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Coerced into Cheesecake Factory

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So I'm already set against this place based on knowing a couple of the waiters there, but I'm being forced to go as a group outing...

Are there any decent menu items that aren't

1. Substituting quality for ridiculous quantity
2. Not terribly overpriced (and oversalted)
3. Trying to over-impress you with something that was invented /put together in a factory

I've had the cheesecake before and although everyone seems to think "it's so amazing" I've had better cheap frozen cheesecake. Seriously, do these overpriced chains rely on overpricing their items to convince people they are eating fine cuisine?

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  1. They have a Spicy Cashew Chicken that I really like. It is lightly breaded chicken breast that is stir fried in a fantastic spicy sauce, tossed with cashews, green onions and sesame seeds and served over a huge bowl of rice. I get it pretty much every time I go.

    1. cheesecake factory, terrible, probably one of the 5 worst restaurants I have ever been to. Below average food, poor service.

      Waited in the bar for a server to come to my table for 15 mins,then waited another 10 mins for a drink. At the table, we didnt see a server for almost 15 mins after we sat down.

      The food, other than the deserts which some @ my table ate, was of worse quality than you might find at the local Bennigans. They should stick to cheesecake. It seems they are understaffed, and are trying to do to much.

      try the liquid dinner route (shots, and some cocktails, and go elsewhere after you leave...

      I would never return to the Cheesecake Factory @ Oak Brook, IL.

      1 Reply
      1. re: swsidejim

        did you complain?

      2. there's a post a few weeks back on this. i had the chicken "tortillas" the last time I went, reminiscent of an enchilada and I liked the sauce and side of black beans.
        but, yeah the other two things i had (cheesecake and tempura roll) were gross.

        1. Sorry (inmybackpages) but you have some beef with Cheesecake Factory. They are one of the most successful chains in the country, and they didn't get that way by having customers like you, or being too salty, or being too overpriced, and they happen to sell more cheesecakes then anyone in the country. Their training school demands waiters to work for about 3-weeks before going on their own, and to taste every dish they have so it can be explained to the customer. Who else does this. Their chefs must go through very rigid training in their own schools. They buy only the freshest products, and must past certain tests before you can become a vendor of Cheesecake Factory. They are one of the best run, best organized, most successful, profitable chains that has more managers on the floor watching product, delivery, quality and customer satisfaction then any chain. I could keep going, but its us who made them successful. Any large successful shopping center in America would give Cheesecake Factory 6-months or a year of free rent just to get them to spend millions for a new restaurant in their shopping center.

          5 Replies
          1. re: irwin

            Be that as it may, I'd have to agree that they are very overrated. If you must go, I have two recommendations. No wait, three, first don't order the tea (it is some fruity tea, not regular iced tea). Second, they have a pretty good caesar salad. Third, my wife likes some corn cake appetizer thing they make. Beyond that, I've never been impressed with their service nor how they jam diners together like cattle (or perhaps sheep is a better analogy).

            As far as their cheesecake, Sams Club frozen ones are superior to the CF ones in my opinion.

            1. re: citizenconn

              my wife loves their ice tea....
              I hate their ice tea, so I order something else...

            2. re: irwin

              It is only fair to point out, however, that "success" does not necessarily mean that it is "great chow." I can cite and endless litany of places that are hot, trendy, popular, successful, and have long waits, yet the food is mediocre at best.

              1. re: Seth Chadwick

                I think you've hit the source of their success. If you have to wait in a line to get something, it must be good. My mother-in-law only reads books that are on the NYT Bestseller list because they must be good since they sell a lot of copies.

                If CF were to double their already gargantuan proportions of food and make it taste worse, they would STILL have long waits to get in. Many of their customers associate volume with value.

                I'd eat elsewhere beforehand and just nurse my Bubblegum Mugarita or whatever liquor it is they peddle.

              2. re: irwin

                That's a whole lot of work waste on such a mediocre product...

                But I almost forgot: if it's successful, it must be good!

              3. I agree with irwin. I think when you really look at them from a business perspective - the CHeesecake Factory is a brilliant success story. I've read how they have NEVER advertsied and then you see where others advertise in their menus.

