row of shops that looked a little rough but since we were all staring hungry we decided to give it a go. The exterior looked shabby and it took a few seconds to locate the entry door as one door was not in use.
On entering the restaurant we were immediately hit by the delicious smell of freshly baked pizza. The young lady at the reception greeted us cheerfully and asked if we had ever visited before. We said that we hadn't and also handed over the voucher that we had cut out of the local voucher booklet. She gave us our large carry-out drink cups with lids and then explained that we should find ourselves a table and then we could help ourselves to any of the buffet items as many times as we liked. CiCi's also offer a special order service if you want a particular pizza but I think most people opt for the buffet.
The seating area was a reasonable size and we noticed how busy it was. There seemed to be lots of families and I always think it is a good sign if you walk in somewhere and it is busy and people look happy!
The restaurant area is certainly not the most attractive in the world. There are lots of Formica and metal chairs and although it looks quite well worn it was spotlessly clean and stayed that way throughout our meal as an amazing older lady whizzed around whipping away plates and cleaning tables at an amazing speed.
The children went and filled up our drinks at the self-service machine which they really enjoyed doing. We had all chosen diet-coke and I was pleased to see it was diluted properly, I have been to some places where they make it so weak in these machines you can see straight through it!
We then headed to the pizza buffet. There was probably a selection of about seven or eight different pizzas on the hotplates, all sliced up so you could help yourself. One of the guys who was cooking also greeted us warmly and explained that the garlic breads were at one end, main course pizzas in the middle and the ones on the far left were pudding pizzas. There was a lovely selection varying from the standard cheese, pepperoni or ham and pineapple to spinach, barbecue, vegetable and macaroni cheese pizza. I must admit to trying the macaroni cheese pizza as it was proving very popular with the American diners but I thought it was awful, in fact it was the only thing we tried that none of us liked.
There were a couple of bread items which were not like normal garlic bread but they were very tasty and there was also a flip-pizza with the filling inside which was rather unusual as it was thin rather than the usual folded pizzas that we get in the UK. The only problem at the pizza buffet is that the pizzas have no labels so you have to guess or you can ask the staff as they are very helpful. I realised this is probably because they keep replacing the pizzas as soon as they are finished and they put out whatever has just been cooked, there seems no particular order.
A large bowl of pasta was also available with a tangy tomato sauce which I found to be very tasty.
CiCi's does say that you can eat as much salad as you want too but you really can't get excited about the salad bar. There was a couple of large bowls of mixed lettuce, some tomatoes and some carrot sticks, not really the most interesting selection but I still helped myself several times as it was still a nice accompaniment to the pizzas.
As the cook had already explained CiCi's also offers desserts and some of these come in the form of pizzas too. I did see several people putting savoury and sweet pizzas on their plates together, I don't know if they just didn't realise or if they liked eating that way. One of the dessert pizzas had apple slices with cinnamon and I think it was one of the nicest desserts that I tasted during our whole holiday. There was also something rather like a Chelsea bun which was very sweet but quite nice.
CiCi's is not going to win any awards for its luxurious surroundings or interesting decor. However all of the pizzas are cooked on the premises and they taste delicious because of it. They were freshly cooked and as a plate is emptied a new pizza is put out. The vegetables and the meat seemed very fresh and all had lots of flavour. The pizzas did not seem greasy or heavy and I certainly ate far more than I usually do and I loved being able to try all of the varieties. We visited when the weather was exceptionally hot and the restaurant was nicely air-conditioned without being freezing cold. The buffet was $6.99 and the refillable drinks were $1.50 and we had vouchers so that two of the buffets were free so we fed the four of us for about $20 (less than £15) and left with large drinks ready to take back into the parks in the evening too. We liked it so much that we visited again during our stay and found the service to be just as friendly and helpful as on our first visit and the pizzas just as lovely so we will definitely be returning next year.
Summary: Don't judge a book by its cover!
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