“ Address: 61 South St / Chichester / PO19 1EE / West Sussex / England „
Chichester's Prezzo is located in the centre of town, down South street, where the vast majority of Chichester's restaurants seem to be located. My boyfriend and I have been to Prezzo a few times - it's one of our favourite 'local restaurants' as the food is reasonably priced and the building is beautifully atmospheric.
What is it?
In case you are not familiar with the chain - they are an Italian restaurant so think lots of pasta and pizza and you're in the right direction. The restaurants tend to be tastefully decorated with low atmospheric lighting - this particular branch is situated in an old building and they've really let the character show through with exposed beams and stained glass panels.
What's the food like?
Fairly generic italian standards, but decent tasting in my opinion. There is nothing unusual and it's not the best tasting food in the world but you will get a reasonable tasting, reasonable sized plate of food. The pizzas are thin base and the pasta is things like carbonara (what I tend to get when I visit).
When the food is served up you are asked if you would like any condiments, parmesan cheese etc.
How much will it cost me?
Price wise you can expect to pay an average of £7-10 for a main, with starters and desserts being roughly £3.50-5 each. On certain days of the year they also provide set 3 course menus that still have reasonable choice on them - most recently was the valentines menu for £18.95 per person.
What are the staff like?
Generally speaking my experiences with the staff have been fairly good - they're pleasant enough, although not the most chatty. I've noticed that virtually all of them seem to be Polish and sometimes I struggle to understand what they're telling me is on the specials menu as they seem to say it very fast and quietly! They do however, ask all the appropriate questions - Are you ready to order? How is your meal? etc
My most recent experience:
My boyfriend and I decided to go to Prezzo for Valentines day this year as we could book a table online. We left it fairly late to book (less than 48 hours) and the latest time slot available was 5pm so we took that, but even when we left an hour later there were still plenty of empty tables - on the plus side though at least they weren't trying to cram in as many people as possible and hurrying people through their meals.
We were shown to a table, which quite frankly was a horrible table - it was a four seater but with only 2 seats, both on the same side (so we were sitting next to each other) and there was a gigantic lamp behind my seat which I kept bashing my head on the corner of every time I sat up straight, so not the best thought out table placing in the world! I probably should have said something at the time, but I don't like to make a fuss.
Both the regular and set menu were offered to us and our order was taken within a few minutes. There were approximately 10 minutes between ordering and getting the starters, then each subsequent course so fairly good timing. I had stuffed mushrooms for starters which were nice, but possibly lacking in a little flavour, the carbonara I had for mains was flavourful. The biggest complaint I have with the food is the dessert - I went for the chocolate fudge cake which I assumed would be hot, it wasn't but that's not the end of the world, what I didn't like was that it was very heavy and stodgy.
Quite a few times I had to ask for a glass of water, before we actually got it - either they kept forgetting or they didn't want to give away free drinks (I wanted tap water).
The nice extras were that a lighted candle was placed on the table and also a single red rose - I thought these were nice touches that helped set the atmosphere off.
I'd have to say this was actually our worst visit to Chichester Prezzo - it wasn't bad, but there were a few niggly issues. Never the less it won't put us off and we'll certainly visit again.
Overall I would recommend Prezzo in Chichester - prices are fair, food is decent if a little boring, the building is beautiful and the atmosphere is good.
Prezzo in Chichester is very welcoming and we always go there. Inside it is very cosy with exposed wooden beams and low ceiling.
The tables at the back of the resaurant are just a little to close together, and you feel like you are sat with other people and they can hear everything you say. However, the rest of the resaurant is nicely spaced.
The food has always been up to a good standard. The range and choice of food is good, I am slowly making my way through the menu and try to have something different every time and I have never been disappointed. In the summer you can eat outside in the small courtyard.
The house wine is a good quality and there is a nice choice of beverages.
I have always found the staff very friendly and helpful.
The prices of the food and drink are reasonable and you do not feel like you are being ripped off.
I will be going back very soon
Finding somewhere for a late lunch on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Chichester might not be an easy thing to do. The crowds were out. We decided to try Pizza Express first, as my son and his partner had recently visited the one in Gunwharf Quays and had been giving me ecstatic descriptions of their new ice cream. On entering, however, we were greeted by rubbish on the floor, balloons here and there, and noise everywhere. We made a quick exit and decided to try Prezzo, which a friend had recommended to me.
