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Maggiano's - um, lots of quantity

We went to Maggiano's in DC on a great recommendation from friends. We had a group of 6 for a b-day party. After all the hype and excitement, I found the place to be packed and loud. And the food? Mediocre Italian. Why is it that a mountain of food=orgasmically delicious dining experience for some people?

I'd much rather skip the family style platters heaping full of gnocchi and order an entree of higher quality!

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  1. ... and Salt!

    They try... but ease up on the salt guys! :P


    1. Volume carbo buzz is the coin of Maggiano's realm, not unlike the Texas Cheesekake Suppository or Buca di Beppo, except there are a couple dishes at the latter that aren't completely vacuous.

      Go to Restaurant AV on New York Avenue before it closes down. Not orgasmically delicious, but it's real Italian cooked by Italians. White pizza and broccoli di rabe are great, as well as their homemade sausages.

      1 Reply
      1. re: monkeyrotica

        You win a can of tuna for the cattiest renaming of the Cheesecake Factory ever in the history of crappy food.

      2. For some people, large quantities of food = excellent value. Sadly, the quality of the food never comes into play. If they can get a lot of it, they think they're somehow ahead of the game.

        1. Me, well, I like that I can actually get a decent size salad as an entree that doesn't have tons of stuff on it (i.e., no Cobb salad). Plus, when I order a cappucino at dessert, I'm offered a side shot of Sambucca :-) Every once in awhile, Italian comfort food is on the brain, and Maggiano's gives us that. If you know what you're in for, it's OK. It's not a high end Italian place, and I don't think it portends to be that.

          2 Replies
          1. re: scabbardgirl

            I agree - Maggiano's doesn't try to pass itself off as high-end.

            The regular menu isn't really exciting, lots to choose from, but last time I was there I had a fantastic seafood pasta tossed in a diablo marinara sauce (one of the dinner specials). Not sure how authentic that was, but it was delicious.

            1. re: theannerska

              "Maggiano's doesn't try to pass itself off as high-end."
              The one near me has "fine italian dining" in big letters on the front of the building.

          2. I think the draw with Maggianos is the value average folks find in a bottomless dish. Remember you can keep ordering refills until you burst or take home all the leftovers.

            I actually ordered a dish off their a la carte menu once that wasn't part of the family style dinner, the Sirloin Tips that was exceptionally good for Maggianos.

            Within this restaurant genre I prefer Buca and only a dish or two at that...I like their Spaghetti w/meat sauce very much.

            1 Reply
            1. re: davinagr

              I've never gone there with a herd, so I've never done the family style. We always order off the menu.
              I've been to Carrabas twice (in Scottsdale, AZ) and was not impressed. Long wait to be seated and nothing on the menu really spoke to me. I've been to Buca once (in Salt Lake City) and it was OK. But, it's nothing I'd drive 40 minutes to get to. We don't have a Maggiano's here in Utah, but if there was one, I don't think I'd drive 40 minutes to get to it, either. But, when I'm in Arizona, it's not too bad. Besides, my husband likes those bellinis they have!

            2. I like Maggiano's. They take reservations and I love the atmosphere. I also like their salads and I love their lasagna and I ask them to box half of it to go and just serve me half if I'm not sharing. When I go with Mr. Janet and my stepdaughter, we often get one salad and 2 entrees and there's enough left for lunch the next day. It's not great cuisine, but it's a big step up from Olive Garden and comparable with Carrabas (who does not take reservations).

              1 Reply
              1. re: Janet from Richmond

                It's good to hear that their salads are yummy - I love salad, but too many Italian places serve up greens that are either poor excuses for salad or slathered in dressing...

              2. Have you tried "That's Amore"?

                1 Reply
                1. re: bliebman2

                  We have these around DC...just never ventured in. Never thought it looked that fabulous, although I've never heard anything bad.

