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  • Zeffirellis Arcade
    Millans Park

    Ambleside LA22 9AD
  • Phone number 015394 33845

Recommended Reviews

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  • 5.0 star rating
    9/4/2013
    2 check-ins

    Fantastic.  Really good meditteranean-style (by which I guess I mean Italian .. which is easier to spell) restaurant.  We always go when we're in the Lake District, and we always enjoy it.  Food is excellent.  Surroundings are really nice - modern and relaxed.  They have a jazz bar with live music upstairs, and an attached cinema.  Service this time was excellent, too.  
    Looking forward to our next visit.
    PS - I was considering not mentioning this, but it's all veggie.  They don't mention it anywhere, and I do wonder if most of their guests don't notice.  Don't tell anyone else.  Ssshh!
    PPS - not cheap.  But value for money.

  • 4.0 star rating
    23/4/2014
    1 check-in

    If you need to know anything about Ambleside, you need to know about Zeffirellis. Why? Because this is the happening spot where all the action is at. You want arthouse cinema? Check. You want world class jazz? Done. You want gourmet vegetarian eats? Sorted. How about a cocktail? Oh... wait. No, they don't do that.

    My Dad was seriously excited to show me this place during our stay, and I can see why he was so enamoured of it. The space is cool, in a jazz kind of way, and the downstairs restaurant area is beautiful. We ate upstairs, so as to take in the music, but it's worth booking a special evening downstairs too.

    I love the setting upstairs. Round cabaret style seating is set up around the stage, so you can eat, drink, and be merry to the music, and there are a few tables with high stools at the back for a slightly quieter spot. It's the kind of joint where you actually applaud each song, which I love, and we saw a wonderful pianist and co on the first night. The second night was a little disappointing, music-wise, since the musicians were out of sync and seemed to be far too into their own thing rather than working together. (The drummer was particularly naff.) However, my Dad assured me that was a one-off, since in all his previous visits he'd seen some incredible performances.

    As for the food? I've never, in my life, tasted such an exquisite vegetarian menu. It helps that much of my food was loaded with cheese (I could never be vegan) but don't let that give the assumption that this was all it was. The variety was incredible, and I am neither veggie, nor do I frequent Italian spots for fear the food will be dull.

    To start I shared the garlic mushrooms in a mini Yorkshire pudding and the garlic bread. The idea to put delicious garlic mushrooms in a Yorkshire is simply genius, but the garlic bread... oh my goodness, I've never had such a treat. It was basically a whole pizza, so be warned if you've a slight appetite, and simply covered with cheese. Perfectly greasy.

    For my main course I had the gnocchi. Words, as much as I pride myself in having a way with them, can hardly do this delectable victual justice. It was perfectly cooked, soft, crisped beautifully with cheese, loaded with sauce, and dotted with cauliflower. Each bite was a soft, doughy cloud of mouth joy. I wanted every bit of it to last a lifetime! I also tried the spicy risotto, which had a beautifully soft kick. Everything was so well balanced.

    We revisited a few days later, as I really wanted to show my Dad some cocktails, but sadly I can't recommend Zefs for that. Whilst the Grasshopper really pleased my Dad (it's hard to get that one wrong) their cosmo and their daiquiri (I think it was a daiquiri -- or a margarita, I forget) were awful. They don't have a classic list, as such, but a list with their own 'twist', but these were terrible drinks! Not balanced at all, sour, and took about a million years to arrive. They even had the ingredients for a white russian, which I told them the measurements for, but they wouldn't make it. (Even though I said they could charge me separately for each component. That was a no-go too -- something about it not being on the till.)

    So -- you know. Ups and downs! But, essentially, it's an awesome place. I wish the staff could have been more flexible about the cocktails/better at making them. But that gnocchi is simply legendary, and made up for a thousand of those bad drinks. Couldn't recommend their menu highly enough!

  • 5.0 star rating
    21/2/2009
    First to Review

    We happened upon Zeffirellis on a short trip to the Lake District last October. It was a bitterly cold night and we had underestimated how busy everywhere would be, even in late October. Zeffirellis Pizzeria is a large vegetarian restaurant, which is part of a complex that also includes a cinema and a jazz bar. The place was absolutely jammed packed with people, even though the restaurant probably seated about a hundred. We had to wait about half an hour for a table; it was the kind of restaurant where as one table leaves, it is almost instantly filled up again. In my book thats always a good sign!

