Performing chefs cook up rustic, home-style Italian entrees at this buzzing family restaurant..
A boisterous, all-ages crowd of pasta lovers pack this energetic Italian spot, where chefs clad in white hats and red scarves keep diners wide-eyed by showing their moves in the busy open kitchen. The menu boasts family-sized portions of hearty traditional fare, from antipasti, chicken and pasta dishes to seafood, steak and wood-fired pizzas. Signature plates include grilled pork chops, lobster ravioli, and penne rustica with shrimp, grilled chicken and smoked prosciutto in cream sauce.
So what if it's a chain?.
I went to the Macaroni Grill for the first time less than a week after I dined at a "fashionable" Minneapolis Italian bistro, highly rated by the critics. Macaroni Grill was quiet (I had to yell in the trendy place); the wait staff was infinitely better trained, (they didn't spill my wine like the other place did); and I had to debate for a full 5 minutes about which of the many entrees I wanted.
Unlike the trendy place, I got bread and a salad and enough food to make a great lunch the next day. Most important: the food tasted GREAT and my bill was half of what I paid at the loud, poorly staffed place.
If your sense of sophistication prevents you from dining in chain restaurants, thats fine. It will mean a quieter time and less waiting for those of us at Macaroni Grill!
Never going back after that one time... they forgot to make our spinach-artichoke-shrimp dish as an appetizer, bringing it out after everything else. The pizza was piled high with basil as if it were a salad. The pasta dish was just not tasty enough to merit the large portion. Also, the artichoke dip was not good. I guess at least there were crayons on the paper table cover to amuse ourselves with.
Not bad at all.... Having read a previous review, I felt it was my obligation to post one of my own. The Macaroni Grill is not the finest Italian resaurant in town. However, it is a good restaurant with great food, decent service, and an exceptional value. The menu includes a list of special entrees, drinks and/or deserts not on their standard menu that really add some variety to the menu making it possible to try something new and delicious everytime you visit. The service is on par with a restaurant of this caliber and it exceeds the service of many "fine" restaurants where the check will be $30-$40 per plate and the waiting will be long and often. The atmosphere is family friendly and relaxed. This is a great restaurant to visit regularly if you enjoy Italian food because you will be served a good meal for a decent price.
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