                2. Yuck. Totally unimpressive, some ownership as Macaroni Grill and Chili's - just dressed up, a little prettier.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Muhlyssa

                    Yep; I couldn't agree more. It's unimpressive and aspires to be an "upscale" Olive Garden. It fails miserably on all grounds except "location, location, location" which will guarantee it's continued success.

                    1. re: Muhlyssa

                      Good to know. Why? Because I don't particularly care for Macaroni Grill and I really dislike Chili's.

                    2. Actually, I prefer Macaroni Grill. For the price, it's good quality and the wood-fire pizza's are pretty good!

                      Chili's I could do without, though they did used to have a great peppercorn studded turkey burger. But that was ages ago!


                      3 Replies
                      1. re: TexasToast

                        I think it must depend on which Macaroni Grill you go to. I went to one where it tasted like someone put linguine in my salt.

                        1. re: monkeyrotica

                          Yep. That's Macaroni Grill for you. We went ONCE about 8 years ago and all I remember was the over-saltedness of everything. Recently they opened one up in our neighboorhood and I thought, oh hell, maybe I was being too harsh with my memory from eight years ago. Nothing has changed. Salt, rolled in salt with a side of salt.

                          1. re: Muhlyssa

                            I musta been lucky then, as I've been to MG's in at least three States and multiple locations in Texas, and I've not come across that.


                      2. I must confess, the fried zucchini at Maggiano's is INCREDIBLE! I love it. I get a full on craving for it every once in awhile and it leads me straight there. I also agree they have fantastic salads.

                        My family in NC went to Maggiano's last year for Thanksgiving. No one wanted to cook and it seemed like the best deal in town and it was. Of course, it was all served family style and included the Thanksgiving basics of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc. as well as some pasta dishes. It was great for me as I am not a huge fan of the traditional turkey day fare. We were all thrilled - no one had to cook all day and there was no fight over who had to clean the kitchen. It was a deal too - I think it was $25 a head.

                        1. Maggianos is WORLDs better than Macaroni Grill, which I just find horrible. STill not great, but I like it for casual weekend lunches or just to relax. A lot of the food is a bit salty.

                          I actually also went to Bucca Di Beppo for the first time last weekend, and I really didn't like it there.

                          Maggianos just seems like a better chain than the other two.

                          1. We need to stop going to these chains altogether.

                            Maggiano's really sucks.

                            Buca Di Beppo has tasty pizza, excellent limoncello, and good-sized beers. But other than that, I don't care.

                            Chains are cheesey, the food is always boring and cookie cutter-esque.

                            Without a doubt we must quit dining at these establishments.

                            For those of us in the midwestern United States it is difficult to avoid these places, I know. But what we need to do as Americans is TEAR DOWN THE BRINKER CORPORATION AND ALL THAT BEHAVE AS SUCH!!!

                            Now that I've descended from my soapbox, thank you and good night.

                            1. Maggiano's is pure garbage. I mean...it might be worse than the Olive Garden.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: tamerlanenj

                                Oh no, Olive Garden is the WORST chain . . . well, no, I take that back. Applebee's in the worst chain, followed closely by OG.


                                1. re: TexasToast

                                  Applebee's is the worst. And I'm deciding between Olive Garden and Old Spaghetti Factory. I haven't had too much luck in Buca de Beppo's in several locations.

                                  1. re: rumgum

                                    There are a couple edible things at olive garden, but not many. All the pastsa is essentially garbage, but the unimited salad and breadsticks are good.

                              2. My GF is pretty picky when it comes to Italian food, but for some inexplicable reason, she likes Maggiano's. We went and it was competant, though I wouldn't go back. They messed up my drink order, and I don't care for places that summon diners to their table using a loud speaker/PA system INSIDE the restaurant.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: wontonton

                                  At the San Jose branch, that's the only way the party will ever know they've been called (since they don't use pagers). That place is LOUD! Even going deaf, it caused me to physically wince at how loud it was...