“ 146 High Street, Aldeburgh, Suffolk IP15 5AQ. Tel:01728 454452 „
Prezzo is one of my favourite restaurant chains and i've been in quite a few Prezzos in my time - so when we were in Aldeburgh in January for our anniversary, there was really only one restaurant we could visit! The good thing about Prezzo (and this applies to all of them, not just the one in Aldeburgh) is that the menu is so varied - there's pasta, pizza, calzone, grills and specials meaning that you'll always find something that everyone likes. The Aldeburgh Prezzo is on the high street, right in the middle of the town and is a lo bigger inside the restaurant than it looks from the street oustide. The decor is modern yet welcoming with a lot of neatral colours and comfy chairs. We went on a Thursday night and the restuarant was busy when we arrived, but not packed (which is good beacuse we hadn;t reseved a table!). The staff were very nice and attentive but not annoying - which is something that's easy to get wrong judging by the bad experiences we have all had with waiting staff! I had penne con salmone as my main and my husband had a calzone (folded pizza) and both were delicious and cooked to perfection. We also had a tomato and red onion side salad and garlic bread with balsamic glazed onions to share, which was also very nice. We ordered our drinks before our food, and when we reordered water later on when our original drinks had been drunk, they offered us a jug of filtered tap water instead of automatically selling us expensive bottled water, which I though was good. They also served the water in the same way as bottled water (with ice and lemon) which meant we didn't have to feel stingy! Prezzo normally have a 2for1 style offer on main dishes during the week so it is always worth checking their website before you go and downloading a voucher. The menus are also all avilable online so you can decide what you're having before reaching the restaurant. We walked to the restaurant from our hotel on the sea front, but there is parking right outside on the road if you drive. We can't wait to go back next time we're in Aldeburgh :-)
My first visit to Prezzo, Aldeburgh, was on a bank holiday Monday. It was raining of course so I hoped Aldeburgh wouldn't be too crowded with tourists - well the seafront wasn't - they were all in Prezzo. I was politely told that without a booking there was no chance of a table. Wiser but hungrier I returned home and tried their on-line booking system, it worked a treat, really easy to reserve a table at half-hour options from 12 noon onwards, the timeslot you chose confirmed immediately by email - I'd highly recommend it unless you have special requirements that need a telephone call to explain. They have their menu on-line as well so you can study it in advance - though in hindsight that doesn't bode well for the chance of a chef's special featuring in-season local produce. But to be fair it is a chain, and consistency wherever you are is a plus for many people. Back I went on Tuesday at the appointed time to find, of course, the place almost deserted. We were greeted and seated quickly and courteously by a waitress who, from her accent, was possibly an authentic Italian; personally though I'm a sucker for American-style service with a broad smile and practised (won't say fake) bonhomie and there was none of that - she looked like she wouldn't be sorry when her shift was over. Restaurant ambience was good - stylish premises in good decorative order, and because we were the first customers we were given a good table with a fine view of Aldeburgh High Street. Food arrived in a reasonable time but unfortunately it didn't impress me - and is the reason for only a three star review. It wasn't that the food was a major problem at all, it was just ordinary; (if I could I'd actually award 3.5 stars, but 4 would be too many). My starter was crab cakes which were rather dry, with mayonaisse that tasted as if it was from a Hellmans jar. For main course I had a Napolitana pizza, a nice crispy thin crust, anchovies and black olives on top - every bit as good as a superior pizza from a supermarket chiller cabinet. And that's the nux of my disappointment - if I can cook exactly the same at home why bother going to a restaurant where the food's so much more expensive? What I want from an Italian restaurant is a chef who'll dazzle my palate with food that bursts of flavour, the waft of exotic herbs, and inspired use of exclusive olive oil plus a secret ingredient or two. What Prezzo served was simply a bland product, admittedly at a reasonable price - but then other chains are cheaper and I still can't match MacDonalds burger or The Colonel's Southern Chicken at home. So in summary the Prezzo offering isn't one I'll likely be tempted by again. I wouldn't object to going back, I just don't see a compelling reason.