Zizzi (and all London pizza chain restaurants, really)

I love that in the UK there are no Applebees or Macaroni Grills (though there are TGI Fridays of which refuse to step foot in on principle). The UK has its own class of restaurant chains, and in the midst are the highly popular Pizza Express and Zizi, which are essentially the same restaurant with different toppings.

Both Zizzi and Pizza Express would not be nearly as popular as they are without vouchers (or coupons to my American friends). In the recession, the two have been synonymous with the word, and if you enter one with out a 2 for 1 deal, you’ve very much been had.  It’s been said, therefore, that no one in London has not been to at least one of the two in the last 6 months. It’s a good business plan.

So when my friend asked if I wanted to grab a bite to eat, I said yes, under the condition that we go cheaply.  Zizzi, it was.

We met at the Charlotte Street location, which is just a 5-minute walk from my office.  I’ve been here a few times with mixed results. Lasagna, good. Salad, not so good. Pizza, it depends.

Tonight I had the Sofia Pizza – spicy chicken, sausage, pepperoni, green chilies, fresh mozzarella and rosemary. Not being the biggest fan of pepperoni, I swapped it for olives. The pizza itself was just ok. I could see how it might be good if I got it straight out of the oven.  Instead, it tasted like it had been waiting around for a while. The chicken and sausage was dry, the fresh mozzarella just more like normal mozzarella, and the crust very difficult to cut through. Even so, the flavours were pleasant, and the rosemary was a nice touch.

Zizi Charlotte Street Sofia Pizza

But the most amazing thing about my experience at Zizzi was the service.  The UK is notoriously bad for restaurant service.  Unless you’re at a really high-end restaurant, you can expect to be treated like a nuisance (and even there there are probably far too many exceptions).

Tonight, however, I was completely blown away.  Our server apologised for making us wait barely five minutes when we sat down. When I asked for no pepperoni, she actually offered a different ingredient, hence the olives. She came back shortly after we started eating to ask if everything was alright – even the manager did the same!  For my American friends, this may not seem like much, but here – and in a chain restaurant – this was nothing short of a miracle.

I’m willing to overlook my tough pizza crust, and give this one a thumbs up. Service with a smile goes a long way.

Zizzi
33 Charlotte Street
Fitzrovia, London, W1T 1RR
View on a map

Through the end of June, it’s buy one main, get the second for 10p. Download your voucher here.

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3 comments

  1. If you want to be blown away again by excelent customer service and remarkable food quality I would suggest to you to try pizza Lupa. You don’t have to go out in order to experience pizza from a real kitchen, where food is prepared by hand, and pizzas are cooked in a traditional brick oven – pizza Lupa will deliver it to your doorstep. Lupa delivers pizza in Crouch End, Canary Wharf, London Bridge and Hampstead areas. Their toppings are very unique and they are obsessed about customer’s service. Last time my pizza was delivered 15min late but it didn’t spoiled my mood at all – driver was very polite and appologetic. Monday morning I received a courtesy call from Lupa – they apologised to me again for their mistake and credited my account with £20. Fantastic! Next Friday i’ll go on their website order another pizza again.

  2. Hello,

    As you can see from the commemt, it’s about Pizza Lupa. I have a friend working there and he asked me to say a few words about them. I really like their pizzas and the service, so I wrote what I tryly believe. Thank you

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