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Macaroni Grill: exercise in mediocrity

We finally got one in Tallahassee, and it is packing them in like cattle. Waits of one to one and 1/2 hours not unusual for weekend. And when you get in, there is one bright spot: the warm rosemary bread, though better with butter in my opinion than the olive oil.
Dishes we received 45 minutes after ordering were warm at best or more like room temperature. A "custom" pasta order charging $2 extra for some mozarella contained two nickel sized peices. The rigatoni with chicken contained maybe 1-2 oz. of chicken breast meat. Dishes are bland. I am a big fan of Chili's and Maggiano's so I know this chain
(Brinker) can do it right... but they are failing in Romano's Macaroni Grill.

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  1. this place makes Olive Garden look good!

    1. We have one in Live Oak,it's not bad,but i think it's pricier in some ways to Olive Garden.Have eaten at the one by me and it was pretty good,but I just like the atmosphere at olive Garden better.There is a Carmine's here in Schertz. They also have one in Albany,NY.The chef who one's the one here moved to the area some time ago,and his family runs the one in NY.It has gotten good reviews in the San Antonio Express News and SA Current paper,will have to try it some time.

      1. You might want to go back after the excitement dies down. We've had one for a couple years around me and it doesn't get too crazy on the weekends anymore. They definitely don't skimp on the pasta toppings and my two best friends and I have had some good meals there. Are they owned by franchisees? That might make a difference...

        1. my only complaint at places like this are the enomous portion sizes, especially when it comes to the pasta. I would rather more attention to proper cooking of it. The sauces may be on the salty side, but I've never felt they were bad.

          1 Reply
          1. re: amkirkland

            Boy, I guess I'll have to go back because I have never had anything at MG that I or my friends would consider enormous there, actually quite the contrary. Now if you are talking about Claim Jumper or maybe even Cheesecake Factory I would agree.

          2. Cookie cutter food. It reminds me of Starbuck's pastries. When and where was it made? I know everybody raves about the rosemary bread but I don't get it.

            1. I ate at the one in Gainesville and was less than impressed. I ate there last week with a co-worker for lunch and thought that it was over priced for lunch and just wasn't that good. Carrabbas is much better if one wants to eat at a chain. Personally, I will go to Z Bardhis and spend two or three bucks more for much better chow!

              1. Odd. Macaroni Grill has always been my favorite, with Olive Garden coming in second, and Carrabas coming in at rock bottom...

                1. I would be delighted if Macaroni Gill reached the level of mediocrity. That is a considerable step up from the "awful" rating I would give it. Perhaps if someone hid the salt from the cooks I might be able to taste the food and offer it something other than the lowest rating.

                  The only saving grace was the free refills on lemonade. That way I had some hope of reaching osmotic balance while eating there.

                  1. >>"custom" pasta order charging $2 extra for some mozarella contained two nickel sized peices. The rigatoni with chicken contained maybe 1-2 oz. of chicken breast meat. Dishes are bland.

                    wow, it's bad AND the portions are only humongous not ginormous. what amount of chicken would you like in your pasta? Pasta is not even supposed to have chicken breast in it.

                    1. That rosemary bread tastes like it came out of a cheap breadmaker. I went to Macaroni Grill once, not by my choice, and never ever again. Ever.

                      1. I went there last night with a group of people and was not impressed. A sampler appetizer plate was ordered and everyone seemed to like it, but I did not try any of it. My fiance confided to me later the bruschetta was bland and calamari rubbery. For my entree I ordered the steak and arugula salad thinking they could not possibly mess it up, but the steak was so overcooked and chewy it was inedible. Also, the portions were so huge as to almost make you sick to look at them. One of my companions ordered lasagna and I swear they brought him the whole pan! The one thing I enjoyed was the strawberry lemonade, but I do not want to even consider how much sugar was in that.
                        All in all it was no more or less than what I'd expect at a chain of this size. You sort of know what you are getting yourself into when you go. It does bum me out though when I have to rush home after dining at a restaurant because I am so hungry.