I was recently in the vicinity of Route 1 in Saugus and wanted to grab a bite for lunch. After considering all the possible choices, I decided to take a chance on the relatively new ZaZa Restaurant & Nitery, which took over the former Orzo location.
When you walk into the restaurant, there is a very large bar on the right, making the dining room to the left side seem fairly small. It seemed to me that maybe the "nitery" aspect of its name was the primary emphasis.
The lunch menu basically had Sandwiches ($7-$11), Pasta & Beef Entrees ($8-$10) and Grilled Pizzas ($12-$14). Sandwiches come with either sweet potato fries or a Caesar salad. The dinner menu is more extensive, most entrees $20 and under.
As we waited for our meals, we were brought a basket of fresh, hot Italian bread with a dish of olive oil and grated cheese. This was a great start to our meal, especially for a bread lover like me. I had hopes that the rest of the meal would be pleasing. Those hopes would be largely fulfilled.
The idea of Bolognese pizza ($14) intrigued me so I decide to order it. The pizza was good-sized, sufficient for two people. It was nicely grilled, with only a few burn marks on the edges of the crust, and looked quite enticing. I loved the taste of this pizza! The Bolognese sauce was delicious, with plenty of meat and a very nice red sauce. The crust was quite good too and everything went very well together. I would definitely recommend this pizza and I am surprised more places have not created this type of pizza.
The Chicken Marsala ($9) comes over linguini or ziti, and we had the linguine. You get a single chicken cutlet with plenty of pasta and mushrooms. The chicken was tender and the marsala sauce was delicious, not overly heavy and with a nice sweetness to it. The pasta was cooked just right too. A very good dish.
The food was very pleasing and lunch was reasonably priced. I definitely would like to try more of their dishes.
Service though was average with a couple issues. The restaurant was sparsely filled so our server was not overly busy. But, a couple times we had to wait some time to get refills on our water. But what bothered me the most was when I paid the check. When I received my change, the server did not give me the coins, over fifty cents. The money was not the issue but the principle of it.
When I brought this to the server's attention, she immediately went to get the coins. But she did not look at my bill to see how much it should have been. Yet she went into what looked like her pocketbook and brought me the exact amount of coins I was owed. This was a bit unnerving.
You might want to check out ZaZa for lunch or dinner. The food is definitely worth it.
ZaZa Restaurant & Nitery
114 Broadway (Rt.1N)