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Review

Zia: Hotel Métropole’s pop-up gives pizza pride of place

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Zia's chefs Manon Santini and Rocco Seminara with chef Christophe Cussac © Matthieu Cellard

The restaurant offers the chance to enjoy and share pizza in a legendary setting.

Summer is tiptoeing towards us and the Hotel Métropole is keeping up its tradition of a pop-up restaurant for the season. This year, the Zia concept is taking up residence in the sumptuous surroundings of the Odyssey, a space designed and decorated by the legendary Karl Lagerfeld.

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By the pool, under the stars, in a relaxed and elegant atmosphere… this is where Manon Santini and Rocco Seminara, both former Hotel de Paris chefs, invite you to discover a bold move for a 5-star hotel: a pizza menu!

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Clients can enjoy their pizzas in this wonderful setting, near the pool © L. Galaup 

“Pizza has its place in palaces,” says Rocco Seminara. The ambition of the two chefs is clear:  “to showcase pizza, to let people discover something different and to give them an experience,” as Manon Santini puts it.

Originality and exceptional ingredients

The idea of a pizza with avocado and caviar may raise a purist’s eyebrow or two, particularly among Italians, but don’t be swayed by first impressions. The avocado pizza happens to be one of the most popular, despite being the most expensive, on the menu. The other pizzas cost about €30 on average and really augment the great classic Italian recipes.

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Avocado and caviar pizza © Matthieu Cellard

Chefs Santini and Seminara use local produce and ingredients imported directly from Italy to enhance their creations. Their pizzas come in all possible shapes and sizes and with a variety of visuals. The most original is probably the soufflé pizza with truffles.

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Soufflé pizza with truffles © Matthieu Cellard

Pizzas are the stars at Zia, no doubt about it, but other dishes are also on offer, such as antipasti, carpaccios, salads and pizzettas.

The dough, the all-important base

The dough is the secret of any good pizza, and Zia’s doesn’t disappoint. Neither do the crusts. Often overlooked, these certainly aren’t! The dough is crispy, light and thin, as it should be.

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Manon Santini preparing the all-important pizza dough © Matthieu Cellard

It’s no fluke that it’s so good. Manon and Rocco work their dough precisely and delicately. Manon Santini told us that he “selected flours with a mixture of seeds, wholemeal flour and strong flour.” She went on to say that she wanted a light dough, obtained thanks to “a very small amount of yeast, so that the dough is as easy to digest as possible.” The low yeast content means that “the dough has to be left to rise for at least 48 hours so that the yeasts can develop like a natural leaven.”

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Making pizza dough is much harder than cooking a steak

In synch in an interview situation as well as  in the kitchen, Rocco Seminara adds that “pizza may seem very ordinary but it is actually very technical. You need to have all the knowledge and understand the environment you’re in. Making pizza dough is much harder than cooking a steak.” The chefs are mindful of  every detail, from the temperature of the water to the ambient humidity to the outdoor temperature, to provide the perfect pizza dough.

Finishing on a high note

2019 World Dessert Pizza Champion, Manon Santini provides sweet creations to round the meal off in style. Her idea: “to recreate the look and taste of a beautiful French pastry on a pizza.”

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The baby chocolate-praline pizza (pizzetta) served as a dessert ©Matthieu Cellard

From time to time over the season, you will be able to try the 2019 world dessert pizza winner. At the moment, you can choose between the delicious chocolate-praline and strawberry-pistachio pizzas.

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A unique friendly atmosphere and proximity

The chefs’ watchword is ‘friendly’. “We want to create a friendly atmosphere within a space that includes the hotel’s swimming pool and grounds,”  explained Rocco Seminara.

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Manon Santini © Matthieu Cellard
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Rocco Seminara © Matthieu Cellard

A goal that is perfectly in keeping with the image of pizza as a symbol of friendly, relaxed gatherings to share. The outdoor pizza oven plays its part to perfection as customers can see their pizzas being prepared, and even chat with the chefs if they so wish.


Practical info: 

  • When: Wednesday through Sunday evening. At lunchtime Zia provides three enhanced classics: Margherita, Marinara and Napoletana.
  • Pizza prices: from €22 to €295
  • Where: Odyssey, Hotel Métropole