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I have to eat at Maggiano's (moved from LA)

I have to eat at Maggiano's at The Grove tomorrow night. I can't get out of the dinner and the bf says it's rude to suggest an alternative to the people who made the reservation. On Citysearch it says that the food is made-from-scratch, but I think it tastes like it's made from a less favorable S-word. Is there anything there that you would recommend...besides dessert.

blech

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  1. I just got invited to a work-related dinner there in the not so distant future, so all I can offer is sympathy....and in my case it is going to be a set menu for a big group, so I can't imagine it will be any better than the regular menu. (Though to be honest, the one time I ate at a Maggiano's it certainly wasn't awful, and the service was very good. This wasn't the one at the Grove, however).

    Speaking of which, this is a national chain; perhaps you'd get more responses there if the moderators moved the thread?

    1. the veal & mushroom raviolis are pretty good - the chopped salad is good, the spinach salad is good, the stuffed mushrooms are pretty good & the fried calamari are not too bad.

      1. Not directed at you specifically, but these are the posts that amaze me at times. I can go to any restaurant in the world and find something to enjoy. And I agree with your BF 110%. I personally like their lasagna and the pizza appetizer (it's large enough to be a meal for one), but honestly I don't think it matters what anyone suggests to you. You already plan to be dissatisfied.

        16 Replies
        1. re: Janet from Richmond

          i agree. find something you like and order it! no it's not going to be top notch but it's not olive garden either. and just for the record if i HAD to eat at olive garden i would eat soup, salad and breadsticks and be totally fine. it's frustrating when foodies feel like every meal has to be the best one. i much prefer the ones who seek out great food but will also eat at chains once in a while. it's not easy to eat indie for every situation.

          1. re: abbefaith

            I cannot go to any restaurant in the world and find something to enjoy - some restaurants are just not good, some are downright disgusting. you have to allow for that reality. i'm amazed that posters on a food-site are "frustrated" by foodies looking to eat good food most of the time. i'm not on some ridiculous quest for "indie" food and one of my favorite restaurants is actually a chain. But, If i was a self-professed hotel enthusiast, i would feel bummed about staying at a bad motel, and i wouldn't expect other hotel bloggers to malign me for it.

            1. re: Julefish

              of course there are "disgusting" restaurants. i think the point is that maggiano's isn't one of them. it's obviously a clean, decent place to eat and complaining about "having" to eat there seems a little ridiculous. there's a difference between being a food snob and a foodie. i don't particularly care for food snobs, but i greatly appreciate people who seek out great food (chowhounds).

              1. re: abbefaith

                There's an entire (long) thread right now about food snobbery. The general concensus seems to be that a food snob is someone who looks down on people for their taste in food. A foodie is someone who likes food.

                1. re: mojoeater

                  I totally agree, with one caveat: price. If I pay $300+ for a meal at Chez Panisse or French Laundry (and I have), then I expect more out of "likes food" than paying $50 somewhere else. My $35 meal at Maggiano's was far inferior to other $35 meals I've had elsewhere. But perhaps I should give them a second chance, since all places have their "off" nights, and "off" dishes, even CP and FL (I was there).

              2. re: Julefish

                It's one night, not "most of the time". Either be happy or miserable...the choice is yours.

                1. re: Janet from Richmond

                  I took my extended family for a lovely family style meal one year ago at the Grove. It worked just fine, all were happy, including me, and I was picking up the tab. They keep refilling and refilling those bowls and entrees...all of it, including desserts, as long as someone wanted more....(yup, some do eat that way), and there were enough options (we did family style, all talked for a few minutes to decide which dishes) to satisfy the vegetarians (the kids! LOL!) and adults. We had meat, chicken, pasta, salads. Now, would I choose this as a destination, no.

                  Only mistake, the beef dish was ordered well to satisfy one, and I now realize I could have asked for some well, the rest medium or medium rare...they are very accommodating. I would not hesitate to go again. If you are paying for yourselves, and the company is not more important than what you are eating, then decline. We had a glorious time! Sometimes it is as much about people as anything else.

                2. re: Julefish

                  I agree with the original poster. When there are so many good restuarants out there (especially in LA), it's frustrating to have to spend your time and money eating someplace mediocre. It just seems like a missed opportunity, particularly considering that most people don't go out to eat that frequently.

                  1. re: ncpearl

                    Hear hear about the missed opportunity! That is so exactly right. For whatever price you're paying at [insert blah chain restaurant name], you can get so much more superior food elsewhere in our big food town that is L.A.

                  2. re: Julefish

                    It could be worse. It IS Maggiano's and not the Olive Garden. I know what you mean, though - it's frustrating when you rotate dining choices among a group of friends and your turn only comes up once every 7 or 8 meals and you go nuts trying to break the cycle of trips to Chili's and Outback Steakhouse. ugh.

                    1. re: worldcupfever

                      yes your first sentence pretty much sums up my point. thanks!

                    2. re: Julefish

                      Take it easy.

                      Maggianos originated here in Chicago as a Lettuce Entertain You offering. It's not "high-end" but it's definitely not anywhere near "disgusting." It's well above Olive Garden in quality. They serve family style and cater to large groups. Plenty to enjoy, but if you're concerned, why not focus on enjoying the company you're with and allow the food to surpise you ... or not.

                  3. re: Janet from Richmond

                    I agree Janet-there really hasn't been a restaurant that I haven't been able to find something I could order-even if it is only a green salad. I have had trouble though with a set menu with things I usually wouldn't order-mostly because of dietary restricitions-so those are the occasions my dear husband takes one for the team and "shares" my dinner. Sometimes you have to concentrate on the occasion or company rather than the food.

                    1. re: Janet from Richmond

                      I am Italian-American and, yes, I have "deigned" to go to Maggiano's to attend a relative's shower. I agree that this post is amazing. When I was there I had a bowl of their minestrone soup, a side salad and a roll and found everything to be wonderful. I also enjoyed the ambience and the music.

                      The truly grand irony is that any Continental Italian would likely go there and find something to enjoy, too.

                      1. re: tkalex9052

                        I nominate this for Maggiano's new ad campaign: "Come for the minestrone, stay for the music."

                    2. I am not a big fan of Maggianos either, I went to a function there this past fall, and the only item that I liked was the Chopped Salad.

                      The meal was served "family style" and the other items were a fish entree, a chicken entree, and a pasta with chicken entree, all were nothing special, and I just had a small taste of each. I dont like "family style' meals, I prefer to order my own entree off a menu, so at leat you may be able to choose something you may like. With the above said, I had to stop on the way home for dinner at a different restaurant to compensate for thge meal that I didnt eat @ Maggiano's.

                      Worst case, plan to eat somewhere else after your meal @ Maggiano's

                      1. I had a chicken pasta something that wasn't bad. But the shrimp on my sister's pasta were tiny and tasteless. I'd say stick to something basic and you'll be fine.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: mojoeater

                          the fried zucchini is good, the gnocci in vodka sauce is good as is the pizza and the salads.

                          1. re: chelleyd01

                            I went to one near my office for a business lunch and ate mushroom ravioli in a cream sauce. Not sure if it was on the regular menu or a special but it was a satisying meal.