What a difference. The restaurant is housed in what was formally the White Horse pub, as can be seen from the stained-glass windows and the odd horse's head dotted around. There are oak beams, pillars and shelving, with lighting from spotlights on the beams. I can imagine that it might be a little dingy on a grey day, but that afternoon there was plenty of sunshine streaming through the windows. Arty vases, painted statues of a nun, a chef and a lady in evening dress amongst others jostled alongside huge jars of pickles and a grandfather clock to decorate the shelves.
There were several free tables, and a waitress showed us to one near the front of the restaurant. I did feel that I sank down a little too far into the leather chair, and I noticed later that the seating further back looked a little more modern. We had scarcely been handed our menus when a waiter came to take our drinks order. My son and his partner ordered fresh fruit juice at £2.30 whilst I chose a Fruitiser at £2.05. We were asked if we would like some marinated olives (£2.45), and we decided we would. The drinks were soon served, but the olives took a few minutes more.
Prezzo's menu has the usual sections you would expect to find in an Italian chain restaurant, with starters, pasta, oven pasta dishes, pizza, risotto, specialities and salads. Perhaps the only difference is that Prezzo also has a section for roast chicken dishes, although I understand that in their newer branches this is replaced by a section for calzone, or folded pizzas. On arrival the waitress had shown us the 'specials' board which featured just one main course: fusilli pasta with asparagus, mushrooms, roasted peppers and green pesto at £7.95. It sounded healthy and I hadn't had pesto for a long time, so I made that my choice. My son opted for traditional lasagne at £8.55, and his partner ordered a pizza with prosciutto ham, mushrooms, marinated olives, fresh rosemary, mozzarella and tomato at £7.95. I was pleased to see that a special knife with a serrated edge was brought after the pizza was ordered, as I have often had difficulty cutting through pizza with the usual blunt restaurant knives.
The olives arrived in a small, narrow dish; there were a mixture of black and green. We savoured these whilst awaiting our main courses. Conversation was easy as the music was not too loud. I felt as though Pizza Express was on another planet - for a family with young children it would be the obvious choice, but if you want to relax in a more peaceful atmosphere, Prezzo is the place to go.
We didn't have to wait long for our main courses to be served. The waitress offered us grated parmesan, which I accepted, and also chilli oil for the pizza. My dish of fusilli pasta was huge, and delicious as it was, I was unable to finish it. I made sure I didn't leave any of the peppers, asparagus or generous mushroom slices, but good as the pesto was, it didn't allow me to get through all the pasta. My son was so enthusiastic about the lasagne that it made me think I would have to sample it next time I visit Prezzo. The pizza was good too: not too thick, and the slice of ham had been left whole, folded, and then covered with cheese. We had no complaints.
We asked to see the dessert menu and found that there were two kinds of cheesecake, pannacotta, sticky toffee pudding or fudge cake, all for either £4.25 or £4.50. Then, below these, we noticed
ice cream and hazelnut bombe, vanilla ice cream covered in chopped hazelnuts with a meringue centre, for a mere £2.95. Feeling rather full already, we all three opted for the ice cream bombe. It wasn't long before the desserts were brought in frosted glass dishes with long spoons. We all agreed that we had made the right choice. None of us ordered coffee, but I did noticed that all the hot drinks were priced under £2 which I feel is very reasonable compared to most establishments.
Our bill came to £42.40, to which we added a tip, making it just over £15 a head for two courses plus olives and a drink.
The toilets are at the back of the restaurant on the ground floor, so there are no problems for disabled customers. The ladies was certainly very clean.
The service at Prezzo was extremely polite and efficient throughout the time we were there. We have noticed recently in one or two other restaurants that the service is good initially and through the main course but then drops when we are trying to order dessert or ask for the bill. This certainly was not the case at Prezzo, although I should say that we arrived at 2.30pm and I realise things may be different at busier times.
I hope that I will have the opportunity to visit Prezzo again and lament the lack of a branch in Southsea. I don't know if other Prezzo restaurants are in such pleasant surroundings as the one in Chichester, of course. It isn't an atmosphere that will suit young children, but I would definitely recommend Prezzo to adults looking for good Italian food at reasonable prices in a relaxing environment.
61 South Street
Also posted on Ciao UK under my username denella.