* Prices may differ from that shown
Where I live, we don't have many chain restaurants so when we visit somewhere new or different, we always look out for a Pizza Express and if we know there is going to be one, we exchange some Tesco Vouchers in advance to use.
This gives us a relatively cheap night out as then we only have to buy drinks which aren't included in the deal.
We have visited various outlets including, London, Liverpool, Harrogate, Blackpool and Lincoln so it's safe to say we like the brand.
The one I am reviewing today is in Durham which we visited during the first heat wave of the summer. It is based on Saddler Street and looks quite narrow and small from the outside but once inside seems much bigger due to it going quite far back and its high ceilings. Like many other Pizza Express restaurants, it gives off a nice ambience with Italian music, marble tables and the aroma of good food.
On the Thursday we visited, it was just so hot outside that it was unbearable. (A distant memory now we are well into winter) Luckily the restaurant wasn't too busy and we got a lovely table in front of the bar which was near to the open door and in the direct line of the air con unit which was a blessing!
Our waiter John, was very efficient and looked after us excellently throughout the evening. I like the way that one waiting on staff looks after a certain amount of tables as you feel it is more of a personal service. They also get to keep any tips their tables leave which encourages good service. John explained to us that he had worked in the kitchen which was for better pay but decided to go back to front of house as he could make more in tips than the increase in wages!
We decided to go for a bottle of Grillo Chardonnay Sicilean £14.25) to accompany our food which offered better value than Peroni which I think was far too expensive at £3.65 for 330ml and a whopping £6.05 for 660 ml!! The wine was served promptly and chilled perfectly.
For starter I chose Bruschetta con Funghi (£4.85) which is roasted mushrooms, béchamel sauce, red onions finished with parsley and balsamic syrup. One of the nicest starters I have ever had! Served piping hot and was so tasty! John, my husband had butternut squash risotto £5.45) and said his was lovely too.
You can't go to Pizza Express without ordering pizza so being the predictable person that I am, I ordered a Romano Pizza Padora (£9.60) which I have eaten at other Pizza Express and thoroughly enjoyed. It is goats cheese, mozzarella, spinach, caramelized red onions and garlic oil. It didn't disappoint! Was just as tasty than others I had eaten.
John had Calzone Prosciutto Pesto (£12.50) which is a folded pizza that has a filling of ham, roasted red onion, spinach, mushrooms, mozzarella, gruyere and parmesan cheese and pesto sauce. From the noises he was making, I assume he liked it.
We had forty pounds worth of vouchers with us so we worked out we had enough left over to indulge in some puds. I always like something lemony after a meal so went for Lemon Torta (£5.15) and John went for Raspberry Sorbet (£4.25) Both cleansed the palette and rounded off a lovely meal.
We took our time and finished our wine and had a bit of banter with our waiter John. I have to say it is one of the nicest meals in a chain restaurant I have had. I'm sure that was helped by feeling like the food was free by using our Tesco Deals but I honestly would recommend this place. The toilets were very clean, service and food was excellent and I wouldn't hesitate to go again if we were in the Durham area. John the waiter there is an asset to the place!
A table can be booked on line or you can ring direct on Durham 0191 383 2661
The restaurant is open from 11.30 - 11 pm Mon - Sat and !2 pm to 11 pm Sundays
Pizza express. Reigate.
I do not usually go to pizza hut or Pizza express as it really is not my idea of a meal but some friends had invited me to go for a meal with them at Pizza express. I panicked because there is usually so many combinations and varieties of pizza I can never make my mind up what to have sitting there like am imbecile whilst everyone seems to know exactly what they want. Fortunately that decision was more or less made for me when I told my daughter where we were going. She had been a couple of days before and raved about the place and the pizza she tried. She told me exactly what to order which was a bit of a relief. We were actually going to the pictures afterwards so went to the pizza express in the high street in Reigate.
Who are Pizza Express?
Pizza express is a chain restaurant which started trading from Wardour street in London in 1965 growing over the years to have 400 branches all over the UK. Its founder was Peter Boizot an entrepreneur and philanthropist who tried to recreate an authentic tasting Italian pizza. He created and launched the Veneziana pizza of which 5p from each sale goes towards a charity that was set up to help conserve the buildings and art in Venice. He was also a fan of jazz and art so there is a strong influence of jazz and art works on the walls of each branch.
You will find Pizza Express in the high street in Reigate along with many other types of restaurants. I must say there is a wide choice of eateries there. We did not book and just turned up. The restaurant has two floors the main floor is at street level and in the basement there is another room where tables were set up. I think the building used to be a bank so the ceilings are really high and the noise level was incredible. There were a couple of groups in there having a pre meal before going on elsewhere, a couple of birthday celebrations going on at different tables and lots of families and couples all sitting and eating.
The waitress told us that it was busy and we might have to wait a little bit before we actually got our meal but we said that it was ok as we had factored that into the time. We were shown downstairs to the basement room and seated at a table for four. The room was quite large but not as large as the floor upstairs apparently it can seat 30 people downstairs. Again it was quite noisy downstairs but not as loud as upstairs with the volume of some peoples voices reaching sonic boom level and literally overrun with children whose parents seemed more intent on knocking back the wine than keeping their brats undercontrol.
