My First Visit to CiCi’s Pizza
I have always wanted to try CiCi’s pizza. Something about CiCi’s all-you-can-eat pizza buffet sounded too good to be true. Last week I was visiting Orlando, Florida and had the chance to eat lunch at a CiCi’s pizza.
I walked into the CiCi’s Pizza restaurant at 8540 International Boulevard in Orlando. I was really excited about my first visit and told the guy behind the counter that this was my very first time at a CiCi’s. He was quite friendly and smiled and said, ‘Well, welcome to CiCi’s.”
He then explained to me that lunch for an adult was $6.99 but did not include a drink. He also told me that if there was a specific type of pizza I wanted and did not see displayed, to ask him and they would make one special. That was a pretty nice offer I thought. I chose a root beer and one adult pizza buffet and walked around the corner to see what I had come for.
In front of me was a long buffet set up. First there were plates and bowls and an area where I could have my choice of soup, or pasta with either a white sauce or a red sauce. After that there were a series of ten pizzas lined up under warming lights.
The pizza choices were:
*Bacon & Cheese (the special of the day)
*Classic Chicken (this also had mushrooms)
*Macaroni and Cheese
After the line of pizzas, but still under the warming lamps, there were individual garlic rolls.
Then there were four different types of desserts, but more about that later.
After the desserts was a salad bar that had all the basics, plus sliced black olives which was nice to see as I love olives and these could easily be added to the top of any of the pizzas.
Even though it would have been healthier for me, I decided to skip the salad bar because we all know what salad tastes like. I was more interested in trying the pizza so I could give a full report.
I started with the garlic bread, which was actually very good. Then I moved onto the soup, which didn’t have a label so I had to ask what kind it was. An employee told me it was chicken noodle soup. It sure didn’t look or taste like chicken noodle soup, but it was okay. I just had a little bit to try. There were red peppers in it and tiny squares of chicken. Does this look like chicken noodle soup to you?
Pizza Taste Test Results
And now it was time to try the pizza. I perused the choices and picked the three that looked the best to me first.
*Hawaiian *Spinach Alfredo *Macaroni and Cheese
My first bite was of the macaroni and cheese pizza because I expected to like that the best out of all of them. Unfortunately, it was not as good as I had expected. It tasted a bit dry, and like a packaged macaroni and cheese so it wasn’t the delicious homemade taste. It wasn’t terrible, and it may have dried out under the lights. But it certainly was a new experience.
The next type of pizza I tried the spinach alfredo. There was no tomato sauce on this but instead it was a cheesy sauce and this piece was not dried out. In fact it ended up being my second favorite. It had a bit of garlic to it and was moist and cheesy and delicious.
My third pizza was the Hawaiian and it was delicious. I think the pineapple made it moist and the ham added was yummy. I have had Hawaiian pizza before and this was just as good as any I have had, but the chunks of pineapple and ham were smaller than most I have had.
I decided to try a couple more types just to have a variety. I tried the classic chicken, but even though I love mushroom pizza and this had mushrooms, it wasn’t very good. It was a white sauce and I was disappointed. The last piece I tried was the special of the day and it was the best I had, the bacon and cheese pizza was moist and delicious and the small bits of bacon added an amazing amount of flavor to this pizza.
Moving on to the part of the meal that is most people’s favorite: dessert.
When I first saw the dessert choices I was a bit disappointed because they looked like pizza again to me. But I need not have been disappointed. Two of the desserts here are amazing. The choices consisted of:
*Bavarian Dessert Pizza
*Apple Strudel Dessert Pizza
On one pizza plate, again under heat lamps, were 2 different varieties of desserts on pizza crust. Everything was actually under the heat lamps so I expected dried out dessert.
My first taste was of the Bavarian dessert pizza, and I was absolutely amazed and delighted at how good this tasted. It was made with a topping of rich cream and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar crumbs and was moist and delicious.
The cinnamon buns were absolutely delicious as well. And I am not usually a big fan of cinnamon buns. But because these were warm from being under the heat lamp, they were quite good.
The apple strudel pizza was average. It tasted more like a store bought apple pie without the apple pie crust. You know, good, but obviously NOT homemade.
The last dessert I tried was the fudge brownie. I just had one bite because it really wasn’t very good, and by now I was getting pretty full! It tasted like a pre-packaged brownie you could buy in a store. It was dusted with powdered sugar which was a nice touch though it just didn’t bring the taste home.
The Seating Area
Looking around the restaurant, I noticed that there were approximately sixty tables which could each seat two to four people at one time. Customers could leave through the same door they had come in, or a game area which had one dozen games and rides for kids. But they were small rides that you put change in and it just rocks them back and forth. There was a basketball hoop arcade game, a few racing games with steering wheels, and an air hockey table.
Adult buffet: $6.99
Children ages 3 years to 10 years: $3.99
Children Under age 3 years: $1.99
An amazing money saving deal for CiCi’s in Orlando is that because it’s a tourist area, there are coupon booklets for area attractions and restaurants in many stores. A lot of them offer a CiCi’s Pizza coupon that allows you to get 1 adult meal free when you order 1 adult meal and two drinks. Now that’s a GREAT deal and will save you money. Even if you aren’t a tourist but live near Orlando, check those coupon booklets out and you will save money if your party has 2 adults.
I also noticed that from 8:00 am till 11:30 pm there is a breakfast buffet but I wasn’t able to try that out.
I would give CiCi’s Pizza an overall score of an 8 out of 10 score. It’s the perfect place to bring a family and give teens and adults a filling meal for approximately $9.00 each if you buy a drink to go with the buffet. If you have young children, it’s even less expensive and with an all you can eat menu, or with a coupon so how can you go wrong?
The reason I couldn’t score it higher than an 8 is due to the fact that some of the food tasted too processed, and unless you go there and just have the salad bar, it’s probably not that healthy for you. But it’s a great treat for you and the kids once in awhile.
By Karen Hellier