                I'm often surprised by the beefs people have with restaurants. I personally love the iced tea at Cheesecake Factory - it's something a little bit different than your plain old glass of tea. And, every time I have ordered it, the waiter has said "we serve a special fruit iced tea, is that ok with you?" - so it's not that you don't know what you are getting.

                As far as most restaurants who have huge and varied menus, Cheesecake Factory is one of the only places I have ever been where they actually seem to be abel to make the variety of dishes well.

                So, some may have their beefs with the place, but I agree - they aren't tremendously successful by serving bad food, so they are doing something right, even if some people here don't like them.

                1. I remember when Cheesecake Factory first opened, when the Cheesecakes were made onsite and it was outstanding.

                  Then, it expanded and started shipping frozen cheesecakes from commisary network and the quality is a shadow of its former self.

                  Sure, there are a couple of things that are decent on the menu, but I find I would rather chance a small, ethnic, mom and pop place first.

                  1. Look... since you HAVE to go... smile and make the best of it. No one wants a pouty dinner guest.

                    The turkey burgers, at least in Los Angeles, are good.
                    The salads are good.
                    The Godiva Chocolate cheesecake is great.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Jennalynn

                      That's why I asked, so I could find something that people generally seem to like! Thanks for all the great advice.

                    2. Seriously, this place is successful for a reason. I dont love it but I dont cringe when I have to go. The menu is huge, find something that sounds good and just take it for what it is. Te burger is good and I really like most their salads (as mentioned). Avoid the items that seem too "daring" for cheesecake factors, (i.e. jambalaya and other non-americanized regional specialiteS).

                      Dont let all these negative posts turn you off, sometime, some hounds try too hard to be "anti-chain."

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MEalcentric

                        bingo.

                        i like the kobe burger, the chicken fingers and the chicken madiera.

                        its seriously not that bad. service has been very friendly everytime I've gone. just a wait for a table.

                      2. Hey, it's not your last meal! Go for the meatloaf! It is great for a chain with some tasty food and more than ample portions. I get so picky sometimes that I have to remind myself, there will be another meal, another chance for that perfect experience. There is much here to please a variety of people. Have fun. Not every meal is an 'experience.'

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Jesdamala

                          Thanks!

                          I'll admit, I'm picky and anti-chain so that kind of negatively flavored my original post. I've had mixed reviews from less picky friends, so I was a bit worried about service but we'll see what happens...

                          So far, I'm planning on sticking to cocktails and appetizers...

                          1. re: inmybackpages

                            Isn't most all drugstores part of a large chain? Are they ok, but food chains are not? Come on, if we took the sign down out front of the restaurant, you wouldn't know the difference......

                        2. Well, even accounting for my anti-chain bias, it's still pretty bad -- but I think that any experience I have in a Cheesecake Factory will be coloured by the noise pollution. It's unbelievable. Even the outside seating in Brentwood can be ridiculously loud, and the only restaurant I've ever been to that's louder than the CF in Newport beach is Border Grill in Santa Monica.

                          They DO oversalt their food (consistently!) and, in Newport Beach and Brentwood, at least, they have issues with "contamination" of salad dressings -- meaning that they're sloppy about the ladles, much moreso than other restaurants. This is bad when one's wife is allergic to bleu cheese.

                          That said, if you stick to plain old American food -- the kind you would get at a cafe in the Midwest, burgers, chicken, etc., you should be pretty safe. Some of their salads are good and some are overdesigned.

                          The cheesecake's OK, I guess, but in the spirit of my Aunt Gertrude (buon'anima), "I could make it better at home for cheaper."

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                            Not much to add that hasn't been said before. Some of the food can be good. The cheescake is not anything special. I do like the Thai? beef salad. It's large enough for three people (wasteful). It's made with cabbage so it will survive a while if leftovers are taken home. The fried mac and cheese appetizer is fun and conforting but a little goes a long way. I don't like to go to CF mostly because of the crowds, noise and wait. I've always had good service, no complaint there. BTW, I don't like the iced tea either

                          2. After a nice meal at Summer Shack in Boston and wondering back to my hotel I passed a Cheesecake Factory. Hearing wonderful things about this place from relatives I decided to get a couple of slices of cheesecake to see what all the fuss was about. Two slices for the road. I was FLOORED by the price but I am willing to try anything people tell me is great.