The waiter came and we ordered some drinks and some nibbles, olives, roasted almonds and some garlic bread with olive oil with Balsamic vinegar. He left each of us with a menu to peruse so we started to read through the menu so that we could order. Fortunately for me I had already decided what I was going to have before we got there. The drinks came and we were asked if we were ready to order but asked him to give us another 10 minutes or so.
The menu was quite comprehensive and set out in a nice easy to read fashion. It started off with the intros such as olives and nuts at £2.95. Starters ranged from £3,35 for garlic bread up to £9.95 for Antipasti. The salad selection was around the £9.95 mark and then the next section was the pizza section offering thin crust, filled crust and thick crust ranging in price from £7.25 for a Margherita to £12.10 for the IL Padrino. There were five Pasta dishes from £9.15 to £9.95
The next section on the menu was the dessert section ranging from £4.95 upwards. Finally there was the wine and drinks section offering a range of Italian wines plus a couple of New World wines alongside beers, lagers, spirits and juices. Price wise they appeared fairly reasonable.
In the end we all chose the same thing which was the Il Padrino pizza which is a thin based pizza with tomato topping, chicken, sweet peppers, red onions, mozzarella, tomato and Cajun spices with garlic oil drizzled over it. We also ordered some sides including a mixed salad and some coleslaw. We sat back to continue chatting until the meal came. I felt quite uncomfortable in there due to the noise it really was not my cup of tea to be in such a noisy place. The waiter popped by every so often to see if we were ok or needed drinks and to update us on the pizzas. After about 25 minutes the pizzas were sitting steaming on our table right in front of us. We were given a cutting device each for the pizza which was a wheel on the end of a tiny handle which helped cut the pizza into pieces. The side dishes were delivered too. None of us were impressed with the size of the coleslaw. It looked so small. There was no more than about two ounces of coleslaw and when you think they are charging £2.95 for it that is an incredible mark up and the profit margin of this must be rocking through the roof.
The pizza was well cooked nice and crispy on the underside not soggy in the middle and the vegetables and chicken were cooked perfectly. There were some nice browning tinges in places but no burnt pieces. I must admit I was really pleased that my daughter told me what to order as I really enjoyed the pizza it was quite tasty. I was not that impressed with the coleslaw taste wise or portion size. None of us had a dessert but we all chose a coffee, three latte and one double espresso. The bill came to just over £105 for the four of us.
My opinion of Pizza Express.
I thought the Pizza was superb really tasty and well cooked.
The price was fairly reasonable I thought bearing in mind it included drinks.
The staff were brilliant, nice, friendly and cheerful.
The noise levels in the restaurant both upstairs and downstairs was quite awful.
The portion of the coleslaw was dire and quite frankly a disgrace.
Would I go back here?
The answer to that is yes I would because the pizza was actually very enjoyable but I would hope that it was less noisy the next time I went. Overall I am going to give it four out of five losing one star for the noise and the meanness of the portions of coleslaw. I am not that bothered to be honest whether I went back or not but if we were to go out for a pizza I would definitely consider Pizza Express. To be honest pizza does not really do that much for me. I always feel there is something lacking after having a pizza but then I just guess that's me being of a certain age and do not really see it as a treat.
You can order a takeaway from Pizza Express and there are various apps available to book a table or order your pizza directly from your phone. I would have to say that Pizza Express is far better than its rival Pizza restaurant chains. It is an ok place to visit and is very popular especially with younger people.
15, High Street,
Telephone 01737 241969.
Before we went to see Disney on Ice last year we decided to go for a meal at pizza express in the triangle in central Manchester as it was situated close to the MEN arena and we could also use some Tesco clubcard vouchers towards the cost of the meal.
As we were going at a peak time on a Friday evening we felt it would be best to book a table. The process was actually really simple as you can book a table on the pizza express website by searching for your restaurant, entering the number of people you require for a table and then choose a time slot. You can have the information sent to you via email and text message should you wish to.
When we arrived at 4.40pm the restaurant was very quiet but it did soon get busy and so I would advise booking a table, especially on the weekend.
The pizza express in the triangle is actually accessed by going down a lot of steps to the restaurant. I could not see any means of disable entrances whilst we were in there either.
We were taken to our table by a pleasant waitress who offered the children an activity booklet and a pot of crayons with our menus which was nice as they had something to do whilst we were browsing the menu and also when waiting for our food too. We were sat right in the middle of the restaurant and so we were close enough to the toilets and the area in which you can see the meals being prepared but I would have preferred to sit in the quieter section of the restaurant I think which was just down a few steps.
The waitress took our drinks orders before our food order as we weren't quite ready. What I don't like is how the children's meals doesn't come with a drink included in the price when so many other similar restaurants do include a soft drink. We all ordered a fizzy soft drink at £2.25 which I suppose is an average price.
We were given a few minutes before placing our food order and the waitress was efficient in taking our orders.
