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Monday, February 22, 2010

Table For Five: CiCi's Pizza

When we let DD11 choose a restaurant, one of the places that is always on her short list is CiCi's Pizza. Although she is tiny and never eats more than a plate full of food, for some reason she likes filling that plate herself at a buffet. Our closest CiCi's Pizza is the one in Port Charlotte, FL, so that is where we headed.

DS3 was asleep when we arrived, so we didn't want to buy him a meal in case he didn't wake up. We were hoping to be allowed in and then purchase a buffet for him if he did wake up. We were very happy to learn that since he is only three, we don't have to pay for him at all. This makes up for the fact that now that DD11 is eleven, we have to pay the adult price for her meal.

The buffet at CiCi's includes soups, pasta with either a marinara or alfredo-type sauce, salad, lots of pizza and several desserts. I always start with a salad to help keep from taking in too many calories, but of course for some people the whole point is to eat as much pizza as possible. There are all kinds of options on the pizza bar, but I am a boring person and mostly only eat cheese, pepperoni and sausage slices. Even with this limitation, I get to try lots of variety, as CiCi's has different crust styles served up to choose from. I had some thin, crispy sausage, regular cheese, and pan style pepperoni, all of which were good. CiCi's is not my favorite pizza, especially since New York style is my fave pizza type, but for "cheap pizza," it has very good flavor. I did get a bit adventurous and try CiCi's famous macaroni and cheese pizza, which my daughter loves. It was better than I expected for a kid-oriented menu item. The best part of going to CiCi's, though, in my opinion, is the dessert selection. The apple pie pizza and brownies are good, but the cinnamon rolls are warm, buttery, and to die for!

CiCi's is the kind of place that is designed for families to eat cheaply. There are menu items designed with kids in mind, like the mac & cheese pizza. There are also several arcade/crane style games and a wall of vending machines. The seating is mostly booths, although there are some tables. The seating is a bit crowded, so nursing a baby might be uncomfortable for many moms. Aesthetically, it is obvious that the emphasis is on value, although there are several TV's tuned to different stations so Dad can catch some sports while the kids watch SpongeBob. Overall, it is a welcoming environment for families.

We had a good time at CiCi's and ate well. This is a place we have been to before, and we will definitely be returning again.

Value: *****
Taste: ****
Family Friendly Atmosphere: ****
Overall: ****

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