                            Comfortably seated in the room, TV going I open the banana and take a bite. ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING. ALMOST INEDIBLE. OK, maybe this is not their raison d'etre. On to the chocolate cheesecake. ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING. ALMOST INEDIBLE. I can not understand why anyone would buy or eat this stuff.

                            On the the OP's question. If FORCED to eat at any restaurant I try to minimize the discomfort. Caesar with grilled chicken, cheeseburger (bacon and onions can hide the worst anyone can offer), grilled chicken, etc. But eat in moderation.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: jfood

                              If you're an investor, yes CF is fantastic. If you're looking for an edible meal, keep right on looking. However, as far as cheesecake goes, skip their sorry, overpriced excuse for dessert. For years we've relied on mail order from Cascon Bakery in Whitestone, Queens. Even factoring in the cost of overnight shipping, Cascon's largest cheesecake comes out significantly cheaper than going to the mall for CF. And there is no comparison as far as quality goes. Cascon produces some of the finest cheesecake in creation. They are a wholesale/retail bakery who supply many of Manhattan's top restaurants.

                              1. re: rockycat

                                For a T-giving dinner, a guest brought CF's pumpkin/something cheesecake; it was delicious!

                            2. Have the Vietnamese Imperial rolls. Interesting riff on the real thing, very tasty, good dipping sauces, reasonable portion size and price. For comfort food, their meatloaf isn't bad, either.

                              1. (Copied from the other thread) When forced to eat at Cheesecake Factory, I like to order the "French Country Salad" and add on a protein: either sliced grilled chicken breast (+$3; often too dry) or grilled salmon (+$7) (almost always available in Palo Alto, not sure about elsewhere).

                                As for the iced tea, I believe it's the ubiquitous Paradise Tropical Tea from Sara Lee (http://www.superiorcoffee.com/brands.... ) which is a passion fruit or mango flavored black tea. A LOT of restaurants serve this tea and if you don't like it, your CF server will be happy to switch you to lemonade or something else.

                                1. On point with the original posting: the herb crusted salmon isn't too bad. Neither was the roasted chicken. Pretty safe bets, I think. But it's been a few years since I had either.

                                  Somewhat off topic: In college, I thought this place was gourmet and wonderful. Every time I've gone since over the past 7 years, the experience has been worse and worse. I don't think the quality has changed, really. But my benchmark for good food sure has. Hence the change in experience.

                                  I don't think people bag this place just because it's a chain. They bag it because the food is decidedly mediocre. I'd never go there on my own choosing. But if taken there on someone elses' you can get by without a severe vomit-inducing reaction.

                                  And, last digression, let's not equate success with quality. The best movies, for example, are rarely the highest grossing. The best food is rarely found at the most popular restaurants. That's what these boards are about - finding the best food wherever it is... at a successful venue or not. And saving people from the mediocre food, where possible.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: adamclyde

                                    Adamclyde: I thought it was wonderful in college, too, because I was poor and hungry and we'd always make our out-of-town parents take us there, so we'd have leftovers for the week. :-P

                                    To the OP: Even though the portion is huge and carbtastic, I always loved the chicken and biscuits. But that's just me. And I NEVER got the cheesecake -- the tiramisu and apple cobbler are divine, and less likely to be shipped in from somewhere else. (And all the cheesecake eaters kept dipping their spoons in MY dessert!)

                                    1. re: Covert Ops

                                      there's something about college and leftovers in styrofoam boxes that makes me nostalgic. It was always a treat when there was some food leftover from some previous meal waiting in the fridge... the quality really didn't matter. What did was it's ability to fill you up. Hence, why CF was so good then!

                                  2. Get the burger... they actually will cook it rare for you... :) They will also give you a nice side of Blue Cheese Dressing for your fries if you ask nicely! :)

                                    --Dommy!