My son went on the children's menu which cost £6.45. He got a dough balls starter with salad, a choice of a few pizza or pasta dishes and then a pudding and babyccino drink. My son adores the pizza express dough balls and polished his plate of five off easily. I did feel the side "salad" was a bit lacking really as he simply had two slices of cucumber and some long strips of red pepper! He opted for a simple cheese and tomato pizza for his main meal and this came to the table very hot but it didn't take too long before he could pick it up and eat it. The pizza was around 7" and had plenty of cheese on top of the tomato sauce. My son was able to eat all of the pizza and said that it was really tasty and he enjoyed the thin base. For his pudding he chose a toffee fudge sundae which featured fudge chunks on vanilla ice cream and toffee sauce! I have to say even I like the look of this pudding so it was safe to say he demolished all of this! Children's puddings come with a babyccino which is basically a cup of warm frothy milk served in a tea cup like a cappuccino. Both my son and my friends daughter really enjoyed them and I think they felt a little bit more grown up having them.
For my meal I opted for the dough balls starter. On my plate I had ten dough balls and a pot of garlic butter to dip them in. The dough balls were lovely and soft and very tasty with the garlic butter. I think this is a very filling starter though and would usually choose to share this with someone if I was considering three courses.
I went for a lasagne for my main meal which cost £9.30. My friend went for the American hot pizza in the classic menu which cost £9.45. The lasagne was a good size and very hot out of the oven but I was really disappointed that they added parmesan cheese to the top without asking me first as I have normally been asked whether I want it or not once the food is brought to my table. I was able to scrape most of it off the top of my lasagne but I shouldn't have had to. I ate around three quarters of my lasagne and I found it very tasty. There was plenty of meat in it and the pasta was perfect. I would have eaten it all but my IBS was playing up and causing me discomfort. My friend enjoyed her pizza but said it wasn't as good as the equivalent at Frankie and Bennys.
We ordered pudding but were left waiting over twenty minutes for them and whilst I appreciate the restaurant was getting busier we felt this really was too long to wait for a piece of chocolate fudge cake and three ice cream sundaes! A man next to us seemed likely to be a mystery shopper and at her managers request our waitress left making our puddings to get the bill for him which was a bit annoying! My friend loved the chocolate fudge cake but we felt that £4.95 was a bit much to pay for it really. I ordered a chocolate fudge sundae for £5.25 which was a tall glass dish full of vanilla ice cream and chunks of chocolate fudge cake but I couldn't eat much at all because of feeling so ill at this point.
The bill came to just short of sixty pounds for the four of us to have three courses and a drink. To be honest I wouldn't pay that much for a meal in a pizza place ordinarily as you can get a special value menu at many other establishments where it is much cheaper. As we did have thirty pounds of Tesco vouchers it did soften the blow somewhat though.
Whilst I probably will visit this restaurant again as it is conveniently placed in Manchester I do think that there are better value places to eat at for similar food.
The restaurant was clean and inviting though I have to say the toilets were a bit of a let down as there were just three and only one hand drier which left us waiting each time we went. They were clean and well stocked with toilet roll though which was good.
Thank you for reading my review!
Just had my first pizza express pizza from Sainsbury's and it is by far the worst oven pizza I have ever had. It was bland, the ingredients were just thrown on there mainly in the middle with some sections of the pizza quite bare. Not to mention the smallest most expensive pizza to top it off. Thrown half of it in the bin, don't think I will go to any of their restaurants after that.
Well I have only been to Pizza Express 3 times but each time I have ordered something different and have been more impressed each time. Pizza Express is a chain of restaurants that offer pizza, pasta, salad and chicken dishes. They also offer takeaways and also have their own branded range of pizzas and sauces in the supermarkets.
I have only visited two branches in my life and both have been very nicely decorated to their own unique style with the local area in mind which stops them from looking like any other Italian chain restaurant.
I also love the company as they always have deals which you can print off and take in for example I recently used 40% all main courses which I saved about £8 from. Most of their meals are priced fairly highly so it's well worth trying to get a voucher. For example the average price of a pizza costs around £8. Within their restaurant they offer many pasta dishes and usual dishes like lasagne. They are also well known for changing their menu frequently which makes the dining experience ore exciting.
The quality of their ingredients used is very good as many of them are fresh for example they use fresh herbs on their pizza along with other oils etc which add flavour to the dishes. They are also very authentic looking rather than being overly processed which some restaurants will use mass produced ingredients to add taste.
The staff in the restaurants are also very friendly and welcoming and will show you to your table and leave you to decide what you want without hassling you for time. Once ordered the food comes in a speedy service I think we had to wait around 10 minutes and this was at a peak time which I thought was very good. They are also very attentive as they will ask if you require any seasonings or cheese on your order. Staff also check back at your table to see how your meal is going which most restaurants do I believe.
Overall a highly enjoyable meal with plenty of choice to eat and contemporary restaurants around the country.
I've been a customer of Pizza Express for a few years now and even though I only order a Margherita pizza every time I adore the pizza's whether it be in the resteraunt or whether it be buying a pizza from the supermarket. For this review I'm going to talk about my local Pizza Express in Darlington.
Located on the outskirts of the town centre the large navy blue and white sign makes the resteraunt easy to spy whilst wandering the high street. The large glass front gives the location a wonderful airy feel and lets in a lot of natural light.
