Aurora >Food & Dining > Carrabba's Italian Grill
The decor, from the chianti bottle door handles to the fake mosaic tabletops, was ridiculous. While the chicken was grilled nicely, and my boyfriend liked the fontina on top of his, the side dishes were not spectacular overall though I did like the garlic in the zucchini. Our desserts were tiny and oddly just given to us from the spread that our waiter was describing--that made us question whether we were getting food that had been sitting out a while.
The menus, regular and the summer grill fixe, were somewhat difficult to understand. It didn't actually seem to matter to our waiter what menu we were using. My boyfriend and I ended up with three side dishes, two salads, and two desserts between us even though we thought we were ordering from the regular menu which had more side dish choices to go with our main entrees.
In any case, while we enjoyed ourselves, the whole dinner was way more costly than what we expected to pay. We had been thinking more along the lines of Olive Garden or Applebee's pricing. Over $16 for most chicken dishes seemed steep. We'll probably stick with non-chain restaurants that are less expensive, too, in the future.
An open kitchen churns out wood-fired pizzas and fresh-made pastas at this casual Sicilian-American chain..
Decorated with family photos of founders Damian Mandola and Johnny Carrabba, the open dining rooms pack groups of friends and extended families into four- and six-person tables and booths; smaller parties or couples can grab stools at the open kitchen's adjoining bar to watch chefs make dinner. The traditional southern Italian menu offers grill specialties like steak Marsala and fire-roasted chicken breast with sun-dried tomatoes; pasta dishes include fettuccine Alfredo and garlic-sauteed shrimp with linguine.
Fine eating establishment. Carrabba's is excellent food if one understands that it is a chain restaurant built around a clever theme. The grilled items are uniformly excellent and tasty, the pastas are cooked al dente and well prepared, and the sides are not overlooked. It is vastly superior to an Olive Garden, or its closest competitor Macaroni Grill. I've enjoyed several excellent meals there that exceeded my expectations. Is it truly highbrow Italian cuisine? No, but it doesn't pretend to be either like Il Fornaio. It hits the spot when we want to eat good food and don't feel like spending three hours or a hundred bucks to get something better.
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