Zizzi, the Italian menu based chain restaurant, seems to be expanding fairly fast. So fast infact that their rather poor website hasn’t had chance to add their latest offering in Edinburgh’s West End to the list of Zizzi restaurants in Edinburgh: only the restaurants at Ocean Terminal and Edinburgh Quay are currently listed. Anyhow this Zizzi has been recently opened and takes the building that was formerly a cheap pub with a pool table (I can’t remember the pubs name) on Queensferry St. Thankfully Zizzi looks rather nicer now and boasts a nice light exterior and well placed dark wood tables inside.
On a positive note the Zizzi website does have an online menu, although it is stored as images and not the simpler, more accessible text.
There were four of us eating and we had no trouble getting a table; about 2.30pm on Sunday the restaurant wasn’t at all busy. The menu is simple and contains pizzas, pasta and four al forno dishes, including the obligatory lasagne. The only beer Zizzi serve is bottled Peroni - it would have been nice to have a larger selection or perhaps this lager on draft. It looks like every Zizzi restaurant has exactly the same menu though, whether you be in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Nottingham or London. One of our party ordered a glass of Chardonnay but was disappointed to find it served rather warm. This was sent back and replaced with a slightly colder glass, but it still wasn’t chilled to the expected temperature. Perhaps this was a bottle just put in the fridge, but you would expect restaurants to serve this properly chilled.
Anyhow for starter we shared two garlic mozzarella pizza breads with caramelised balsamic onions (¬£3.75 each). It’s good to see the chefs working away, as Zizzi’s open layout permits, and Zizzi’s huge oven is on full display to diners, which is a great feature. We also had marinated Olives (¬£1.95). The pizza bread was a large portion size and was good, especially the parts smothered in cheese and containing the delicious onions. It was a little dry though in parts where there was no topping. Still this pizza bread is a good choice for sharing in a group, and the olives were decent too.
For main course I and a friend chose Ravioli. Mine was ‘Ravioli con Pollo Perperenata’ i.e. Filled with chicken and roast peppers in a spicy tomato and cream sauce. My friends was ‘Ravioli Funghi di Bosco’ i.e. Filled with wild mushrooms and ricotto, with tarragon and rocket. Both of these dishes costs ¬£8.25 and provided a large serving of very decent ravioli. My tomato and cream sauce was worth a particularly complementary mension. My other two friends opted for pizza and pasta, where Zizzi will (between two persons) serve half the pizza and half the pasta to each person. The portion size was again huge. I think Zizzi have a decent reputation for their pizzas and these did not disappoint. The ‘Pizza Sofia’ contained chicken and pepperoni: it was extremely good, and one of the better pizzas I have tasted in Edinburgh. Pasta dishes are around the ¬£7/¬£8 mark and pizzas between ¬£6 and ¬£8.
With very little space left for food, but with the thought of work on Monday morning, there was no option but to go for desert. The tiramisu at ¬£3.75 was very decent as was the Torta Limone at ¬£3.95. After three courses I was so full, there would be no need for any further meal until morning!
Zizzi is not a groundbreaking Italian restaurant nor that original in anyway. However it’s pleasant enough and offers decent value for large portion sizes and decent food. It does what it does very well. The service we had was decent, although I would like to see the wine more chilled and a larger selection of bottled beer. I can see Zizzi doing a lot of trade with groups of friends and work colleagues before or during a drinks night out. Of course you may be 100% against such ‘chain restaurants’, in which case you probably won’t be paying Zizzi a visit anytime soon. With Bar Roma just down the road though, the Queensferry St area is becoming a competitive market for Italian restaurants and Zizzi is one not to rule out. If just wanting pizza another chain, Pizza Express, has a restaurant just a little further down the road - but I don’t think you’d be disappointed by a pizza at Zizzi.