With an accessible automatic door for disabled people the large glass door also includes a long silver handle for other customers to use. A small waiting area with three or four bar stools and tables is located just inside the door decorated with a scented candle and a vase with a flower inside. These are available if there is a delay whilst waiting for a table.
The long marbled counter adds to the atmosphere and keeps in line with the theme of the resteraunts and match the tables too!
The kitchen area is on display to all customers so you can watch your pizza or meal being made. Further down the resteraunt there are cold alcoholic beverages and desserts on display.
There is an outside "garden" area which has been decorated by some community volunteers this is available to sit in during summer months. There is also an area out the front of Pizza Express to sit outside and eat al fresco. There is a small area just outside the front door where people can go outside and smoke in the rainy weather. I havent ever noticed a designated smokers area.
The toilets are downstairs in the resteraunt and are always kept clean. There is also a toilet located at the back of the resteraunt upstairs for disabled customers.
The staff in my local Pizza Express are an absolute pleasure to be served by. I was recently served by a gentleman who pulled out my chair for me and was very curteous and waited until I wasn't sat with a mouthful of pizza to ask if everything was okay!
On another occassion the manager also sat down with us and helped feed my 2 year old nephew so we could enjoy our pizza while it was still warm! He loved the attention from the manager and it was lovely to be able to go out to eat with him without having to eat second!
I have eaten in other branches of the chain and I have only ever had one unpleasent experience where the manager and the members of staff thought it was perfectly acceptable to stand and stare at my friends and I while we made a meal and then talk down to us. We were made to feel like we were sat at the joke table. Needless to say I wrote to the head office however still have not heard anything back from them yet!
I wouldn't let this one bad experience let the rest of the franchise down and I have continued to eat at the chain for months after this one occurance.
Pizza Express, Absolutely beautiful.
A pizza the action!
Ubiquitous on the high street, with hundreds of branches around the UK, Pizza Express is one of those places that always seems popular and is a great choice for lunch or a quick dinner with friends or a loved one. I would say that almost everyone must have eaten in a Pizza Express at one time or another (correct me if I'm wrong!) and it doesn't matter what branch you go into, the food you are served always seems to taste exactly the same!
The branch first opened its doors in Wardour Street in London back in 1965, so it's been around for longer than you may realise!
Bright, white and trendy
I've been to two different Pizza Express branches recently but I won't refer to either particular one is I think they are fairly generic. Interiors are always bright, white and quite trendy with marble tables, clean lines and the odd bit of funky artwork thrown in for good measure. You can always see into the kitchens if you want to watch your pizza or salad being prepared. On the tables you'll probably find a single gerbera in a thin vase. The outlets always look clean, fresh and inviting, but not really appropriate if you want something intimate and cosy!
The service is always, in my experience, quick, friendly and efficient and I have no complaints on that front.
What's on the menu?
The clue is in the name ... and yes the main item on offer is pizza. However, if you hate them - or want something different - there are also a few pasta and salad dishes available. There are also some good, basic starters and deserts.
My favourite starter is the bruschetta con funghi, which is a small bruschetta covered in a creamy sauce with mushrooms and red onion. I think this is really tasty - a nice garlicky cream sauce and very moreish. Although there isn't masses of mushroom or onion, it's just enough to make this a tasty and unusual starter. It costs £4.55.
I also like the little dough balls - literally balls of bread (smaller than a ping pong ball) with a bowl of very garlicy butter. Nice to share if you're that way inclined and coming in at £2.60.
The mian event
So onto the mains. I went through a phase of having the cannelloni, which comes in a little ovenproof dish that is ridiculously hot. There are also other pasta on the menu, as well as big, hearty salads.
But really you'd be mad not to go for the pizzas. My favourite, and I seem unable to have anything else these days, is the Pollo Ad Astra - which is spicy chicken and peppadew sweet peppers with cajun spices and red onion. I love this as it has a nice kick of chilli and a lovely sweetness from the peppers. Yum! I also had the American Hot recently which comes with a very generous portion of pepperoni and your choice of peppers - jalapenos, roquito or green chillies. I chose the roquitos and sadly they defeated me and had to take a few of them off towards the end. This is not a reflection on the pizza however, but more a reflection on my wimpishness!
I am also fan of the side salad. The salad itself is nothing special - some green leafy bits, a few cherry tomatoes and some sliced cucumber. What makes it special is the special Pizza Express dressing. Rich, creamy and tangy, it is really delicious and, I am sure, very high in fat and a calories. You can actually buy this bottled in supermarkets now (along with some of the pizzas) and it is well worth trying out. It costs £3.30.
Cut a hole in it!
For those watching their weight, the chain has recently introduced a range of low calorie pizzas called Leggera Pizza. There are five choices available and each pizza comes in at about 500 calories. How do they make it so low in calories? Simple - cut a whole in the middle and fill it with salad. I kid you not. The price of a Leggera starts at £8.50.
I am not a great pudding fan at all but I have had the occasional desert in Pizza Express (usually tucking into a companion's) and I have to give them top marks. The hot chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream is one I remember quite fondly. Most puds come in at just under a fiver.
