Is Pizza Marzano the same as the British Pizza Express? Yes… and no.
Yes in so far as Pizza Marzano is the China arm of the infamous UK name; no in so far as it is no longer British, being bought by the Chinese in 2014. No surprises there, then.
In 1965, Peter Boizot founded PizzaExpress in London, as a brand of chain restaurants dedicated to Italian-flavoured, authentic pizza. Needless to say, this begs the question, is this the same quality of pizza as the UK original? Absolutely. Is there a better pizza elsewhere in Nanjing? The Nanjinger will stick its neck out and say, probably not. That it’s a chain is just a little sad reflection on local entrepreneurs.
While not exactly a well-kept secret, still a large part of the local foreign population is sadly ignorant of the brand’s presence in Nanjing. The other part is a convert. Convert to an impressive menu, for a start. The range of pizzas is both extensive and creative, with prices from ¥58 to ¥128.
That the moniker be a little misleading is reflected in the fact that Pizza Marzano is a lot more than sumptuous pizza; classic Italian starters such as Prosciutto e Melon and Carpaccio di Salmone Affumicato (the latter rendered as Rainbow Trout on the English translation); Australian steaks and salads, as well as pasta and risotto dishes for mains.
Then there come the desserts, and therein our only criticism; our Chess Tiramisu came virtually straight from the freezer.
Last but not least, a selection of “house blends” make for a difficult choice indeed; do I fancy Lychee & Rose Soda, Mango & Ginger Cooler, Blueberry Iced Tea or Hot Apple Cider? And did I mention that the beer selection also includes Peroni, both bottled and draught? Convert.
Pizza Marzano has two locations in Nanjing, both in Golden Eagle malls; in Xianlin (Phase 2) and Hexi.