Very few things in life are ever certain, with the exceptions of death, taxes and over half term, rain and shopping. So it was that on a dreary wet Wednesday of half term that I chauffeured Red (the wife) Fidget and Shy (sons) into Liverpool city centre ostensibly to purchase trainers for Fidget, who seems to go through said items faster than Operation Yewtree is going through celebrities, though I feel I should point out that much of our 'training shoe' shopping time was spent in various female clothing stores. Weird how that works isn't it? Zizzi is one of a rapidly growing chain of rustic Italian themed restaurants that have been popping up across England for the past 15 years. Anyway, fully shopped-out, we arrived at the fairly deserted upper level of Liverpool One. The only other inhabitants out in the rain were four Liverpool One caretaking staff dredging various bits of detritus out of a blocked drain. Lovely! Fortunately we were able to seek refuge from the rains and drains in an equally deserted Zizzi. The dining room is bang on message with the Italian rustic theme: spacious and bright with more than its fair share of wood and an eye-catching open kitchen with a pizza oven as the conflagrant centre piece. Service was very prompt from a more mature waitress (I realise I am straying into treacherous territory here but I have always found the more fully fledged to make better waiting-on staff) and continued in that excellent vein throughout. We were quickly seated in the window, presumably as bait for other passers-by and furnished with menus, and the boys with their own children's menu, though they declined the crayons to colour them in. We opted for shared starters of the obligatory garlic bread and a chicchetti platter. The former was a very serviceable oven baked flatbread with sufficient garlic to keep us all happy. The latter was a sharing plate of Arancini risotto balls, chicken and pepper skewers, oven baked king prawn skewers, mini calzone with spicy n’duja sausage and a tomato and bufala (sic) mozzarella salad with a chunky peperonata dip. The risotto balls were moist and flavoursome with the added joy of a melted cheese centre. The chicken and pepper skewers were a favourite with all 4 of us, Fidget particularly liking the peppers. The king prawn skewers were equally well recieved, though I felt a touch overcooked. The mini calzone avoided the classic pit-fall of being overcooked and provided a moderately interesting mouthful, made much more intriguing when the spicy sausage was found! And finally the mozzarella salad, well it was a mozzarella salad: mozzarella, basil and mini tomatoes. Service between courses was slightly slow, around 15 to 20 mins each time, but I am assured by various restaurateurs that this is a good thing! I just know that in this time Red could have popped into Next and Top Shop, bought those shoes and that top, delivered the phrases "Well I haven't got anything to wear!" and "All those clothes and shoes in my wardrobe have been there for years" and been back at the table without missing a course. The message here is clear ladies, never fall in love with an Italian you have met on the internet! For our mains the two boys stayed on the children's menu with a very well cooked spaghetti bolognese (even better than dad's he said), and a standard margherita pizza, which we were able to adorn with additional chicken for a £1 surcharge. Before arriving Red had researched the menu and set her heart on a Zizzi Spiedini, no this is not an oiled-up hunk or the Italian Eurovision entry but a house special, in this case the spiedini pollo: roast chicken breast with red onions, courgettes and peppers on a hanging skewer served above Tuscan potatoes with a white wine and lemon sauce. As is often the case with internet dating, however, the reality did not match the pictures Red had been devouring on the internet the night before. Six small, tepid pieces of chicken hung over a small bowl of potatoes, purportedly Tuscan, though passports were not checked, with a congealed sauce watching on from the side. !My main had also been pre-selected: the calzone carne piccante consisting of spicy piccante chicken, mini beef meatballs, mushroom, chilli, tomatoes and bolognese. Despite the inedible inch of dough at either end, this on the whole was an enjoyable pizza: plenty of flavour in the chicken and sauce, though not as hot as I had hoped and the mini meatballs tasted somewhat manufactured. Nevertheless a drizzle of the gasoline packaged chilli oil lifted the dish to the level of heat I was looking for. It was sharp and tangy but the marscarpone, like a parish priest on the Palm Sugar dance floor, appeared somewhat out of place. The best, however, was saved till last. the boys ploughed on with the children's menu selecting lemon sorbet, sharp and fresh and a good mint choc chip gelato. As for Red and me we were swayed by our ever-helpful and enthusiastic waitress who helpfully informed us that the two most popular desserts were the new lemon meringue sundae and the chocolate and toffee nut sundae. Red went fresh and citrus with the former whilst I dabbled with the dark arts of the latter. Red, still suffering from a broken heart from the main course, was only partly impressed with the lemon sorbet, crema gelato, crumbled meringue, whipped mascarpone cream, lemon curd and mint dessert. It was sharp and tangy but the marscarpone. Then just as the dessert could not get any better there is a knock on the door of your mouth and the caramalised peanuts turn up to get the party started. The crowning glory, however, of the whole meal was my dessert: chocolate and crema gelato, banana, whipped mascarpone cream, toffee sauce and caramelised peanuts. Yes the mascarpone was once again misplaced but that paled into insignificance in the sweet embrace of the toffee sauce and delightfully light gelato. As Alan Partridge would say "Jurrassic Park!" This dessert is worth visiting Zizzi's for just on its own. In the post-coital comfort of the dessert we paid the bill £80 for the four of us and prepared to leave. Rising from the table like a broken woman, with a teared stained tissue in her hand Red still looked heartbroken after her dalliance with Zizzi Spiedini. As ever the loving husband I asked what could possibly make her feel better. Then with a glint in her eye she perked up and suggested "maybe some more retail therapy?" My poor credit card. Type: family / budget restaurant. Service: 9.5/10 A victory for the more mature waiting on staff! Atmosphere: 7/10 attractive open dining room, plenty of wood. Food: 7/10 in true spaghetti western fashion: the good, the bad and the ugly. Value for money: 7.5/10 children's meals great, mains a bit pricier. Overall: 7.5 Worth a visit. These are judged against the best of that type of restaurant. For example cafes against what you would expect from the best cafes, high end restaurants against the best high end restaurants etc.