                                    1. Why I think CF is always so busy: the menu is big enough to have something for everyone.

                                      The restaurant is formulated to be a group place (loud, large tables, large portions). And their menu is so large and diverse, who can say "no" to CF the way one might say "no" to Indian food or Mexican food or California food because it's too spicy/too heavy/too expensive etc.

                                      So someone's having a big group... where to go so everyone can be happy (i.e. not object)? Cheesecake. (unless, of course, you've got a Chowhound in the group. But then again, even the Chowhounds bow in, albeit reluctantly, not to miss out on the party.)

                                      P.S. I don't mind their vietnamese shrimp summer rolls. So if I'm invited, I'll go. See what I mean?!?!?!

                                      1. Actually I don't mind the Cheese Cake Factory located at the Source in Westbury NY. You don't go there looking for a gourmet meal but to a place that has something for all if you do not mind the noise. I won't wait more than 20 minutes to be seated for a meal so when it is busy -I go elswhere. The waiters always warn us about the iced tea. My hubby likes no salt on his fries and they accommondate him. I also order the dressings on the side whether it is a salad or a sandwich. It isn't soggy that way and leftovers are edible. Also you taste food- not a glob of mayo. Also when you go to a chain- don't expect gourmet desserts- I go expceting something goey, overly sweet with canned whipped cream. If you want the real Mccoy- go to a bakery.

                                        1. To the original poster....the best thing on the menu IMO is the Thai Lettuce Wraps appetizer. It's the only thing I order when I go...the sauces are quite good and the ingredients are very fresh and well prepared. I've not been back to the CF in two years after my last experience.

                                          Went with a GF who ordered a salad...as we all know their portions are extreme....while eating through it she found a very large long black hair....she has blonde hair. Called the manager over to discuss this with him... he said he would go back to the kitchen to discuss with the head chef....he returned 20 minutes later and said, "Everyone working in the kitchen wears a head covering and nobody has long hair, therefore the hair must be yours". Never an apology, never offered to exchange the meal, or credit it". Then walked off. I've never been back. This is the location in Woodland Hills, California.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: davinagr

                                            I second the Thai Lettuce Wraps appetizer. It's enough food to fill you up as a dinner and it is fresh.

                                          2. Yeah, the food here is pretty terrible. They manage to disgrace even some of the most basic dishes. However, it's just about the closest restaurant to my house and is open late for takeout. And the menu's so big, some of the stuff has to be good. So...the crab wonton wrappers are pretty good. A lot of the other appetizers look good, but I haven't gotten them. If I'm coerced to go there with people, I'd consider a dinner of appetizers. But Evelyn's Pasta is pretty good (I could imagine you might think it's too salty; it's heavy on kalamatas, sundried tomatoes, etc., but I like it). And the herbed salmon, available either on mashed potatoes or on greens is good. Oh, and the sashimi salad (maybe a so. cal. thing?) When they have it, the strawberry shortcake is actually not bad--made with a sweet biscuit.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: kimxchris

                                              So here's the plan - get some kind of wraps/rolls - I get universally good responses on that. I hear the cocktails/mixed drinks aren't bad - and I haven't had a good mojito in a while. I'm actually starting to look forward to this now.

                                            2. In the past, I have enjoyed the avocado egg rolls and the Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake. Oh! Their drinks are pretty good, too. Try the Flying Gorilla.

                                              1. Love CF or hate it, I think we can all agree that the Simpsons' reference to the "Texas Cheesecake Depository" was pretty darn funny.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Bob W

                                                  Although, I think Texas Cheesecake Suppository is more apropos.

                                                  I think the mini slider burgers are pretty good. So's the meatloaf.

                                                2. I'm not sure I get the food quality issue of many of those who don't like Cheesecake factory. I have a list of things about the place I'm not fond of, but the food quality is not one of them. I don't like the long wait,or the thing they do where they call you for your table then have you wait again (sometimes 5+ minutes) to actually be seated. I find the front area noisy and overcrowded, and their menu exhausting. But the food is really pretty good, in my opinion.

