First bites: CiCi’s Pizza


OK, after hearing and seeing the ads for years, and just over a year after writing a blog post questioning the advertising of something that wasn’t available in this state, the curiosity was just too much.

I finally tried CiCi’s Pizza.

I happened to be in L.A. doing a little CD shopping and planned to stop on my way back in Chino Hills and check out the recently opened pizza buffet.

The verdict?

For the price, it can’t be beat, especially now. (More on that later.)

Do they have the best pizza I’ve ever had?

No, but some of their varieties are actually pretty tasty.

When you first walk in the door, you are greeted by several employees. (Who’ll also thank you when you leave.)

They’ll take your order (if you’re dining in, the only option is drink or no drink) and you can start in immediately. The cashier told me her name and said she was there if I needed anything. She’s not the only employee to do so.

That makes for great customer service.

The day I was there, they had two different salads: An Italian mix salad and a BLT salad with ranch dressing. I tried the BLT salad. It was good, but not great.

The only pasta option they had was spirali (which they seemed to use in everything) with marinara. Again, good, but not great. They had a chicken noodle soup (spirali again), which I didn’t try. Also on the pasta table are garlicky thin breadsticks made of pizza dough.

On to the pizza: I tried several, including Buffalo chicken, pepperoni, tomato Alfredo, pepperoni Alfredo, and macaroni (can’t get enough spirali) and cheese.

Macaroni and cheese? I know. But it’s not as odd as you think.

My favorite, however was their “pepperoni flip,” which was similar to a calzone, but not as thick. In fact, it’s more like a quesadilla than a calzone. The dough is that thin. I had several pieces.

In general, the more exotic the pizza, the better it was. I liked the Alfredo pizzas, but didn’t really care for the pepperoni pizza.

The bussers were quick to clear dirty dishes off your table as you went up to get more food. The servers were constantly replacing pizzas as they would get eaten. If there was a pizza you wanted that wasn’t currently on the serving row, they would make it and bring you out a piece when it was ready.

Most of the pizzas were of a medium crust, but occasionally they’d throw in a deep dish pizza to mix things up. They also had a thinner “rustic” crust pizza, which I didn’t try.

They’ve also got dessert — brownies and cinnamon rolls. The cinnamon rolls were pretty tasty: tender dough, a generous coating of cinnamon sugar and yummy icing.

I’m not going to tell you how many I had.

As a bonus, it seemed to be ’80s revival day over the speakers. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Julian Cope’s “World Shut Your Mouth” or the B-52’s “Quiche Lorraine” as background music. Nice!

I haven’t even gotten to the best thing about CiCi’s: the price.

Normally their buffet is $4.99, but right now it’s a dollar less. My total for my lunch? $6.29, including a drink and tax.

That’s gotta be some kind of miserly record.

The Chino Hills CiCi’s is at 4200 Chino Hills Parkway, in the Marketplace Shopping Center. To save yourself from driving around the humongous shopping center (as I did), it’s on the south side of the stand-alone building that butts up against Pipeline Avenue.

If you’ve been, or decide to go, let us know below.

  • Janice Douma

    We dined at Cicis last night Tues March 30th. We had dined there once before. I personally don’t think we will return.

    The salad was empty cashier has to refill it so she is trying to do both jobs.

    Ordered Pizza, order 4 pcs they brought out 3, previous visit ordered 4 pcs they brought out 2. Pizza selection on buffet was very sparse I might add.

    No cinnamon rolls for 2 hours! This was at 7;45pm. I guess they were going to be ready after they close. ?

    I guess since you pay before you go through the buffet they figure you don’t have a choice but take what you get or can get.

    Very dissapointed in deed. I might add we took friends there we were very embarassed.

    By the way, we have been to another Cicis in Florida that was great.

  • John Plessel


    Sorry to hear about your experience.

    I went at lunch time, so I’m wondering if it was less crowded then, since I didn’t have any of the problems you mentioned.

    A couple of the pizzas were so-so, but otherwise, I had a good lunch.

    I’m of the opinion that restaurant owners should be made aware when guests have a bad experience (or a particularly good one, for that matter). Mostly because, if I owned a restaurant, I would want to know about problems so that I can fix them.

    With Cici’s, you can go online and leave a comment. If you have a moment, you should go to their Web site (, click on the “Cici’s Buffet” button in the arc, and then on the “Tell us about your visit” button and fill in the form. Or you can just send an email to

    As it says, they’ll be happy to hear from you.

  • jim and jan altman

    we go to cices all the time in indiana ever since they opened and we just love it. just wanted u to know that we eat out alot cause we travel a good bit and cicic’ in indiana is the is always so clean and the manager Beth comes to our table and everyone else when we are there and always ask if everything ok and seeing if she can do anything for us. we have seen the peopel working there always tries to please all the customers makeing the pizza’s just the way they want them made, and if there is special orders the pizza is hand delivered to their tables. the service is better than that of any restraunt we have gone too. some of the workers like Mary, Dave, Sarah and Beth are so wonderful to is very seldom that you see tables with dirty dishes. i want to personaliy thank who ever came up with the idea of cici’s reatraunt it is great. it is reasonaliby in price that everyone can afford to eat their with their familys. i know my husband and just love it, our waist and belly are getting bigger. hahaha. just wanted you to know we are happy customers. thanks again indiana ,pa cicis for being so good to us and all of the others coustomers. ur the BEST!