California Pizza Kitchen

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 March, 2011, 12:00am

California Pizza Kitchen
1306 13/F Food Forum
Times Square
Causeway Bay
Tel 3102 9132

Grub: Pizza, pasta, salads, snacks and sandwiches.

Vibe: This is a large, mall-style restaurant with modern but unmemorable d?cor. During busy periods, customers create their own atmosphere, but during off-peak times, the quiet can be uncomfortable.

Who to bring: Everyone. The large venue can cope with big groups.

What's hot: The food looks a little expensive at first - but remember there are no small portions here. Each dish will generously feed at least two people, and three if your appetite is smaller than the average rugby player. For a table of four, a pizza and a pasta is plenty, and not as budget-busting as it may seem.

But if you're very hungry, there are plenty of other choices to add to those Italian-American standards. The Thai Crunch Salad and Moroccan Chicken Salad are both tempting; or for a starter, check out the Sonora Egg Rolls. These are crispy wonton rolls stuffed with grilled lime chicken, corn and black bean salsa, mild chillies, cheese, onions and coriander, and served with two dipping sauces.

Back to the pizzas. They're hearth-baked, and most come with American-style thick crusts. There are almost 30 toppings to choose from. They include cheeseburger, with ground beef, onions and, of course, cheese; Jamaican jerk chicken, with spicy chicken breast, bacon, peppers and a spicy, sweet sauce; and for non-meat eaters, tomato and basil, and cheese and wild mushroom, which is made with four types of mushroom, mozzarella and Monterey jack cheeses, and a delicious walnut and mushroom pesto.

The pasta options are slightly less adventurous, with familiar choices such as Bolognese and Carbonara available. The broccoli and sun-dried tomato fusilli is worth a try - and for an additional HK$20 you can add a grilled chicken breast.

If you have room for dessert, the key lime pie is a must: wonderfully tart and served with a huge dollop of whipped cream. This alone makes the trudge up to the 13th floor of Times Square worthwhile.

What's not: Getting there: the elevators and escalators are horribly crowded. If you've been shopping and are already in Times Square you're halfway there, but if you're going just for the pizza, it's a bit of an ordeal.

Cost: Starters and snacks are HK$45-HK$90. Pizzas and pastas are HK$76-HK$128. Sandwiches are HK$78 and are served with soup, Caesar salad or Szechuan slaw. Desserts start at HK$48.