                                                  Now...... this is from someone who lives in "chainland" (South Orange County, CA), in an area where there are really very few locally owned, quality restaurants with any unique food approaches. Just finding a decent place that's open til 11PM is a challenge here.

                                                  I've never had a table-service problem there; I DO like their iced tea (and the server did make a point of telling me what to expect; the Thai Lettuce Wraps ARE very good; many of the salads are terrific. Last night I had a shrimp and bacon club sandwich that may have been one of the 5 best sandwiches I've ever eaten.

                                                  So........... that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

                                                  1. Maybe CCF works on a false "supply and demand" paradigm or a faux party atmosphere, i.e., make people wait so they think they're getting something of value or they're so tired from the wait they're beaten into submission and will take anything.

                                                    I've never been but did look at the menu at GF's insistence. My reaction was the menu was way too big to be any good, she agreed.

                                                    Bottomline: Cheesecake Factory = Claim Jumpers for Chicks.

                                                    1. The Pumpkin Cheesecake is great. If there are better cheescakes than that, the eater must literally die from pleasure after eating it. Do people hate the French Laundry, Keller's got more than one restaurant----he must be a chain.

                                                      1. I swear by their Southwest Chicken salad. It's not salty at all, amply portioned, and a good deal for the money. The only things I don't like about CF are the wait and the noise.

                                                        1. Personally they're one of my very favorites. I'm in love with their corn cake appetize and mile-high-meatloaf. I'm not even a big cheesecake fan, but I go for the other stuff. They don't have one in my home town so I make a point of visiting one when I travel. Outback also has a new chicken & corn-cake thing that's excellent.

                                                          1. I usually avoid this place because of the crowds, but I like the avocado egg rolls, the chicken avocado and bacon sandwich (which comes on really good grilled bread with fries or a salad) and I usually order iced tea or a cocktail. I've had other stuff there that was mediocre - but they do have good salads and sandwiches. If you have six people to feed, some of their entrees are pretty good - but the ginormous servings turn me off. The chicken and dumplings is a good example - it's a total mountain of food.

                                                            I never eat the cheesecake. I'm always too full after eating, and it is mediocre at best.

                                                            I also usually sit in the bar area - you don't have to wait for that.

                                                            1. Someone mentioned Bennigans above, but I would choose Bennigans over CCF in a second. Bennigans, at least, has the world's best chicken fingers, ever. Try them if you don't believe me.

                                                              1. We have a couple of non-adventurous/bland eaters in my office, so we love Cheesecake Factory for work lunches because we can all agree on it. (I love places with long menus, too, and this one is the champ! I agree with whomever said that they seem to actually be able to make most of the items.)

                                                                I usually get the salmon. My bland-eating coworkers often get the burgers, which look really good. My fave cheesecake is the apple strudel. Some people at our table were like, "Why do you want to order that???" but then they liked it a lot when they tried it!

                                                                1. How in the world can a restaurant with a menu with an INDEX possibly serve food made from fresh ingredients? I would think inventory would be a logistical nightmare.

                                                                  I despise CCF. I think the food is horrid and the service is glacial.

                                                                  The one here has been cited for many health code violations .... and they have an open kitchen!

                                                                  1. The diverse opinions expressed on this thread indicate that either there is an unbelievable inconsistency in this chain's quality or that there is an unbelievable inconsistency in some people's reliability. I've eaten in many different Cheesecake Factory restaurants and found the quality of the food and service to be consistently high. When I read poster's rhetoric about the food being "disgusting" and "inedible" I'm willing to bet the poster either has a hidden agenda or personal problems that make their comments suspect.

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Nukedli

                                                                      Good point. "Disgusting" or "inedible"? Certainly not.

                                                                      However: "great" or "excellent"? Certainly not. It's a chain. Chains are about mass-marketed mediocrity, not excellence. No exceptions of which I am aware.

