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Maggianos vs. Macaroni Grill-St. Louis

I know they're both chains and not gourmet fare, but I received a gift certificate good for either one of these restaurants and wondered if anyone had any ideas as to which is better. Thanks!

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  1. I prefer Maggiano's. I grew up in Omaha and it reminds me of those old timey Italian restos where you could get your steak with a side of spaghetti. Beware, tho' the portions are huge, almost obscene. Seriously, one full size serving of pasta could feed me and my two kids with enough left over for lunch.

    1 Reply
    1. re: shannoninstlouis

      I think that is a good description of Maggiano's... more hearty Italian.

      Macaroni Grill is my preference. Their rosemary bread is superb. I think they have a more interesting menu. Where as Maggiano's focuses on the classics.

      Both are on the same quality level if you ask me but it may just depend on what you are in the mood for.

      Macaroni Grill's Florentine Salad is one of the better salads I've had.

    2. I cannot speak directly for St Louis locations of either Chain, however to my friends and family who have been to both franchises here in the New York area say, Maggiano's is definitely better on the quality scale. I have eaten in Macaroni Grills and find them satisfactory...and much better than say Johnny Carino's, but according to Industry publications, Maggiano's is more upscale and offers family style dining. Looking at their respective websites, I would say Maggiano's aspires to be more classic rustica in their approach to their respective menus and offers traditional regional version of dishes (Allegedly).

      1. I VERY MUCH prefer Maggiano's to Macaroni Grill.

        1. i won't eat in macaroni grill - can't stand them, yet i love maggiano's. we love the concept of family style and the food is pretty good. not fabulous, but for the price, pretty good. we always have a great time at maggiano's.

          1. Like a few others, I can't speak for the St. Louis locations, but in our area, people far prefer Maggiano's to Macaroni Grill, including myself. The food at Maggiano's is, IMHO, much better quality and - as an added bonus - they give you more of it. :-)

            1. dirty little secret, they're both owned by the same company, brinker, parent company of chilis.

              1 Reply
              1. re: byrd

                I think it would be fairly easy to figure out that they're owned by the same company, considering one gift card is good for either restaurant. You don't exactly see TGI Friday's offering gift cards good there and at Ruby Tuesday, ya know?

              2. Would your choice of Macaroni Grill location be the one in Brentwood or do you have another one closer to your home? That may be the deciding factor with the impending 40 shutdown in less than a week!

                I like the Penne Rustica at Macaroni Grill. I don't know why- it's not like it's haute cuisine but it's really yummy! I also like the soup and salad at lunch time. We grab curb-side take away during lunch time on the weekends sometimes. The kid's grilled chicken meal is really a good buy (a nice sized grilled chicken breast, a bunch of broccoli and some pasta. ) I get an extra one and take it for lunch on Monday!

                1. it could depend on the location, though I doubt it, they're supposed to be consistent as chains.
                  I HATE Maggiano's. the food is inedible. the food at Macaroni grill can be eaten - the salad, the bread, the fried chicken cutlet. at Maggiano's the fried chicken "cutlet" is a humongous filler-injected boneless breast wtih no flavor minus that "grill" taste.

                  1. I've only eaten at each place once, but I went to Maggiano's a year and a half ago and had a great meal, and Macaroni Grill over a decade ago, and barely remember the food. For an Italian chain, I think Maggiano's was pretty damn great (especially compared to a place like Olive Garden), and they do give you a LOT of good food. You'd probably get more for your money (or gift certificate) there.

                    1. I can't believe these two are owned by the same company. I refuse to eat at Macaroni Grill. It is greasy and way too salty (and I usually add salt to everything). Maggiano's is far and away better. Our rehearsal dinner was in a banquet room at the one in Atlanta.

                      As for the food at Maggiano's, it's not quite "steak with a side of spaghetti." It is much more varied than that. The menu is enormous. All of the salads are awesome, the spinach one being the best. DH and I like the chicken rigatoni w/cream sauce, and I love the beef brisket canneloni. The tiramisu is a great finish.

                      The portions are huge because it is supposed to be family style. Some dishes have a 1/2 portion option.

                      1. Ate at Macaroni Grill last night for the first time. Ordered two dishes - Vodka Rustica - basically Penne with Chicken, Salami or Proscuitto (forget which) in a tomato / vodka sauce - I'd give this a B-, it was ok but I've had (much) better elsewhere. 2nd dish was chicken with Penne - somewhat bland and the sauce was odd - very oily with a strange tinge. C-. Maggianos is definetly a cut above Mac. Grill. When I've gone the food has always been large portions and tasty, if not the greatest Italian food ever its no slouch either and I'd go there willingly though more if I was nearby, rather than out of my way. Bottom line, if someone got me a gift card that I could use at either, to me the choice is easy: Maggianos all the way.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Marvin

                          Maggianos all the way, too.

                          Macaroni Grill is too oily and salty. Even my kids complained.

                          Maggianos is not exactly healthy. But I love the maggiano salad and the chopped salad. they definitely use a lighter touch than MG and Cheesecake Factory.

                          I only wish there was one close to where I live.