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Carrabba’s Italian Grill

Based on family gathering a really good Italian food, Carrabba’s Italian Grill is a restaurant that lives up to its name. Started by Johnny Carrabba and Damian Mandola, Carrabba’s has become an Italian staple from Florida to Utah.

Both Johnny and Damian were influenced by their grandmother and mother (respectively) who learned to cook from her mother, who was born in Sicily. Grace became a lover of cooking, passing down recipes she received from her mother to her family. Her recipes now live in Carrabba’s and appear on plates everyday.

Carrabba’s sits just off Archer Road, standing bold atop a low hill. The atmosphere is mellow, yet comfortable enough for the person who is not looking to fall asleep, but have a great meal with friends and family. Tables are spaced just enough for waiters, waitresses and guests to move about, but close enough to engage in conversation with someone at a different table. The lights are dimmed low setting a romantic mood, while televisions are position high enough to catch a NASCAR race or hockey NCAA win.

And if you’re looking to brush up on your Italian, Carrabba’s helps with a wide variety of their menu options written in Italian. I’ve found myself sounding a bit jazzy ordering my Lasagne (instead of lasagna). This dish is by the favorite of all guests. With one bite you are transformed to Italy, sitting outside under the stars with a tall glass of red wine. Mmmm… Carrabba’s brings you home (if the trip to Italy is just too risky) with their personal LARGE pizza. Spice it up with as many toppings as you like. Pepperoni always seems to win the race. Their calamari comes on a large plate (enough to share with the table), the same as their house salads which will probably fill you up just by looking at it. The bowls are as big as a torn open football.

Carrabba’s all time house favorites include the Pasta Carrabba and the Pasta Weesie. The Pasta Carrabba is the grilled chicken and fettuccine Alfredo. It’s your choice to keep the meal uber healthy with sauteed mushrooms and peas. The Pasta Weesie, on the other hand, is geared more toward seafood lovers offering sauteed shrimp in garlic and lemon butter atop fettuccine Alfredo. The dish is not complete until more veggies are added (sauteed mushrooms and scallions) and a delicate hint of white wine sauce.

One thing to be wary of before diving into a dish of deliciousness: Carrabba’s sticks to roots and adds light to full-bodied wine to their food. This does not mean you’ll eat some Pasta Weesie and walk out on Cloud 9. This just means that Carrabba’s chef’s take time on every dish and like to add a little flavor to each meal. However, if you are overtly worried the menu clearly states how much wine, if any, is added to each meal. And on that note Carrabba’s is very PSA friendly sending you off with this one message: Drink Responsibly. Drive Responsibly.

Price: $$
Service: 5/5 (The men will help the ladies into their seats, if prompted)
Atmosphere: ‘Rilassarsi e godersi l’Italia.

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