Pizza Express is very child-friendly and does menus especially for little ones. The lucky little things get three courses for £6.25 - a starter of dough balls and a little salad, then you can choose a pizza or pasta for main, and then they also get a yummy pudding to finish with. I recently had a voucher to gets a kids meal for free so we took my 2-year-old - needless to say she had an absolute ball - stacks of tasty food all finished off with ice cream, and lots of attention from our very friendly waitress. We will definitely be taking MissD again, and I would recommend this for parents who like to take their little ones out for the odd treat. They also run pizza-making parties for kids!
Going up, up, up...
So far ... so good! But I do have one massive bugbear. Is it just me or do the prices in Pizza Express go up every other week? I am sure that every time I go in there the prices have crept up a little bit more. Pizzas are now around the £10 mark which I think is quite steep as, although very tasty, these aren't the biggest pizzas ever and I personally have to have a starter to feel satisfied with my meal (and I don't think I'm that greedy ... ). Last time I went in I ordered my usual Pollo Ad Astra and decided to splash out on the Romana base, which is thinner and crispier and, I have to say, amazing! However, this added another £1.55 to the price (taking it from £9.05 to £10.60) - my own fault for ordering it of course - but a bit cheeky for a pizza that uses exactly the same amount of dough but just stretches it out a little bit more. So a word of advice - before you go to Pizza Express, look out for vouchers! There are almost always vouchers doing the rounds so get on google and get yourself a bargain!
Overall I do like Pizza Express. You know what you are going to get, staff are friendly and efficient and the food never disappoints. But if the prices keep going up, I may have to stop going!
Pizza Express is a chain of Pizza Restaurants all over the world. They make all their pizza's onsite so I guess each pizza express is slightly different depending on the chef! however the one's I've been to have all been up to the same excellent standard.
I mostly use the Pizza Express in the centre of Warwick (parking is the biggest issue here!), it's a lovely old building, inside at the front it's quite old and cosy and as you go further in towards the back it's had a modern but tasteful extension less cosy and more space for larger parties.
I have to say these are some of the nicest pizza's I've tasted, they are the proper flat thin pizza's not too crispy and not too soggy! they are a little expensive and perhaps a little wasted on kids if I'm honest, I don't think they appreciate the differences in pizza's (well mine don't - they'd be happy with pizza hut anyday!)
There are many many pizza's to try, from the usual marguerita, chicken and mushroom to plenty of different cheese toppings and anchovies. My favourite is their goats cheese topping - yum!
You can add your own toppings or choose one of theirs and because it's made there and then if there's one you're picking from their menu and you don't want mushrooms lets say then they will make it without for you or swap it for something else.
The cheapest pizza is £6.95 Margherita and the most expensive is the Romana Pizza Etna £11.10 most are averaged at £8 to £10. There is also the option of Pasta if you prefer starting at £8.10.
The restaurants are always tidy and well kept and the staff are friendly and helpful. We go just the two of us for a treat night out away from the kids. The atmosphere is usually more cosy and calmer than pizza hut (in my opinion) and nicely decorated. The toilets are well kept and clean.
There is a desert menu which I have to say is a little expensive for what you get but they are lovely yummy puddings such as Chocolate fudge cake, Banoffee Pie, dough balls and nutella (I have been told to try these by a few people - they are supposed to be delicious), Cheesecake, Tiramasu all these are £4.80 or Sotto Zero Leggera £3.50.
They also offer Dolcetti which is a small pudding that comes with a coffee. I have to say when the say small - they mean small!! it is a tiny mouthful really! these start from £3.95.
Starters are the usual bready type's you'd get at Italian restaurants such as Bruschetta starting from £3.65.
I love Pizza Express pizza's, we try and usually use our tesco club card vouchers so it doesn't feel quite so expensive as it's our treat!!
As a family of 5, we don't get out much these days for family meals - just way too expensive. So, complete with a discount voucher we set off to our nearest one with friends (a family of 4). Food was average, nothing special just the usual thin based pizza, a bit soggy, garlic bread a bit flavourless - I've tasted better. Had a drink each (at £6 per drink!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Kids drinks £2.30 a drink. As a £10 meal deal we got the choice of a starter or pud - mine was a mini pud (lol) and that's being generous - more like microscopic. Anyway, never again £120 plus £15 gratuity!!!!! Stick to Pizza Hut where kids eat free and pizza is just fab and kids get free refills - you should be ashamed of yourselves Pizza Express especially in times of recession. Steer clear!!!!
Those of you following my recent reviews will no doubt be eagerly awaiting the final instalment of my kid's party trilogy. This time ,a family trip to Pizza Express to mark his 5th birthday.
The wife and I have fans of the Pizza Express franchise for a good 15 years or more, ever since we first discovered the welcome behind that mystical blue lighting back in Tunbridge Wells. We've visited a couple of dozen other restaurants since then stretching across the country from Newcastle to Newquay and I really can't recall any bad experiences amongst them.
So, somewhat handily given the names I picked out, this just happens to be a review of the Newark branch of the Pizza Express family.
Down by the Riverside...........
