IN my mind, the perfect Italian restaurant can be summed up in a matter of words – authentic, welcoming, relaxing, and most importantly, mouth-watering.

And the revamped Pizza Express in Knutsford has hit the nail on the head.

We visited the King Street restaurant one week after it reopened its doors and were pleasantly surprised by its ‘atmosfera rilassante’ – that’s chilled out atmosphere to you and me.

As a young married couple, we often want to squirrel ourselves away in the corner of bustling restaurants but struggle to tune out clattering plates, loud music and large parties.

No such problem at Pizza Express.

We were seated in one of the new high-back booths, designed for those seeking a more intimate dining experience, and immediately sank into our new tranquil surroundings.

Our waiter, Mo, could not have been more attentive and was on hand to offer, we feel, his genuine recommendations – never trust a waiter who doesn’t know his menu.

For starters, we tucked into Garlic Bread Mozzarella and Bruschetta Originale ‘Pizza Express’. The dishes were well presented and the flavour was really brought out by the fresh ingredients. We usually steer clear of starters for fear of ruining our appetites, but the light portions were just right and kept the hunger at bay before the mains.

For the main event, I was presented with Polenta chips and Lasagna Classica, and the other half went with Mo’s recommendations of Pollo Forza pizza and Rucola salad. The Polenta chips were perfectly seasoned, crispy and moreish and the flavour really brought out by the honey and mustard dressing. Lasagne is always a gamble in my book, but the dish was perfectly balanced and had a beautifully creamy taste.

The fiery Pollo Forza is designed for those who love a hit of heat, with dried chilli flakes, chargrilled red & yellow peppers, roquito peppers and chilli oil among its ingredients, and the peppery taste of the Rucola salad complemented the smoky flavour of the pizza.

Reaching our limit, there was just about room for dessert and we opted for vanilla cheesecake and Mo’s recommendation of Leggera Sorbet. The cheesecake had a velvety, creamy texture and scrumptious crumbly base and the Leggera Sorbet – two scoops of lemon curd with fresh mint – was refreshing with a citrusy bite.

We can honestly say we left the restaurant feeling relaxed and truly satisfied. If you are looking for somewhere to unwind after a long day at work, take a night off from slaving at the stove, or catch-up with friends over a bottle of wine, it ticks all the boxes. When it comes to a true dining experience, Pizza Express in Knutsford certainly delivers.