                                                                      1. re: uptown jimmy

                                                                        Yah, I was kindof thinking the same thing. It seems over-dramatic to call it terrible, or inedible. What the heck are you eating that would make CF food so far down in quality that it's terrible.
                                                                        I do think much of the ingredients are fresh, even with that big of a menu. Notice the "raw" ingredients are repeated over and over, so while they have 10 pages of choices, the number of ing are not overwhelming. Plus, they are busy as all get out so they move through them quickly.

                                                                        On the other hand - they don't serve culinary masterpieces either. It's not the best burger, guolash, meatloaf, or whatever that you'll get. If you're into a particular food item/style/ethnicity then you're better off elsewhere.

                                                                      2. re: Nukedli

                                                                        There is a third choice, people just don't like it. I have absolutely no hidden agenda and was willing to give CF, as well as many chains, a chance. I just do not like it. I could drone about why and which parts were better or worse, but overall I found the food horrible, the size of the portions unappealing gross and the overall atmosphere not to my liking.

                                                                        1. re: Nukedli

                                                                          no hidden agenda here either,

                                                                          went in with an open mind, and was disappointed with the service and the food. This place in my humble opinion is on the same level of a Fridays, Bennigans, or Chilis.. Nothing special .

                                                                        2. I'll add my 2c here. A few years ago I was in Kansas City attending a family wedding, and our group stayed at a hotel near the Country Club Plaza (fairly upscale shopping area that has been there a long time). We ate at the Cheesecake Factory there at least three times, for convenience etc. as well as they were open late. I thought it was quite good for what it was, a chain restaurant with a huge menu. The food was not boring, it was tasty, and it suited our purpose very well. I live just north of San Francisco and a Cheesecake Factory opened here a couple of years ago. I haven't been to it. As they say, it's all relative.

                                                                          1. Sorry to hear that, inmybackpages. I'd change groups. My last outing to cheesecake factory put it right up there with some of the worst restaurants I've ever been to like Olive Garden and Pizza Hut. Everything there is WAY too sugary for my tastes.
                                                                            <p>
                                                                            In response to Nukedli, I would guess that there's a "an unbelievable inconsistency in some people's reliability" so to speak. I've eaten at three different Cheesecake Factories and they were all exactly the same. However, it was the rest of my diet that changed in between the 3 times I went there. I no longer eat tons of sugary foods, prepared with lots of sauces on which cheesecake factory and most other chains like friday's are dependent for their consistency of taste.
                                                                            <p>
                                                                            I eat a lot more fresh foods prepared with minimal varied spices for taste so it's no wonder that I have an increasingly more difficult time eating "factory" prepared foods that are oversaturated with tastes. For a chain cheesecake factory certainly is "higher end" so I'm sure you'll find those people here who like cheesecake factory like chains in general and those who dislike cheesecase factory probably dislike chains in general.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: eatingla

                                                                              I'm sympathetic to anyone who dislikes the taste or quality of food that they simply did not enjoy and usually find critical posts informative. But when a chain that is pretty consistently praised is described as "disgusting" and "inedible" the over-the-top rhetoric devalues the post. Why not just provide your evidence: "it was too salty (sweet, bland, too large portions, too small portions, overly cooked, etc.) and leave the melodrama in the editing bin. If a poster wants to describe a truely bad experience, it will be details that are useful, not emotionally charged invective.

                                                                            2. I have to say...I know Cheesecake Factory is considered to be a "good chain" by many, but I strongly disagree. I was really disappointed in a shrimp pasta dish I got (way tooooo salty and the pasta was overcooked), and before that, I was disappointed by a salmon/grilled asparagus order--thes seasoning was off on the salmon, although the asparagus was decent consistency (but cold) when it reached my table. I remember liking them a long time ago, but either they were better then or my palate has changed.

                                                                              1. I usually don't like chains, either, but I do like a few of the items at CF: the Thai Lettuce Wraps (my favorite), the Miso-glazed Salmon, the salads, the Sweet Corn Tamal Cakes (a guilty pleasure), and the Summer Shrimp rolls. Stick to what you like. I NEVER go there at Prime Time - too crowded. Get there early or sit at the bar. Take someone to share with.