    We were not disappointed, the menu was varied, without being huge and there were daily specials. I plumped for the Italian Bean Casserole, accompanied by home made bread. The dish arrived very quickly and wow, was it full of flavour, one of the best dishes I'd had in a restaurant for some time! Zeffirellis has a great atmosphere, the place was buzzing with life, romantic couples, family and large groups, most of which were having a meal before going to the cinema. For a spur of the moment decision on a restaurant, we couldn't have chosen any better.

    The next morning we booked again for that evening at 9.30am and even at the time struggled to get a table - it is a seriously popular place! This time I had the fantastically named Vesuvian Chilli, a touch piquant, but nothing mindblowing, another brilliant dish. Zeffirellis also serves many vegan dishes which are indicated as such on the menu. The staff were friendly and even though very busy, took the time to explain about the more exotically sounding dishes on the menu. If we lived a bit closer to Zeffirellis, I'm sure we would be in there all the time!

    • Qype User Moosic…
    • Doncaster, South Yorkshire
    • 28 friends
    • 164 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    26/5/2009

    We were so pleased to find this on a stroll around Ambleside.

    We decided on the spur of the moment to go and see Night at the Museum 2. whilst the screen and room was relatively small, it was still a most enjoyable experience.

    The prices were reasonable and the popcorn was tasty.

    The staff were friendly and helpful and it made a lovely change to use a smaller independent cinema rather than the larger multiplexes were are used to which are always busy.

    There was a great looking Jazz bar, which we unfortunately didn't get the opportunity to use, but it looked very inviting.

    • Qype User charli…
    • Sheffield, South Yorkshire
    • 3 friends
    • 53 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    17/11/2008

    I just love this place, it has style, class and everything you could want, whether its a movie and a meal or live jazz. We recently went here for a meal on my birthday and it was lovely.

    The food is Italian and the pizzas are just delicious, made with a wholemeal base. Its also completely vegetarian, though doesn't advertise the fact.

    Its very reasonably priced for the food and the drink. The service is great and there's a very relaxed atmosphere to the whole place.

  • 4.0 star rating
    10/2/2012

    Recommended by one of my high school teachers who traveled extensively in the Lake District, we went to Zeffirellis in Summer 2005. I remember we booked the movie+dining deal (£24 per person), which included 3 course meal at Zeffirellis Pizzeria, and a movie (we watched Mr and Mrs Smith). It was a very pleasant dining experience. Good food, authentic Italian, nice and relaxed ambiance.

    • Qype User dubpip…
    • Sheffield, South Yorkshire
    • 3 friends
    • 114 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    16/1/2009

    Great little independent cinema and it was a real pleasure to find it while walking round Ambleside. There's many of these little cinemas left nowadays. In fact I took my partner and she couldn't believe how small it was. She'd only ever known the likes of Vue, Centertainment and Odeon cinemas. The prices are also very good. The screens are a decent size, great surround sound system. Just like a modern cinema really. The rooms are very clean and have a relaxed atmosphere. I've not experienced the restaurent, it was too pricey for me but looked superb. They do a good deal that incldues a meal and a cinema ticket.

  • 4.0 star rating
    4/8/2010

    Lovely vegetarian restaurant: big but cosy atmosphere; friendly staff. We had the double feature including cinema tickets, which is a nice deal. Starters and main courses were nice and well-seasoned, though not extremely exciting. Staff made a mistake with the bill and were not too concerned about it.

    • Qype User karenm…
    • Kendal, Cumbria
    • 1 friend
    • 1 review
    5.0 star rating
    13/10/2012

    Great venue, friendly staff. Cinema meal deal is excellent value

    • Qype User shrek1…
    • Wigan, Greater Manchester
    • 2 friends
    • 47 reviews
    1.0 star rating
    17/3/2013

    Average food, awful customer service, because of the later I won't be returning.

  • 4.0 star rating
    25/6/2011

    We were in here a few years back and had some very tasty vegetarian pizzas. Have to admit that we had not realised it was vegetarian until we sat down (we were starving!) and so being of a non-vegetarian persuasion were slightly apprehensive. How wrong we were! Recommended.

    • Qype User gazwaa…
    • Derby
    • 0 friends
    • 1 review
    5.0 star rating
    2/11/2012

    Had a rely great meal here!! friendly staff, great food and good portion sizes. We'll be back to ambleside soon and this'll be on the to-do. thanks!

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