In keeping with so many of the other restaurants up and down the country, the setting has its own unique character. Situated right on the banks of the river Trent, it features a panoramic surround look out tower, complete with spirally staircase. Sitting up stairs in this section always feels like a bit of a treat. One of the most interesting aspects of the dining experience is the effect of the circular glass surrounds.
If you've ever visited the Whispering Gallery at St Paul's Cathedral you'll already know what I mean. Suffice to say that if you value a very private conversational dining experience, probably best to bear in mind that news travels very fast between those sitting nearest the windows!
The tried and trusted favourites
Now, in our household, as I'm sure is the case with many of you out there, rather like the way a successful football team has its spine of key players, there are certain dishes that are always first down on our team menu sheet.
Dough balls all round is a given. So simple, so crispy, so tasty - perfect.
For Grannie, the lasagne always gets top billing - not too big a portion - delicious sauce. For me, I can't contemplate an Italian meal without a giant wedge of cream and sponge coffee coated indulgence known as Tiramisu. Overall with so many varied and interesting Pizza and pasta combinations on offer, even the fussiest of consumers should be satisfied here - and all very reasonably priced typically in the £7-12 range for mains.
All well and good Paul I hear you cry, but what about us poor souls trying to keep the calorie intake under control.
As it happens, having chanced upon a timely article in Mens Health magazine I have some good news on that front. They came up with the 3 healthiest dishes they could find on the menu. From the starters they chose Crostini al Pomodoro - delicious Bruschetta Bread, tomatoes and garlic- coming in at under 200 calories - and just in case you are a weight watcher follower - that translates to roughly 2.5 pro points.
For me , the real bonus ball is in the main courses. There is a whole raft of Pizza toppings available in the Legerra format for only 500 calories (14-16 pro points), which is basically a Pizza with a hole in it stuffed with spinach and salad. They come attractively served up on a flexible chopping board style base - its part meal, part work of art.
Into the tricky dessert zone, the Sotto Zero is the option to go for - low fat frozen blackcurrant yoghurt in a Sundae style, with a couple of wafer thin chocolate sticks to boot for only 110 calories, bringing the grand total to sub 800. Apparently the Volcano pizza alone is 1100 calories, so you can see the benefit of choosing wisely here.
One other point worthy of note is that you can also get mini puddings or "Dolcetti" to go with your coffee - perfect for a little end of meal treat without stretching the gut beyond its natural limits!
For us, I think the real clincher with Pizza Express, is how good they are in our experience, at providing for young children. The Piccolo menu offers a full set of dishes from Doughballs (also available with nutella dip nowadays) to chocolate sundaes, even rounding off with a cappuccino style frothy milk for the sophisticated little souls. There's always a mini activity set and crayons, catering for a range of different ages.
But if you want an example of really going the extra mile, then look no further than our little man's birthday celebration. There we were, sat downstairs, just across the way from where the two chaps were happily preparing the dishes.
Now one of these particular gents, had his own unique style of preparing the pizza bases. Every couple of minutes or so, he would throw these huge flattened circles of dough up into the air, catching them effortlessly with all the style of a seasoned Cocktail bartender. As you can imagine, during the course of the evening, this became a source of particular fascination for our little one.
The very smiley chap in question, seemed to really enjoy having the extra mini audience, so much so that during a very brief pause in operations, he came out from behind the counter to chat to our highly excitable young observer. In his hand he held out a tiny patty of dough and asked if as a very special birthday treat whether he would like to have a go.
No second invitation needed. Enthusiasm abounding, our miniature dough flinger was very quickly into the swing of things. In the meantime the other chef decided that he needed a proper Pizza Express chef's hat to mark the occasion and duly crowned our little sunshine.
Alas, just as a new career was beckoning, little fella over reached his capabilities, with an extra high throw, that flew over our table, and managed to lightly graze past the left ear of the lady on the table behind us. Fortunately she took it all in good spirits, and our little dough machine duly agreed to step down while he was still at the top of his game...
I appreciate that everyone's dining expectations are different, and with any franchise, the quality of service will inevitably vary, but it certainly seems to me that Pizza Express on the whole have a very good formula that appeals to a very wide range of people.
I believe there's even a club you can join, with discounts on offer to loyal members and I genuinely admire the forward thinking and positive approach of the chain, always looking for new ways to improve service.
And as for our little boy - he's most definitely a fan for life now!!
In one word Yummy. Pizza express is one of my favourite restaurants. I have been to numerous different pizza express restaurants and have found them all to be clean, comfortable and very accommodating. Their food is cooked fresh on site and largely the kitchen had a glass front so you can exactly what is going on with the food.
They have a wide range of pizzas, pastas, salads, sides, and desserts to choose from that there really is something for everyone; all menus are also on their website so you can check before you go. They are very willing to add of take something off of your order if you wish. They are also willing to make things that are no longer on the menu. For example I love their fungi del bosso pizza which is no longer on the menu when I asked about this (in 5 separate restaurants) they were all still happy to make it for me at no extra cost. In terms of price you can have a good three course meal with a soft drink for about £20. Wine can be pricey but a bottle between 3 of you will only set you back about £5 each.
