7 restaurants in Banstead
Restaurants in Banstead:
28 High Street, Banstead, SM7 2LJ [Map]
Prezzo has been delighting diners for over eight years, and this Italian restaurant chain has since been able to expand throughout large parts of England and Scotland with some 141 outlets.
Interestingly, the company seeks to restore either impressive buildings or ones of local interest. The conversion of the Newbury library and other listed buildings, such as those in Salisbury, Romsey and Mayfair, are all welcome examples of 'new use'. Their trendy and sophisticated décor usually consists of tiled or wooden floors with delicate lights and colourful paintings, along with wooden furniture and sparkling cutlery, creating a setting that is suitable for a relaxed lunch, a family meal or an evening out with friends.
The restaurants are of particular appeal to those who like genuine Italian cuisine, and they use only the best seasonal products, many of which are imported directly from Italy. The menu includes pizza, pasta, risotto, grilled meats, fresh salads and frequently changing specials.
The freshly baked breads, like the garlic bread with mozzarella cheese, are perfect for sharing and give you adequate breathing space to order starters to follow. Crab cakes served with garlic mayonnaise or grilled goat's cheese with plum tomatoes and caramelised onions on foccacia bread with a balsamic glaze set the tone for a hearty meal. Best fun is to order an antipasto platter to share made up from seven well loved Italian nibbles.
Find pastas such as the unusual penne con salmone, with oak-roasted salmon, broccoli and fresh chillies in a red pesto and cream sauce, or firm favourites like spaghetti with meatballs, spaghetti Bolognese, and fusilli al pesto, asparagus spears with field mushrooms and roasted peppers in a basil pesto sauce.
Amongst the special pastas, the pollo mariano, seasoned chicken, pepperoni sausage, roasted peppers and fusilli in tomato sauce, is interesting and different. Italian menus would be incomplete without risotto, like tiger prawns with petits pois in a creamy saffron sauce.
Classic pizzas embrace, among a wide selection, the popular napoletana, topped with yellowfin tuna, tomato, white anchovies, capers, red onion, mozzarella and marinated olives, and the much loved quattro stagioni - pepperoni sausage, prosciutto ham, artichoke, field mushrooms, capers, marinated olives, mozzarella and tomato.
Specials could include the pollo Siciliana, char-grilled chicken breast, prosciutto ham and plum tomato slices, baked with their blend of cheese, only one example from the many tempting offerings that come out from the Prezzo kitchens.
You can accompany the food with a variety of tipples, though for many, Italian food requires Italian wines to be enjoyed to the full, ranging from house wine through Morellino di Scansano and Prosecco to liqueurs and beer, and there is espresso or fresh ground coffee to wind up an enjoyable meal, in company with a glass of grappa or sambuca.
This is Italian food at its attractive best, convincing and bringing together the traditional with the modern twist or two against a background of excellent value.
Prezzo is a lively group and opportunities to improve and update are never left on the table for long. Keep up to date with a quick click on their Website.
24 High Street, Banstead, SM7 2LJ [Map]
Pizza Express remains a hugely popular bedrock of casual eating. Its popularity is testimony to the fact that across the country, they have restaurants where you will always be guaranteed a good nosh, with children's tastes being well catered for.
Pizza Express has gone even more Roman, and following the success of that particular example of listening to their public have introduced Romana pizzas, including the scorching Etna and the hearty Siciliana.
These pizzas are now thinner, bigger and crispier, and if that sounds like a marketing line, it is. However, unlike many such lines, this one is true, and their quality is always consistent, though cleverly they have still managed to retain a homemade feel to their pizzas.
As an alternative to pizza, try their pollo pesto - cavatappi pasta with torn chicken breast, mushrooms, red onions and mozzarella in a creamy gruyere, parmesan and pesto sauce and finished with grana padano - or the niçoise salad with mixed leaves, yellowfin tuna, free range egg, green beans, potatoes and tomatoes with olives, anchovies, capers and house dressing.
Many of the big chains have come a long way, and Pizza Express is certainly amongst them. One of the first to be quoted on the Stock Exchange - in 1993 - Pizza Express is not a franchise operation and retains tight control through its own staff.
Their wine list - though short - contains some surprisingly good offerings, especially their intense Australian Chardonnay, and a big, full-bodied Merlot from Cusumano, Sicilia.
Pizza & Pasta
1 High Street, Banstead, SM7 2NE [Map]
Offering contemporary Italian cuisine and a buzzing ambience, Zizzi adds a touch of excitement to your dining experience. The trendy interior draws inspiration from its surrounding area and each outlet has its characteristic charm with fine innovative features and little details that make it different from the rest.
The Zizzi menu revisits traditional Italian cuisine, while classic dishes are also featured prominently. An eclectic range of thin and crispy rustica pizzas are served loaded with fresh toppings and are a light option at less than 550 calories. Cichetti tasting plates, pasta, salads, risotto and classic pizzas are also served. To complement the diverse Zizzi dishes, the Zizzi wine list has been constructed by fine Italian wine expert, Guillaume Aubert.
The bambini menu at Zizzi restaurant is specially designed for little diners with mini pasta, dough sticks, margherita and other healthy options. For desserts, try the flavourful gelato created by the renowned ice cream maker, Kitty Travers.
Step into any one of the 87 Zizzi restaurants, and unwind with fine Italian cuisine in a vibrant setting.
Brighton Road, off A217, Banstead, SM7 1AT [Map]
Those who have been absent from the call of pleasure in the recent past should not be surprised to find that what used to be The Wheatsheaf at Banstead has now re-emerged at The Olive Tree after an extensive refit that has retained the more traditional features, and added some new ones. Certainly sports people should not feel deprived and all the modern fittings are there. In many ways The Olive Tree represents a way ahead that is the preference of many pubs in residential locations, and certainly embraces the food which leans heavily towards Spain, so shut your eyes, inhale deeply and Ola! there you are.
Think Spain nowadays and inevitably tapas come to mind. I sometimes wonder how we in Britain have managed all this time without these juicy little platefuls, unless fridge-grazing was some form of apprenticeship, and that clearly has logistic difficulties when in a restaurant of any substance. At The Olive Tree tapas have certainly not, like some culinary cuckoo, ousted starters from the menu, and beef carpaccio, tricalore salad, and fresh grilled sardines continue to attract as much as ever. Whilst not everyone is a fan of chicken these days unless it has its pedigree and certificate of demise attached to its person, the wild mushroom, chicken and poppy seed crepe served with a tarragon cream sauce had a certain wild appeal.
Main courses would not be complete without the inclusion of tagliatella carbonara, and fresh fillet of sea bass is served with a champagne and lobster bisque. A powerful Andalucian paella comes in five formats, including ones with squid ink juices, and seafood. Good local ales and a meticulous wine list combine to provide more than adequate coverage in that all-important area.
Modern British, Spanish
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