Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chains >
Dec 2, 2008 11:52 AM

If you absolutely HAD to eat at Maggiano's (The Grove)....

It's not a choice.

Maggiano's has been mandated by our National Director as our official Holdiay Party Dinner Location, and the choice has been enthusiastically seconded by one of our staff (who loudly proclaimed "RIGATONI D IS DA BOMB, YO")

What would you order, and what would you avoid?

I'm scared.

Comfort me, 'hounds.

Mr Taster

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I feel your pain, Mr. Taster. Three years running, my office holiday party has been at Maggiano's, at the Grove. Due to the economy, and not the food, this years holiday party is has stalled. Typically the eats would consist of passed Hors D’eouvres, which sucked. Followed by the family style Caesar salad, salmon with sauce?, pasta (two ways), Chicken, again with sauce, a veggie and a couple decent desserts. For me, the best way to enjoy this yearly event was the open bar. Yeepie!

    4 Replies
    1. re: xoxohh

      wow...ummm...the bread is probably your best/safest bet! haha

      1. re: xoxohh

        ....and me not being a big drinker.

        Surely there must be one dish that's less bad than the rest?

        Mr Taster

        1. re: Mr Taster

          come on, it's just one meal in your life. Maybe you can sneak out discreetly to the Farmer's Market and get something else? Have a large snack before?

          1. re: bad nono

            Sure, I could do that... but my question is what the least bad item that Maggiano's serves?

            Mr Taster

      2. Can you quit? ;-)

        seriously though..Magianno's is a small step above Olive Garden, so dont ecpect too much. good luck

        also..thank god I dont work in a place where the phrase: "....da bomb.. yo".. has ever been uttered.

        2 Replies
        1. re: swsidejim

          Magianno's is a big step above OG if you know what to order. I have found the appetizers and salads to be quite good. It is not a great Italian restaurant, but is a whole lot better dining experience than many family joints.

          Oh, Go Cubs, Go Cubs. Remember, the southside is the southside. And, remember to use spell check.

          1. re: Bullit

            So what is good to order at Maggiano's, you failed to specify? I think swsidejim can spell, he just missed the x and c, he didn't proofread, it happens to everyone. I'll give his Sox credit, they beat my Astros. Exactly when was the last time the cubs were in the World Series?

        2. Spaghetti Marinara or the Lasagna.

          Anything more complicated than that and you're asking for trouble.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Props to ipse for being the only person (so far) to actually make a constructive menu suggestion!

            Mr Taster

          2. Good god, get over it. Every response seems to come from people who eat every meal at 4-star restaurants. Why is it suddenly so chic to pan every chain restaurant?

            My wife's office has had their party at Maggiano's but is going to Wildfire this year (both are chains that originated in Chicago by the Lettuce Entertain You corporation).

            Maggiano's is more than decent. It's far above Olive Garden, which is essentially school cafeteria Italian day food. Give it a fair shake. It may not be a place you ever return to but it certainly won't be an experience that causes you to flee in horror.

            4 Replies
            1. re: ferret

              I gave it a fair shake. We were there last year (same company holiday party) and we ordered the bottomless "family style" deal for our department. The food was really, really bland and mediocre. My goal is to go into it this year armed with some information in order to make a better choice.

              And getting back to the original question..... ferret, your menu suggestions would be....?

              Mr Taster
              (Who regularly eats incredibly delicious $5 plates of food at grubby Chinese restaurants, not at 4 star restaurants)

              1. re: Mr Taster

                Their mushroom ravioli is fine, as is their gnocchi. Fish of the day is also a good bet. I would also have to say that a catering menu at any establishment is going to suffer and basing your opinion on a "family style" lowest-common-denominator meal is not a fair shake. Look, Maggiano's has never been a primary destination for me, it's either the place the party was held or a place we met someone at the mall but it's far from a horrific meal. I responded similarly to a post on the Cheesecake Factory (and I'd do the same for P.F. Chang's) -- I have numerous other places that I go to given the choice, but if I end up at these I just deal with it.

                1. re: ferret

                  The only time I was ever at Maggiano's, I got their gnocchi in vodka sauce and it was perfectly fine. It might be a chain, but it isn't a bad place by any means -- nor are Buca di Beppo, Cheesecake Factory, or P.F. Chang's (all popular favorites that regularly get trashed by Chowsnobs).

              2. re: ferret

                LOL!!!!! I love when the food snob/'chain' snobs fly out of the woodwork! Ferret , I agree completely. And I ate at OG today. No comparisn! The kids wanted the soup and salad, but Good God the food sucks!

              3. For the love of God, people...its a chain. Save the drama fo yo mama.

                We eat at the Beachwood, OH location maybe 2x a year and do family style. I am not a huge fan of pasta in any form, so for me there are a few staples...

                blueberry martini (your out with co-workers you probably dont like..drink up)
                zucchini appetizer...frankly, it is just damn good. I dare someone to say its not.
                chopped salad....again, just a good salad
                gnocci in vodka cream sauce...light gnocci, good sauce.
                chocolate zucotto cake...have a glass of milk, dude

                3 Replies
                1. re: chelleyd01

                  Blueberry martini- that sounds great. Any idea what's in it? I would love to have one tonight to celebrate taking a chem exam-- passing the exam is another party :)

                  1. re: chelleyd01

                    The crispy zucchini appetizer is terrific. I remember getting it with tomato sauce to dip although menu lists it with some lemon cream dip. Everything else i have tried there (2 occasions) was blah. loved the french bread pizza at DC location but not as enthused in hackensack.

                    1. re: ekdd

                      that last line should read MY KIDS loved the french bread pizza at one of the locations in DC but not in NJ; it was nothing special at either location nor were the pastas or chicken dishes; salad was fine