“ Enjoy the taste of Italy in England! Several locations in England to serve you. „
On a visit last year to Harpenden to see my friend's brother, we went for lunch at Sazio, an Italian restaurant in the High Street which they had both been to before and enjoyed. As you go in the restaurant has a light, airy feel to it, with leather clad sofas and casual tables in a smart bar area, and some tables for dining over to the right. We were seated upstairs, where the general décor is modern yet discreet with a lot of cream, sage green and a green-beige finish to the leather chairs and plain or classically patterned walls. There was plenty of light from the windows and a number of large mirrors to make the room feel very spacious. We were seated by the window, and brought some menus. They had a good value lunch menu available Monday-Saturday with a main course for £5.95 which included about 10 dishes - 7 pastas and 3 pizzas which included two veggie options. It is certainly a good deal, but we decided to go for the wider selection off the a la carte menu. We were seated quite a while chatting before our drinks orders were taken, and we did have a bit of a wait for them to come before we could give our food order. For starters I ordered the bruschetta (£4.90), whilst others had Insalata di Capra (Goat's Cheese salad at £5.50) and Insalata Tricolore (£4.90). There was a little wait until they arrived. I thought the portions to be quite generous for starters and certainly my bruschetta was towering with toppings. There were lots of chunks of fresh tomato mixed with finely chopped red onion and garlic in olive oil on a single piece of ciabatta. It was very generous, but I think an extra piece of ciabatta would have been nice to mix in with the zillions of over-flowing tomato chunks. The Tricolore salad had good sized pieces of mozzarella and avocado with chunky slices of beef tomatoes and a few black olives. The goats cheese salad was described as 'very good', the cheese was roasted, and served with pine nuts, tomato, crostini and balsamic and salad leaves. It certainly looked nice and is on my mental list to try for myself should we return. Our mains were all pasta based, although they do a range of grilled meats (steaks, veal, calves liver) and fish dishes from £12.90. The pizza selections looked to be varied also, starting at a competitive £7.10 for the Margherita. I chose the Ravioli di Spinaci (£8.50) which was spinach and ricotta stuffed fresh pasta ravioli (one side traditional pasta, the other side spinach pasta, which I thought was a nice touch) it was served in a white wine, tomato and basil sauce. The sauce was not to rich and the basil flavour quite mild, I appreciated this subtlety as basil can sometimes over power a dish if used to excess and I think they got it just right. The others both had Linguine Salmone (£9.90) which was linguine with salmon and prawns in a creamy sauce, I was informed that is tasted very nice and the sauce wasn't too rich. I visited the first floor toilets (I believe there are ground floor ones also), and there are two spacious cubicles, which are clean and well decorated in the same scheme as the rest of the restaurant. At first I thought that the taps didn't work as I couldn't get any water out - you need to move the lever outwards rather than forward and back which I was trying. There was plenty of liquid soap and a super-power drier (the type that make your hands look mis-shapen). I thought the service was very good, our server was polite but friendly, carrying three warm plates around a child lying prostrate in the middle of the floor and remembered what everyone ordered without having to ask. We did have to wait a little while for the food, but it was all hot and freshly prepared and suited our easy Saturday lunchtime catch up. Afterwards, the others had coffees. The total bill for two courses for three people, soft drinks and two coffees came to about £55 which I think is good value, and certainly we would happily return here should another opportunity present itself.
Sazio is an Italian Restaurant franchise with branches in London, serving a range of Pizza and Pasta Dishes, along with other starters, desserts and so on. +++LOCATION+++ It is a relatively small franchise and has less than 10 branches, mostly in Northwest London: Pinner, Hatch End, Harrow etc. These are easy to access and close to urban public transport nodes and town centres. +++ATMOSPHERE+++ The Pinner branch has a very modern and cosy feel, up market and haute cuisine. It is quite glamourous and special, feels high class. It is well ventilated with open windows making it light and airy during the day, but atmospheric and dim at night. +++FOOD+++ The food is the main issue, and I have to admit to being very impressed by the range and the quality. The spaghetti bolognese tastes original and genuine, with a sharp tomato sauce, while the cabonara is creamy and gorgeous. Other dishes such as the seafood risotto is a must. The Pizzas are handmade and crunchy crust, with lots of filling, not too salty. They have a large range to choose from. They have lots of different foods, side orders include garlic bread, potatoes, caramelised onions and so on. +++SERVICE+++ Staff at the pinner branch are extremely friendly and kind, and will always ask if you are satisfied, whilst not annoying or pester you to order. Service is quick and food is fresh. They also will happily grate cheese or offer pepper and so on when appropriate and do not dawdle and stare whilst you eat. +++PRICE+++ The prices are relatively acceptable and are definitely not overpriced. Prepare around 10 pounds per person would be more than enough for a main meal, drinks and dessert. +++OVERALL+++ Having visited the restaurant several times, I am equally happy and satisfied each time and always leave full and happy. The food is pleasant, original and genuine tasting, whilst not overpriced. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone who likes Italian or ethnic foods, or would just like to try something new.