They are also always doing deals. It is very rare that I go to pizza express (I normally do about 3 to 4 times a month) when they do not have a deal on. Normally you can get pizzas at half price or buy 1 and get one for a £1. They also do a good two course set menu with a drink (wine, beer or soft drink) for £10 as a deal which I think is very reasonable. So you do need to watch for when the deals come up.
Well, this wasn't a pleasurable first experience for me at pizza express (Cardiff). Although many friends recommend the restaurant and enjoy good service and food I didn't get either in my first visit to the chain. We were a group of eleven that came in to sit at a large bench table and we ordered drinks and food as usual. They do peroni gran riserva, which is probably the best beer I have tasted, so a massive thumbs up on this front, but it is expensive, £3.90 per 330 ml. The pizzas arrived one by one and eventually we all got served, while not speedily, we weren't left waiting for long. I ordered the pizza pollo pancetta pizza, which came to me last of all and was very thin compared to the other's pizzas, and also had a huge black charred spot on it the size of my fist. At first I thought ill try to suck it up and cut a quarter out and eat the rest, but the pizza was so badly burnt I couldn't cut it without a loud stabbing motion. To give you an idea how burnt it was I poked a hole though the charred part of the pizza which just crumbled away. I came to my sense and just asked the waiter to take it away, and for the price of £10.25 I would've been an idiot to "suck it up" and eat a pizza which any fool should have the common sense to realise that it never should have got brought out to me in the first place. It was too late to order a replacement, and I couldn't afford the time to just wait around or leave the others waiting for my food to be brought out to me. The only other problem with our group was that someone also had a wrong pizza brought out to them. You may think that the place was extraordinarily busy and that such mistakes would happen, but there was less that a third of the seats occupied, and you should not put seats in a restaurant if you cannot cater to that many people, let alone a third of that number. The staff were not overstressed. No freebies or special gestures were offered (or requested) for the burnt pizza, and we left paying the full bill minus my pizza and service charge, which is fair. Overall, a pretty humiliating and awkward non-meal. Everyone else said they enjoyed theirs and we cracked jokes about so it wasn't too bad - could you imagine if this happened on a date though?
They had a decent selection and I think are relatively overpriced for what they offer, you can get a better meal for somewhere else irrespective of my experiences. Don't avoid exploring this place on my account, but just so you know, they served me something which never should've left the kitchen in the hopes I would just deal with it, and I almost did... IT GETS NO STARS!
In 1965 business entrepreneur Peter Boizot set up his first Pizza Express in London, and now Pizza Express restaurants can be found all over the country.
In my opinion it isn't your typical pizzeria like Pizza Hut, where you take the kids for a meal out. It is a restaurant that happens to specialise in Italian cuisine.
The tables are relatively well spaced and are comfortable to sit at. There isn't massive distances between you and the tables next to you, but when dining, you feel quite intimate with your party anyway....
The kitchen is actually in the dining area, so it is possible (and enjoyale) to watch the Chefs prepare the food.
I have found most of the staff to be very friendly and knowledgable about the restaurant. I have eaten at several Pizza Expresses (all around the country) and there seems to be a common trend, that although the staff are friendly and welcoming, they aren't the fastest moving individuals. In Edinburgh, we were actually given our drinks for free because of the wait we had to endure. We weren't particularly bothered as we were there to socialise, but as we had to ask for someone to take our order we were informed that our first round of drinks would be 'on the house'. Score!
I often find trying to get the bill and pay for the bill to take quite a length of time - however I am yet to be told that the entire meal was on the house ;-)
If you don't like Italian food, then don't go to Pizza Express. However, if you love pizzas, pastas and salads, then this restaurant chain is definitely worth visiting!
Pizza Express offer Starters, Main and Dessert as well as soft drinks, wines, beers and coffees.
Starters include garlic bread, brushcetta, salads, and my personal favourite - dough balls. The starter menu isn't the biggest, but I find that it doesn't need to be. Also the size of their starters are very good, literally big enough to get you started and wanting more!
There is a massive range in their main cause section! 5 pasta dishes, 4 salad dishes, and 15 pizzas (!!). You also definitely get value for money, with the pizzas being large (although thin based). I once had a pasta dish (decent sized), but I wasn't massively keen, but that was just me. I now live on the Pollo Ad Astra pizza.
Deserts include chocolate cake, icecream sundaes, tiramisu, cheesecake as well as other tasty treats.
There is also a take out option which yet I am to try (basically because I keep forgetting that Pizza Express offer this). However, I have seen the take out option in practice (turned out to be for Franz Ferdinand don't you know!).
Minus the odd dodgy moment with service, I do have one big issue. The knives! They don't cut the pizza!! They need a steak knife or something. I've actually contemplated taking a proper knife with me to use, but then it's sods law that the police would do a random search on me and I would get sent to prison for carrying a dangerous weapon....
Despite these little problems that are easily rectifiable, Pizza Express is my favourite restaurant, and sells my second favourite pizza! So for your next birthday, wedding anniversary or Christmas celebration, I suggest you book yourselves a table at your nearest Pizza Express!
