HOME > Chowhound > Chains >


Best and Worst chains in the Boston area

BEST: Outback Steakhouse

WORST: Olive Garden

I have to be honest I have never had a good meal at the Olive Garden its all good until the entree's come really good Salad great breadsticks but then its all downhill from there, Ive probaly been around 3 times. The first time I was just curious wanted to check it out, the second I wanted to give it another chance cause like I said before everything before the entree and appitizer were pretty good, and the third I went cause my ex practically begged me.

Now the Outback completly different story, the service could use work but damn I love those garlic mashed potatoes, the last time I went I got the rack of lamb which I didnt think was as great as there prime rib or porterhouse but still enjoyed it.

I think Outback is the only chain I like they just have great food.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Outback is pretty good for steaks. I actually had shark there once (it was a special) and it was really, really good. Olive Garden? Never been--too many good Italian restaurants in this area that aren't chains.

    My favorite chain is PF Chang's by far, but even then, it's only a few blocks from Chinatown, so I'd rather end up at King Fung or Jumbo or the Hong Kong Eatery.

    1. My mother has made it clear that if I ever eat at the Olive Garden, I will never be allowed back in her house.

      1. Worst- Applebees

        Much better- PF Changs, Legal Sea Foods(good food, service can be shoddy), also Bugaboo is good especially with the kids.

        1. Best: Ruth's Chris
          Worst: Applebees or 99

          1. applebees is horrible, what are those riblets anyways?

            I actually dont mind the 99 once and a while. Only 2 things i get there are the fish and chips or the boneless buffalo wings. Both they do well.

            1. I'd have to go for Maggiano's or Morton's for best chain. I hear an Applebees is coming to town as well, perhaps they can fight Olive Garden for honors.

              1 Reply
              1. To throw a new name in here, I'd say Boston Market is probably one of the worst, especially with their whole better-than-fast-food schtick. The chicken is slimey, the sandwiches are all slathered with dressings, the sides are all cooked to within an inch of their life - to the point that they resemble what one would expect at an average hospital or nursing home. I don't get why people line up for it, unless it's partly the "healthy, wholesome-meal" conceit BM wants the public to believe.

                1 Reply
                1. re: wontonton

                  I keep telling my friends this, but none of them want to hear it. I just don't see the appeal of Boston Market.

                2. The ham was good when they had it.

                  1. Can you say "Bickford's?" YUCK.

                    I think Olive Garden, PF Changs, Applebee's, 99, Boston Market, Chilis and Outback are all horrible.

                    Bickfords, Applebee's and PF Changs are hands down the worst in my book.

                    I also think Maggiano's food is terrible and there's "so much of it!"

                    Ruth's Cris is good, Smith and Wollensky, Legal, McCormack and Schmick are ok.

                    IS Morton's still there? I walk by it all the time and it looks gone.

                    I haven't been to that weird rib place (forgot the name -- near new Olive Garden by BJ's in Stoughton and in Everett) and haven't been to Chevy's in Boston just in NYC (which is ok, strangely).

                    1. I went too PF Changs a long time ago in Scotsdal,AZ this had to be in 97' or maybe 98'. I remember thinking it was just ok at the time but I have to try it again

                      When I think of Morton's I really dont think of a chain but it is

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Caserta44

                        That was back when the only PF Chang's in the country was that lone Scottsdale location. I think they've gone a good bit downhill since Paul Fleming sold the place and the new owners went national.