“ Address: Unit 2B Savoy Cresent / Theatre District / Milton Keynes / MK9 3PU / Telephone: 01908 540222 „
Zizzi is a pretty functional pizza and past style restaurant in the centre pf what is known as the Theatre District in Milton Keynes, I have eaten there a couple of times now, once in the summer when it was nice to sit outside and dine al fresco and once in the winter when it was not so pleasant as I found the whole restaurant to be rather cold. Zizzi are a chain so I guess the menu will be pretty standard across the whole range.
It is a large open plan place so it is ideal for large groups to attend as they have an upstairs dining balcony as well, the one downside is that the toilets are also up stairs so not ideal if you are not good with stairs however I assume the disabled toilet is on the ground floor.
The food is pretty standard and is done perfectly well, the problem is that it is good enough without really having anything to get excited about, they have a nice enough range of salads and the portions are really generous, the other half enjoyed his spicey chicken pizza and there was certainly lots of choice with a range of pasta dishes and some more pricey meat options. Prices for a main course range for about £7 up to £15 so it is not too bad and they have a prety wide range of wines available and these are moderately priced as well.
The service was pretty good without you feeling rushed in any way and our waitress was nice and bubbly. We did not try any of the desserts on either visit so I have no idea how good these are but at the £4-5 range they are not cheap.
It is perfectly acceptable and convenient place to eat however it is nothing special and to be honest I would probably opt for Pizza Express instead if I had a choice between the two.
What Zizzi say:
We love simple Italian cookery - there's nothing tricksy about it - pizza, pasta, salads, risotto, carne, pesce (that's meat and fish). It starts with the ingredients - fresh, in season and well prepared. We have signature dishes that have become much-loved classics, but we're also constantly dreaming up new ones.
Our restaurants are run the Italian way - passionate and homely with a little flair. Each one's a bit different in character, architecture, age and feel; think Robert De Niro with a regional accent. Wherever you are, something you can always be assured of is a warm welcome.
What i say:
Myself and partner were staying in the Jurys Inn, Milton Keynes with a group of 10 other people aged 21 - 40.
We were looking for somewhere local and since Zizzi was right behind the hotel we decided this would be the best idea (close staggering distance).
A few hours before we phoned to book for a table for 12 at 8pm. They were very happy to accommodate at very late notice on a Saturday evening.
The restaurant itself is fantastic. From the outside it looks very modern and has a big glass front which i believe is opened in the summer. There are some tables outside but it was a chilly night so we opted for the inside.
Inside as you walk in there is a steep staircase to the right which leads up to the toilets.
On the back wall is there bar and the kitchen which you can see right into. They have a huge pizza oven which lights up the whole restaurant but unfortunately helps to make the place very hot!!
There are plenty of tables and chairs for various sized parties.
We had a long table which was right opposite the pizza oven which was slightly unbearable for a few of our group who were right at the top of the table. I was sat by the window so the heat wasn't too bad for me.
Our Italian waiter was very helpful and a good laugh. He took the orders well and spoke very good English.
The prices of the food are quite reasonable for a modern restaurant but the drinks prices are slightly more steep. A good bottle of wine is £20 - £30 which i guess is typical of most places nowadays. But when you spend a lot of time in somewhere like wetherspoons or hungry horse like i do, it seems a little more expensive.
The food however was very tasty.
To start i shared a plate of garlic bread with my partner. The garlic wasn't very strong but the bread was flat and like a pizza base and it was very tasty. This was £3.75 and wasn't a bad price as there was quite a lot of it.
For main i had the Lasagne, which came in a small ceramic bowl with a small side salad. The lasagne itself was delicious, the pasta was very moist and melted in my mouth and the cheese on top was very nice. But the size of it was a bit of a let down, it was tiny and i was still hungry afterwards. The price for the Lasagne was £8.50.
My partner had a pizza and i tried some of his too. It seemed nice and he was happy.
To share we had a bowl of the Tuscan potatoes, which were basically like little roast potatoes. They were £2.95 and we received 5 very small potatoes and really weren't worth the money.
For dessert i had the Panettone Al Forno which is basically Bread and butter pudding. On the menu it says allow 15 minutes for it to bake. It was delicious and so filling i could barely eat half of it. I am a huge fan of bread and butter pudding and i have to say it is probably one of the best i have ever had. I highly recommend it. The price for this was £5.25.
It was one of our groups 40th birthdays so we had a cake for him, the staff were more than happy to bring this out with candles and even sang for him. They then gave us plates and forks to eat it with.