Pizza Express is clean, reasonably priced (especially if you have a voucher) and consistent.The pizzas are of good standard, and pasta dishes are always tasty. They aren't outstanding, but you'll never have a bad meal at Pizza Express.My only qualm with their restaurants is the service. It often takes me about 20 minutes to get the bill, and then another 10 for the waiter/waitress to bring me the credit card machien to pay. Seems to be a universal problem across all their London restaurants - maybe paying London wages is too expensive?Would recommend the restaurant though - even if only to unadventurous people. Nice coffees at the end too, interesting dessert/coffe mixtures for those so inclined.
Although as I said in a previous review I do enjoy going to Pizza Hut and similar places I think my favourite has to be Pizza Express, I think the first time I went to a Pizza Express was on holiday, however recently a new one has opened in the town I live in so naturally I had to try it out. To me Pizza Express seems to be a slightly more adult version of Pizza Hut, if I was to take children out for a pizza I do not think I would choose Pizza Express, although I am sure it is child friendly it does come across as being more for adult customers.
I can only really comment of the restaurant that is in the town I live in, however it is very stylish with cream walls decorated with plants, a light wood floor and black metal tables and chairs. Upon entering the restaurant you are greeted by a member of staff you asks how many are in your party and takes you to your seat. I have only ever booked when planning to go for a meal at Pizza Express, however I think you can just turn up and hope they have a seat free but at weekends particularly it does get rather busy. Up one end of the restaurant is a very small bar area should you require anything and the till area, however there is no real need to go up to the bar as everything is served at the table and there are always plenty of staff around to take your orders. At my local Pizza Express there is an outdoor area which is quite nice in the summer however I am not sure whether this is the case for all Pizza Express restaurants. If I had one complaint about the restaurants it would be the table sizes, if you all have a pizza, along with drinks and any side orders there is hardly enough space to fit everything on, they really could do with being slightly bigger, however this is not a major problem for me and would not put me off going there in the future.
Menu and Pricing
As with Pizza Hut, Pizza Express do not only sell pizzas, but also sell a variety of pasta and salad dishes should you fancy something a bit different, however for me you cant go wrong with a pizza.
Pizzas - Pizza Express pizzas do a variety of pizzas including several different meat ones, vegetarian ones, spicy ones or even just margaritas if you are like me and like your pizzas plain. There are several different pizza bases available depending on your taste and they come in a variety of sizes. The prices range from just over £6 for a margarita to over £10 for a larger pizza with more toppings. Obviously the price really depends on the size pizza you choose and the amount of toppings you select as well. All of the pizzas on the menu are given their Italian name, however underneath this is a description written in English so that you know exactly what you are ordering.
Pasta - There are probably only about 5 or 6 different pasta dishes available however some are meat dishes and other vegetarian so there is something for everyone if you do not fancy a pizza. The prices for a pasta dish range between £8 and £9 depending on which option you go for. Although personally I have not tried the pasta dishes friends of mine have and I do think they are a little expensive as you do not get much for you money. Again as with the pizzas they are all listed in Italian with an English description written underneath.
Salad - Again as with the pasta there is not a huge variety of salad dishes compared to the pizzas however there are a few meat dishes and a few vegetarian ones as well. The price for a salad dish is just under £9 for all of them. I have not tried any of these either so am unsure exactly what you get with them but £9 to me sounds a bit expensive for a salad it would have to be really good for that price.
Starters - Pizza Express offer quite a large range of starters ranging from garlic bread dough balls, olives and various other dough based items. I have only ever had the garlic bread and the dough balls as I tend to find a starter and a pizza too much but I have to say I was very impressed with them. As with everything the price depends on what you are having but they typically range from just over £2 to just over £5 which personally I think is quite reasonable as it means a large part of you bill is not taken up with starters.
Drinks - Pizza Express off a range of drinks including wines, beers, spirits, soft drinks such as coke, lemonade as well as teas and coffees. The wines are priced either by the bottle which is between £10 and £15 or per glass which is just over £3, spirits are approximately £3 and beers depend on the type you have but are between £3.50 and £5.50. Soft drinks are reasonably cheap at just over £2 per glass. Overall I think compared to come places I have been the drinks are reasonably priced, some of the beers are quite expensive however you do get larger that normal bottles so are getting much more for you money.
Deserts - You usually find that pizza places tend to have a limited choice when it comes to deserts however this is not the case with Pizza Express I find that they have a large range of deserts consisting of items which are light and fruity or something very sickly and chocolaty they even sometimes have deserts suitable for sharing. They are also reasonably priced ranging between £3 and £5.
Pizza Express also offer a take away service which consists pretty much of the menu available in the actual restaurant, however I have not actually tried this service and have only ever eaten in the restaurants so I am unsure of how good it actually is.
Overall I am very impressed with the Pizza Express restaurants I have eaten in, they offer a wide variety of meals and deserts, there really is something for everyone including a children's menu and everything is quite reasonably priced. I feel some items are a little over priced but the food is of very good quality. You have a decent sized meal including drinks at a reasonable price. As I said before it definitely is a little less aimed at children compared to places like Pizza Hut and is slightly more aimed at adults. But all in all it is an excellent place to go for a meal whether you like pizza or would prefer something a bit different.