Over the years, I have walked past the Prezzo restaurant on Clifford Street in York city centre many times, with the intention to visit at some point, but the place always seemed to be busy. When I discovered that Prezzo had introduced a new menu for the autumn, it seemed a good enough excuse as any to finally visit the Italian-themed restaurant.
Situated opposite the Grand Opera House, the restaurant is ideally placed for a pre-show meal and conveniently placed for Clifford’s Tower or York Museum.
Service somewhat slow
On my arrival on an early Sunday evening, the restaurant was practically full. Service started off well, but it became apparent that due to staffing shortages things would move along at a slower pace.
As is usual for York, diners appeared to be a mixture of locals and tourists. Whilst the latter are a valuable source of income for the city’s culinary scene, I suspect that the reliable supply of one-time-only visitors may affect standards of service in centrally located restaurants.
An attractive seasonal menu for autumn
Full of promising seasonal delights, the new autumn menu includes three new sharers and starters: Aubergine and Goats Cheese Bruschetta (£7.95), Mushroom & Gorgonzola Bruschetta (£7.95) and Pumpkin and Mozzarella Arancini (£8.95) served with a rich truffle mayonnaise. The last was my choice of starter – a little disappointing, though, as I would have never known that there was any pumpkin in the arancini – all I could taste was mozzarella.
With pumpkin a key feature on the menu, diners will discover Pumpkin Ravioli, too (£15.75) – a mouth watering handmade ravioli dish, filled with Italian delica pumpkin and smoked scamorza (an Italian cheese traditionally smoked over beechwood), served in a creamy cacio e pepe sauce.
An excellent pizza and tasty seafood
For my own main, the Gorgonzola and Prosciutto Pizza (£16.95), a popular seasonal favourite served with balsamic onions on a white base, was just as good as any pizza I have eaten in Italy. I always think that white coloured pizzas lack colour; however, the creamy Gorgonzola was strong and came with a hefty bite. A chef can use a pizza base like an artist’s canvas, allowing their imagination free rein with toppings – though a good tomato sauce is always a good starting point for me.
For those who can’t get enough seafood, the menu includes two seafood pasta dishes, new for autumn. The Salmon, Tomato and Basil Rigatoni dish (£17.95) features bountiful flakes of oak-smoked salmon cooked with a chilli, tomato and basil pesto sauce, whilst the new Devon Crab and Chilli Spaghetti (£17.95) promises to pack a punch for spice lovers.
Tempting premium mini desserts
Prezzo’s dessert menu has also had an overhaul, including the introduction of premium mini desserts for the first time (£4.95) – best enjoyed with a coffee or digestivo. The all new Affogato dish allows diners to indulge in the classic Italian coffee dessert, served with a scoop of vanilla gelato and covered in a shot of Illy coffee.
If you have ever visited Italy you will know that Italians adore chocolate. In Rome I was once served chocolate tart – for breakfast! Not surprisingly, the dessert menu includes Chocolate Gianduiotto (£4.95) – a dark chocolate and hazelnut flavoured bar filled with gooey salted caramel served with a café curl and cream. Better eaten after climbing the 55 steps that lead you up to Clifford’s Tower rather than before!
Leave plenty of time but worth a visit
The service was slow and we had to prompt our waiting staff with reminders, so if you are booking a pre-theatre meal, you need to allow plenty of time, at least two hours. But the food, when it did eventually arrive, was hot, wholesome and tasty. I will definitely return for an encore at Prezzo next time I’m in York.