Whether you’re looking for a quick bite to eat on your way down to the beach or you want a sure-fire, sit-down meal with the family, Pizza Express is a popular blend of convenience and class. Bournemouth’s newest ‘Bournemouth Beach’ branch occupies a prestigious unit in the splendid Bh2 Leisure building, an entertainment and dining complex nestled between bustling Bournemouth Square and the beautiful Lower Gardens part of town.
The restaurant sits on the Lower Ground, gardens-level of Bh2 Leisure and gives customers the choice of dining in its meticulously-styled main floor or on the outside seating area, which is decorated with sparking festoon lights and planting. Pizza Express has been around since 1965 so you’re likely to have an idea of what you might fancy to eat, but the beauty of this restaurant group is the fact the menu is ever-evolving. Yes, you may know what you like on your pizza but do you fancy a Classic or a thin-stretched Romana base?
You could enjoy a lighter meal (or hedge your bets!) with a Leggera, which replaces the centre of the pizza with a crisp salad or choose a hearty Calabrese if you’re feeling particularly peckish.
Variety of choices
While the clue’s in the name and you can easily ‘dough’ all out with the brand’s famous doughballs, doughsticks and more for every course, you’re not obliged to eat pizza here by any means! The restaurant has a decent selection of pasta, salads and meat dishes to enjoy if you don’t want too much bread. Why not try the seafood rigatoni in celebration of our seaside town, snap up a creamy risotto or lasagna classica or enjoy a filling pollo Milanese?
If you’ve still got room, Pizza Express also does a great line in desserts and afters. Go all-out with a slab of chocolate fudge cake or tiramisu or perhaps a cheeky scoop or two of creamy gelato. If you’re full to almost bursting but still fancy something sweet, Pizza Express has all bases covered with its tempting line-up of dolcetti bite-sized puddings served with your choice of coffee.
Pizza Express is a hit with kids of all ages, whether you’re the proud (yet frazzled) owner of a fussy toddler just here to ‘borrow’ your doughballs or adventurous teens who like to fill their hollow legs with three slap-up courses and then tap you up for a taste of yours! Children with smaller appetites will be tempted by the tasty choices on the dedicated Piccolo menu, which has a range of child-size meals including a fun ‘Create Your Own’ pizza. Real fans might request a Pizza Express birthday party, where each guest is invited to stretch, toss and top their own creation, enjoy some games while the pizzas cook and then polish them off!
Rather than being an identikit chain restaurant, Pizza Express is known for snapping up iconic or historic buildings with a story to tell and preserving that heritage in its décor. The Bournemouth Beach venue celebrates the heritage of this particular site by paying tribute to the old bus and coach station. It may not have stood here since 1976 but it is still spoken about fondly by locals and visitors who remember the town in those times.
The artwork and various installations throughout this Pizza Express are inspired by the location’s past life but still put a modern slant on the interior design. Pop art celebrates the popular seaside coach holidays of the seventies (and still a hit in Bournemouth today!) while signs on the wall point to familiar bus destinations.
There’s even an original Bournemouth bus destination blind unrolled and framed on the wall as another nod to the nostalgia of this historic site.
While Pizza Express Bournemouth Beach takes a nostalgic look at the town of decades past it’s by no means primitive when it comes to amenities. There’s ample baby changing facilities and disabled ramps, disabled access and bathroom facilities. WiFi is available for free throughout the restaurant if you need to take a working lunch or want to catch up on your emails while you dine. And if you love the taste of Pizza Express but don’t have time to stop in, why not book a take-away and enjoy your Pollo Forza or Fiorentina al fresco in the gardens or on the beach, just a five-minute stroll away.
Your pizza, your way
Pizza Express was one of the first restaurants to adopt the ‘open kitchen,’ where skilled Pizzaiolos stretch and toss the bases before topping and firing them to perfection.
If there’s an old favourite recipe you’ve set your heart on or you really fancy a certain combination of flavours, the Pizza Express team can happily tailor a dish or the toppings to your taste (as long as they have the ingredients in the restaurant!) The menus are clearly marked to show which dishes are suitable for vegans, vegetarians and various allergies and the restaurants are accredited gluten free, with special bases made to their own recipe at a dedicated gluten-free bakery.
Pizza Express Bournemouth Beach is a friendly establishment with bundles of character. Whether you remember the bus station and you’re keen for a taste of nostalgia or you’re much too young and keen for a taste of Italy, this memorable venue has got the lot.