Reviewed by Stuart Percival
Zizzi in Chester has quite a central location; it is close to lots of bars, restaurants and shops and is perfectly placed for those visiting Chester for a day’s shopping or a night out. The restaurant is close to public transport links, but I chose to drive and as roadside parking is very difficult in this area of Chester, I parked in an NCP car park opposite the restaurant – very convenient but quite pricey (costing over £8 for just two hours).
The exterior of the restaurant is very crisp and clean and (much like the interior) quite modern in design, although one thing I did notice that is not so positive is that the access is via steps which would cause problems for anybody needing wheelchair access or perhaps those with prams, etc…
Inside the restaurant is tastefully decorated in a fairly minimalist style and unlike many other restaurants, the tables are arranged very well giving all customers the maximum amount of space rather than just squeezing in as many as possible like a tin of sardines!
The menu at Zizzi is really quite varied and has many options for vegetarians and people with special dietary requirements like those requiring gluten free cooking. There is something for everyone, from pastas and risottos to various meats, pizzas and salads; in addition, there is a great dessert menu and the drinks menu has everything from soft drinks to cocktails.
For starters, we chose the Arancini and Bruschetta (the new starter on the menu). Arancini is a vegetarian dish of risotto balls with mozzarella and peas in a breadcrumb coating that is served with a tomato dip on the side. It was very well made and I would certainly order it again, although if I were to be completely honest, it would be even better if there was a slightly stronger flavour to the Arancini. My fiancée had the Bruschetta starter and found it to be a pleasant and refreshing dish, although she would probably not order it again. The Bruschetta is described on the menu as ‘Smoked tomatoes & confit baby plum tomatoes on garlic brushed ciabatta, topped with riserva cheese & basil’ and although this is a fairly accurate description, my fiancée felt the proportions of the ingredients were slightly out in this dish. She loves cooking and suggested to me that she would have enjoyed the starter more if there was slightly more ciabatta rather than just two very small pieces because there wasn’t enough bread in relation to the amount of topping served. She also felt and a finer balance between the different types of tomatoes would have really improved the dish because there the very small amount of smoked tomatoes were overwhelmed by a fairly huge pile of baby plums.
We both enjoyed our main courses; I had the Classic Pepperoni Campagna and my fiancée had the Casareccia Pollo Picante. I could not fault the pizza; it came with pepperoni, ham, mushrooms, mozzarella and thyme (all of which are regular choices of mine when choosing pizza toppings). The pizzas in the ‘Classic’ section on the menu all come with the option of a standard or rustica base (which is slightly larger and thinner), both taste similar really, it just depends whether you prefer a softer or crispier base. The Casareccia Pollo Picante is a pasta dish that is served with spicy piccante chicken in a creamy sauce with fresh tomato and baby spinach. My fiancée really enjoyed this dish and mentioned that if the chicken was left out and a little more spinach was added it would make a delicious vegetarian option; this is not on the menu as an option, but I am sure the staff at Zizzi would have no issue with accommodating such a request.
By the time it came to dessert, we were both quite fully so we chose to share a dessert and have a coffee rather than have a dessert each. We opted for the Chocolate and Banana Calzone which is described on the menu as ‘Sweet, warm dough filled with banana, chocolate sauce and mascarpone cream with crema gelato and hot toffee sauce’. It was very nice and the combination of ingredients was definitely a hit!
The service was very good in this restaurant and I would be happy to recommend it to others visiting the area.
I would award Zizzi, Chester with an overall score of 4 out of 5 stars.
For more information, to view menus or to book a table visit www.zizzi.co.uk/venue/index/chester.
Zizzi Ristorante. 27 Newgate Street, CH1 1DQ | 01244 341414