Nice surroundings, service good, disappointed with the quality of main pasta course, hardly covered the bottom of the dish. Left feeling still hungry even though we had garlic bread as a starter.
Had a lovely evening. Great food.
We went as a family to celebrate my sisters 63rd birthday. She was the oldest and the party was mixed ages with the youngest being only 6. It was a rare sunny day in August and we enjoyed the food, drink and the sunshine on the outside terrace. But Shaun our waiter made the day, he was helpful, cheerful and very entertaining. We would go back again but would hope that Shaun is on that shift.
I have been a fan of zizzi since the first time I was taken there a year ago. Since then I have taken family and friends there for lunches and dinners and never was I disappointed.
However, I must write of a really negative experience I recently had. A part from the cold draft coming from the kitchen door, which made me shiver for the entire duration of the meal, my arancini were clearly from the night before's service, just a little warmed up, probably in a microwave. The pizza dough was undercooked, it had very little tomato sauce so it was very dry; same goes for my son's pizza. My husband's fish course came with hard as rock potatoes. Overall, not a satisfying Sunday lunch.
What a disappointment...
we went with a party of 8 and had risotto fish, pasta, and steak and everything was beautiful and the house wine was very good and good price.
Recently had a meal here and can honestly say it was amazing. The mussels are to die for and the mixture of breads with olives mmmm! Would definitely recommend this place every time!
My experience at Zizzi was unfortunately not very good, we waited for 10 minutes to be seated whilst a table was lazily cleared (without being given any menus to look at in the meantime) and when we were seated we waited a good 15-20 minutes to have our meal orders taken (no drink order was taken when we sat down as you would usually expect). I should add that they did initially ask for our order after about 10 minutes though my boyfriend asked for “another minute” which unfortunately was taken to mean as "another 10 minutes" by our waitress. I would also like to point out that the restaurant was not under-staffed on the night that we ate at Zizzi.
Our starters took 30-40 minutes to be served (which given the fact were a cheese and garlic bread and goats cheese bruschetta is a little unusual in terms of a delay) but were quite tasty, we waited another 15 minutes for our empty plates to be cleared and thankfully our mains arrived 10 minutes later. Our previous complaints as to the delays experienced thus far into the evening would be wavered if the main courses were acceptable but unfortunately this was not the case. There were no particular offensive tastes in either of our meals (meatballs with spaghetti and seafood risotto) but both meals were completely bland and without any identified flavour at all.
The meatball dish had all the etiquette of adding a squeeze of bargain brand tomato sauce into boiled flavourless spaghetti but compared to the risotto this was practically a firework display in terms of taste. I don’t pretend to be any great chef but until my experience at Zizzi I had previously thought it impossible to get a risotto so completely wrong. In a nutshell I was confronted with arborio rice boiled in water, with a few bits of fish placed here and there. The afore-mentioned water also appeared to constitute two thirds of the actual dish, my rice was practically drowning in this. I’m pretty sure that water is all the risotto was cooked in, as opposed to wine, stock or even salt and pepper. The actual fish included in the dish (salmon, prawns and calamari) were the best (if “best” can be deemed appropriate in terms of this description) part of the meal, though the prawns were slightly under-cooked.
Overall the experience was pretty awful, and having never complained about a restaurant throughout my years of dining out I felt it important to say something (especially as I find it difficult to complain face to face, hence why I’m providing feedback via sugarvine!) so that maybe Zizzi can take something from this and try and actually invest in some seasoning lessons at least. I feel particularly disappointed as this was supposed to be my birthday treat for my boyfriend when both of us were left feeling a bit deflated at the end of the evening, though it did give us something to laugh about.
As it currently stands I will not be recommending this restaurant to anyone, nor will I be returning until someone can convince me otherwise, presumably with some kind of weapon pointed at me. I would hasten to add that we did not go so far as to warn people off who were waiting at the front of the restaurant to be seated, unlike a couple who were sat next to us who did not have as much patience/idiocy (delete as appropriate) as we did. This particular couple marched out after 20 minutes of waiting to be served to loudly tell customers waiting to go elsewhere due to the long wait. I was not surprised to see that the couple who were told this were waited on hand and foot by observant staff after this incident.
Visited Zizzi this evening after going whilst in London recently (and receiving a £10 off voucher for January). It is well worth a visit. Lovely ambience, wonderful food and very helpful staff. Even though it's part of a chain it doesn't feel like it, we're already looking forward to our next visit.