All in all the food was very nice, it seemed to vary in the amount of food you would receive and you definitely needed a 3 course meal to leave feeling full.
Upstairs were the toilets and were quite confusing. They don't have separate mens and women's, but instead of separate unisex toilets. You push the sections of wall to get into the toilets. Very strange and very hard to figure out after 2 bottles of wine!
But the whole experience was nice, i probably wouldn't go there again if i was paying myself but since i didn't pay for the meal i didn't mind so much.
Zizzi are a chain of Italian Restaurants in a similar style to Bella Pasta in that every one pretty much carries an identical menu and thus as a consumer you would expect to get a consistent experience differentiated only by the level of service and the décor of the restaurant. I have visited the Zizzi in the heart of Milton Keynes Theatre District on a number of occasions now and I have to be honest it is more out of convenience rather than any undying loyalty to the place. This is due to the fact that every three months or so a group of former work colleagues meet up and Milton Keynes is a central place and in the group there are two vegetarians so as Italian always has some good options we tend to stick with it.
This restaurant is a large cavernous glass fronted building with the seating covering two floors, there is a large open plan ground floor, as you enter the bar is to your right with a waiting area adjacent to it (during our visit just prior to xmas the waiting area had been replaced by tables in anticipation of extra bookings). Straight ahead of you is an open plan kitchen arrangement from which the food is issued and to your left is a flight of stairs that leads to an upstairs balcony which overlooks the ground floor and has additional seating and the rest rooms.
The front of the restaurant is made up of retractable glass frames so that in summer these can be folded back and there is additional seating outside which can be quite nice to take advantage of on a hot summer night as it is located within a pedestrian area and surrounded by similar bars and restaurants. However in winter this design causes a problem. If you the add the fact that it has a high ceiling which goes with an exposed pipe work design and the place is just too cold, you get draughts from the windows and the door being constantly opened and shut as people arrive and leave. Now I do not feel the cold as bad as some but other members of my group were not so fortunate, one person actually sat with their hands over the candle on the table at one point and the staff informed us that there was nothing they could do but would pass our concerns on to the management.
As far as the food goes, well it was competent without having anything about it to make me recommend it over similar venues, The menu is predominantly pasta and pizza dishes and there is plenty of choice. I was rather disappointed with the range of starters on offer with other half being some bread based option, on a previous visit I had opted for the Bruschetta Genovese which combined chicken, pesto and spring onions and was quite nice and a friend said that the Crostini Formaggio di Capra which was grilled goats cheese and balsamic onions was nice as well.
The choice of main course was much better with a wide range of pizza options, I ordered a Pollo al Rosamarino which was chicken and mushroom with fresh rosemary, there were about six large strips of chicken breast on it and it was very tasty and quite large, certainly more than enough, the only problem was that even if I had wanted to I would not have eaten it all because my the time I got half way through it was already cold, it arrived hot it just did not retain the heat, now I'm not the fastest eater but this was not good in my opinion. They have a good range of pasta and salad options and on previous visits I have enjoyed the risotto options in particular the Rissoto Di Gamberi di Broccoli which at £10.95 is the most expensive main course on the menu. Most of the pizzas are in the £8.25 price range with the starters around the £4 mark and none above £5.
One area the restaurant does excel in is the desserts and the Torta Limone is to die for, with a zesty fresh lemon taste that is very refreshing to the palate. If you want to load on the calories then go for the Banana Con Cioccolata, layers of banana, chocolate and toffee sauce on a Belgian Waffle. There is a decent wine selection, by the glass it is about £5 while the average bottle will set you back about £14 on average.
The service was polite and pretty efficient although it does seem to have a fairly steady turnover of staff as on the last two occasions we have been served by someone in training. The one thing it does have going for it is that there is plenty of room so accommodating large groups is not a problem and there is a decent amount of spacing between the tables. We have always visited during the week so have never bothered with booking however at weekends or for large groups this would be essential.
Access to the restaurant does not involve any steps so it s suitable for those in wheel chairs and I assume there are disabled toilets on the ground floor as there is no loft up to the balcony area. The toilets are clean which is always a good sign and seem to be checked on a regular basis.
In summary this is an acceptable place to go in the summer as you can take advantage of some al fresco dining however for our last visit the lack of heat did affect our enjoyment of the meal and I can honestly say that the dessert with a nice warm coffee was the highlight of the evening, that and some excellent company.
If you want to check out the menu then click on the link
Thanks for reading and rating my review.