We often find ourselves on the Strand wanting an evening meal before seeing a show and have in the past stuck to two or three restaurants that we like but last night I thought we should try somewhere new and went to Zizzi's. Although the entrance is at street level the restaurant itself is in the basement so one goes down a flight of stairs. I have no idea if there is a lift for the disabled, as I'm able bodied I didn't look but if you have mobility problems this is something to check before selecting this venue. Once downstairs you find yourself in a large restaurant and on the night we visited it was very busy. However, although we hadn't booked they found a table for us immediately but said there would be a bit of a wait for the food. The tables are fairly closely packed so it's not suitable for those who want an intimate romantic meal or just like a little privacy. The venue is functional but fairly featureless.
Zizzi's is a chain restaurant offering Italian style food at a reasonable cost, I suspect the central London location and the modest prices are the reasons it was crowded rather than because it offers a great dining experience, however, if all you want is a bite to eat that doesn't break the bank then this fits the bill well enough.
Our waiter was pleasant and our main course did not take too long to arrive. I was a bit disappointed in my pizza, I can't remember its exact name but it said the pizza base had been stretched to provide more room for the toppings - this resulted in a thin but very tough base. Despite having a reasonable knife I found it quite tiring trying to chop it up into manageable sized pieces. My friend also chose a pizza on this stretched base and eventually gave up trying to cut through it as being just too exhausting. Take care to read all the words on the menu carefully or you might be in for a surprise. My friend was shocked to find that although her pizza base was lukewarm the toppings were stone cold. She mentioned this to the waiter who told her it was meant to be like that but did warm it up for her very quickly. On closer inspection of the menu one could guess that the toppings were going to be raw - they call it 'fresh' , however, I expect most people do not read the descriptions completely they just look out for the pizza toppings they like. Words like 'fresh' are so over-used by the food industry that most people ignore the hype, after all one expects food will be fresh. The two other members of our party had pasta dishes which were described as satisfactory but perhaps a little on the small sized for an adult male.
We then ordered desert. It was at this point I felt that Zizzi's had achieved something impossible - I did not think it possible to make nasty mint choc chip ice cream but they managed it. I am usually a fan of mint choc chip ice cream and this came as such a disappointment; the minty part wasn't too bad but the choc chips were horrendously bitter - luckily I had a scoop of ice cream in a different flavour to take the taste away. Perhaps some people might like the contrast between sweet and very bitter but it's not for me, so if you like traditional mint choc chip take care with this one. My husband had quite a wait for his desert, we think it had been forgotten, we eventually asked the waiter to chase it up then it arrived quite promptly - he had a chocolate melt which was fine.
Overall, although there is nothing really wrong with this restaurant it has little to commend it. There are plenty of other places in the same area with similar prices, I doubt that I shall return.
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