                                                                                1. Cheesecake Factory is what it is... in my mind it really isn't all the different from any other chain - occasionally necessary, but not where I would pick to go if I had all my options laid out in front of me. That said, like most chains, you make the best of it and hope for a good experience. In the one near me, I've had good luck with the Thai Lettuce Wraps, the Chinese Chicken Salad (without the rice noodles and with the dressing on the side - it's sweet), and the Thai Chicken Pasta (it's spicy). I also like their fruity iced tea, if that is your taste. Have fun with your group!

                                                                                  1. Once, while visiting a city that had food I really wanted to be eating, our hosts took us to CF. I was SO disappointed inside but ended up having a decent lunch of what I think they called their French Country Salad and a piece of plain cheesecake with strawberries on it. It was fine. Not fine dining, of course, but fine for lunch and tasty even, relative to what one would expect from a chain. I have never been back but if I end up in that situation again I'll just try to order carefully again. Salad and dessert. The optimist in me asks "how bad can it be?" Anyway, mine was fine.
                                                                                    Next time I get to that city I'm sneaking in and eating my way through the food I really wanted, though. ;)

                                                                                    1. While its definitely not what most would consider a "great" restaurant, its definitely decent. Sometimes when you don't really know what you want to eat and you are with a group of people, CF is the best option. I think their cheesecake is crap, but their other food is good. The Thai lettuce wraps are awesome, as are most of salads. I really love the Chinese Chicken Salad! If you really want something fattening and good, go for the fried macaroni and cheese! Its amazing! Also the spinach artichoke dip is great!
                                                                                      I have eaten at some of the best restaurants in the world, yet everytime i go to CF, i am NOT disappointed! Honestly, give it a try, you might be surprised!

                                                                                      1. I think calling Cheesecake Factory inedible or terrible is overkill.

                                                                                        That said their food is dull. They're heavy on the sweeteners and fats, light on the spices, and have a heavy hand with the serving spoon. It's impossible to walk out without eating 1600+ calories of mediocrity. But they do it right - just adventurous enough to appeal to the mainstream, and just fresh enough ingredients to look decent. It takes someone with a discerning palate (and look at those lines to confirm how many don't have one!) to realize that they're being had.

                                                                                        I go occasionally because friends like the place. No matter what I try I'm left feeling like I ate a bucket of Crisco, even a house salad.

                                                                                        1. I like the Cheesecake Factory. And I almost never order the cheesecake (or any other dessert), just because I wind up pretty full from the entrees. I like the fruity iced tea, the firecracker salmon rolls are delicious, I like the sweet corn tamale cakes, they have a New Orleans shrimp dish that is to die for, the salads are excellent... heck, I like most of what I've ordered there. And I know food; I've eaten at plenty of unusual ethnic places, and many of the finest restaurants in the country. I know what I like, and I like a lot of what the Cheesecake Factory has to offer.

                                                                                          I think many of the negative comments in this topic range from overdramatized to overexaggerated and inaccurate. If you don't like it, don't go! But the least people can do is be accurate with their descriptions. If you want healthy food at the Cheesecake Factory, you can get it, like you can every other restaurant from your neighborhood McDonald's to the French Laundry. Just watch what you order, go for the salads or grilled fish/chicken or steamed vegetables, etc, and ask for them to omit or leave on the side any accompaniments.

                                                                                          1. There are a lot worse chains out there than CF. I like going for their sliders...I have them as my main meal. The corn cake appetizers are also pretty good. I don't care much for cheese cake so I never get it and I'm always too full for desert when I go there!

                                                                                            1. I eat there sometimes for working lunches, and I actually really like the asian chicken salad. It had lots of tasty goodies in it. I'd recommend getting the dressing on the side -- though I'm actually sort of addicted to it, they tend to use too much unless I order it on the side. I also like the app of lettuce wraps a lot -- nice, fresh, pretty healthy. I don't stray too far from these basics, but their pastas have satisfied me when I've ordered them. Don't get the frybread sandwich though (I think it might be called something like Navajo Sandwich, if they even still have it) -- I made that mistake only once. Much as I like frybread, I don't think CF has many qualifications in that department.