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What's safe at Johnny Carino's?

I know Johnny Carino's has not gotten good reviews on this board in the past, but I'm trying to be a good sport! I absolutely abhor Olive Garden, and am hoping that Johnny's will be a step up (crossing fingers and toes!) Any dishes that are particularly safe? (Please don't tell me to go somewhere else, like I said, I'm trying to be a sport!) If all else fails, they do have a wine that I love!

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  1. Lasagna
    Turtle Cheesecake

    NOTE: When the server tells you the day's "feature" this is not the same as the day's "special." A "feature" at Johnny Carino's is a regular menu item to which they wish to call your attention but is still at the standard price. I find this annoying. Probably just me being peckish.

    Having said that, I enjoy Johnny Carino's and I really avoid Olive Garden.

    1 Reply
    1. re: yayadave

      I second the lasagna. Was very good - though a very heavy version (my favorite kind). It is not exceptional italian but is miles above Olive Garden. I would definitely go if I was trying to be a sport!

    2. The chicken, gorgonzola, sun-dried tomato vinagrette salad is good (despite the fact that the description makes it sound like a total mishmash), but ask them to bring the vinagrette on the side, or they will completely drown that poor salad.

      If you want more than a salad, there's a penne dish with chicken and mushrooms in a cheese sauce that is a cut or two above Olive Garden...more in the Macaroni Grill ballpark. (which is about where I would rank Carino's anyway)

      1 Reply
      1. re: zorra

        The chicken,gorgonzola salad at Johnny Carino's in Piscatway NJ, is what I had for lunch today...Fresh ingredents,decent size,chilled, and not bad....

        1. re: River Rat

          I second the Spicy Chicken and SPrimp. I didn't not like their meat sauce. I do, however, like their Chili Soup, or whatever it is called.

        2. The minestrone is the only thing I've had from there that I really liked. Chicken parmigiana is a sizeable, decently cooked chicken cutlet, but the spaghetti and sauce that come with it are lackluster(better than Olive Garden's though.) Veal parmigiana wasn't good--it was like a few slices thinly sliced deli meat stuck together and breaded(with the same weak spaghetti & sauce as the chicken parm.) I've also had pasta with some flavorless Italian sausage there--not good at all. Pizza was edible but I wouldn't call it good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Chimayo Joe

            Funny how the consistency of what you get at a chain isn't always there. The veal parmigiana I've had from our local Carino's wasn't very good, either, but it was definitely not "thinly sliced deli meat." Here the meat is really thick -- thicker than I like veal. Also had a pretty heavy breading.

          2. The restroom. This place is no better than Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill. If I had to pick I'd go with Olive Garden, it's safer.