If you remember (of course, you don't, so you could read it here), I had written, some time back, that the flavours at California Pizza Kitchen in Bangalore, left me confused. Being a big bunch of people going to a restaurant helps, because, I was able to taste so many dishes and having the chef next to us and explain it all, has, finally, taken the confusion out! California Pizza Kitchen or CPK, is not just a pizza place - it is positioned as somewhere below a fine dine restaurant and the flavours that left me confused last time was because, I was expecting an American Style Pizza, but there is heavy mid eastern and asian flavours. So, this is not a pizzeria, but a restaurant. Once that confusion is taken care of, your expectations and your experiences will not have too much of a gap.
The foccaccia bread with garlic lemon dip was excellent, but if there is one thing that was excellent in both Bangalore and here was the spicy chicken supreme. It is not very spicy, but it is quite tangy and I wrote about it without knowing the name on my report of the Bangalore CPK. The cucumber green apple drink was super refreshing and after the crazy drive to reach CPK, it was a very nice thing to send into your body! While I did not fancy the Char Grilled Chicken, the quesadilla (really, what is a quesadilla doing in a pizzeria, oh yeah, this is not a pizzeria) and a thai chicken salad, the lettuce wrap was quite excellent and with lots of meat options, it is worth a shot. They are of the make-your-own-wrap type, so you can stuff as much or as little you want!
Finally, the pizzas came and I liked all of them, especially the crust that made CPK famous, the pre baked thin crispy crust! We had a chicken fajita and a tostada pizza in the thin crust and a classic bbq chicken pizza (called the California pizza) in the regular crust and all the pizzas were quite nice, so having Pizza as their middle name was quite justified. Honestly, I did not like any of the pastas, so I won't talk much about it, but if I must, one was like Asian noodles (not bad, but did not fit in with the rest of the cuisine and a quite OK tasting red sauce penne).
Even if you don't have space, get the strawberry cheese cake! It is creamy, smooth, oreo crusty, tasty and filling all at once. Excellent stuff. We also had a reasonably good tiramisu, but after that cheese cake, I could not taste anything else, so I even packed one for home!
So, CPK has finally come to Chennai and like I said, if you get what this place is all about (I repeat, this is not a pizzeria, but a restaurant which happens to have Pizza as it's middle name), then you will like what they serve. Must have's are the spicy chicken supreme if you like tangy, the lettuce wraps, at least two pizzas and the strawberry cheese cake. The place is pricy, so a meal for two will set you back by Rs. 1500 or so. Pizzas are priced around Rs. 700, desserts at about Rs. 350.
CPK is at the Phoenix Market, Velacherry.