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Anyone love Caraba's as much as I do?

I'm in Mobile, AL, and we try to dine at Caraba's Italian Grill as much as we can afford it! Last week was my birthday and off we went - my choice, of course - and I once again got the filet. OMG! It seriously was the best in town I have ever had. Ruth's Chris has always been my fav, but I hear it's changed ownership here and that the filet isn't what it used to be - but anyway, does anyone know just how they cook and season their filets? I know they grill them, of course, but what is that fabulous flavor! Is it just salt, pepper, maybe olive oil and butter? I have their copycast recipe for Chicken Bryan, which I love also, but they went over the top on this steak the other night. Not only was it tender enough to just melt in your mouth, but the flavor was oustanding.

Just wanted to ask that question and share my thoughts. I know it's a "chain." I don't care... if it's good and deserves kudos, they're getting them!!!

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    1. Been 2-3 times, and have tried to like it only to fail miserably.

      What is up with their salad dressings? Consistency and taste of wallpaper paste. YUCK!

      2 Replies
      1. re: joe777cool

        Really? I'm so surprised. I love their Caesar salad - how fitting - so I haven't tried the others. I guess it's just like anything else, different strokes! I also think the management and chefs at any given restaurant make or break it. The one here obviously is killer as they always have a line outside waiting with a beeper - myself included on occasions. Guess we got lucky!!! It's either that or most of this city has very poor taste! HA!

        1. re: KKAngelo

          ditto reg: Caesar.

          I always only get the same things.

          bolognese, caesar, hot bread with dipping sauce, iced tea

          also I always bring 1/2 salad and 1/2 pasta home for another meal.

          too much which is a good thing

          my girlfriend and her x huband owned one and it folded, so they aren't all created equal apparently

      2. I wouldn't say I love it, but I can say it's the best of the "italian-american" themed chains. my in-laws like it. when we go I get a red wine, usually a chianti, calamari, the bread, and the house salad. i always order a main course although it's better just to stop before hand. i do like their calamari.

        6 Replies
        1. re: fara

          Wow, I'm batting close to zero here. I just can't believe it. I've tried several dishes there, even though my favs are the filet mignon and Chicken Bryan with pasta & marinara sauce, and they've all been outstanding. The servers are awesome and very attentive, the food is always piping hot, and the flavor is outstanding. I wish you all had a better experience as I have. Yes, isn't it the truth, though, that you can stop with the bread and sald and be full! We always have to get to-go boxes. Thanks for chimming in.

          1. re: KKAngelo

            well i suppose if you like overly salty, greasy, and unseasoned food...

            1. re: fara

              while I've never been to Alabama, the quality or even existence of Italian & Italian/American food is an issue in states such as North and South Carolina and Georgia. This has got to account for the popularity of chains like OG...or Caraba, which I perceive to be a cut above OG. So in a place as far south as Mobile, Caraba is a pretty good option

              1. re: BiscuitBoy

                Congratulations KKAngelo on finding a restaurant that consistently provides quality for the money. The attention to detail by both the front and the back of the house can and does make a huge impact. I have personally had horrible experiences at different locations. But if recommended, I would certainly try another branch.

                Enjoy your steak and I wish you success on discovering how they prepare it to your taste.

                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                  Indianriverfl, Yes, it's nice when the front and back of the house all work together with the same goal in mind. And it IS hard to find that in a restaurant. I hate to hear that so many have had bad experiences with Carrabba's. Still shocked here, but it happens! I can't wait to go back! :-) If you ever come through Mobile, give them a try. You won't be disappointed!

                  1. re: KKAngelo

                    I will be passsing through Mobile 19 Sept to Natchez and then on a cullinary and historical journey up the Mississippi to Galena and over to family in Milwaukee. I will go to Carrabbas' web to see where it is in Mobile and will definately order the filet. Will post an observation in a week. I am really looking forward to this.

                    I am leaving in a few hours and will not have access to the internet until I get to family in MKE> I am a dinosaur. My phone does not take pictures.

        2. No. It is typical chain food Italian garbage IMO. Tried it a few times and would never go back. I can make better meals in my own kitchen.

          1. I love Carraba's...and so does my entire Family. I am tired of going to restaurants and being disappointed. At Carraba's that has never happened. I endulge in the Fettucine Alfredo ($10 includes Bread and Salad). With the Homemade Pasta, everytime I roder something else, I wish I had ordered that. Next on my list is Chicken Bryan....

            1. And the Zucchini sticks are to die for!

              1. Of the Italian chains, Carabas isn't horrible, but the bar has been set pretty low. The food at Maggiano's is decent, but it's basically a Cheesecake Factory for Italian food, with the requisite waits and noise. Macaroni Grill is on par with Olive Garden, but at a higher price point and with goopier sauce and more salt. Buca di Beppo has decent homemade sausages and meatballs, but everything else is pretty blah. The only really good chain I've found is Carmine's; huge portions, but pretty expensive for what it is. But the cooking is top notch. About the best I can say about Carabas is that I've never gotten ill, but I can't for the life of me remember anything I've had there.

                1. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE CARRABBA'S.

                  except the one in Vegas. it was awful, for all 4 of our meals.
                  I didn't say so cause it was our daughter in law's birthday dinner and her fish wasn't as described or good at all. we still had a good time.
                  my favorite one is in West Palm Beach in Florida. their bolognese is hot, juicey and spot on.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: iL Divo

                    I like Carrabba's fine, but find this interesting. We haven't been to that one but have gone to some of the places in Boca like (chain) Maggiano's, Mario's and Renzo's. Is WPB's Carraba's the best for reasonably-priced Italian in the area?

                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                        Consider it an opening to further continue my education for the area. All those are been there, done that, moving onward so I need to know what's to try. Local is always my first choice, but I am not the only one in my party.

                  2. I don't think much of it. Their food is so, so salty. I got the mezzaluna ravioli recently and there were un-chewable "bits" in the ground meat filling. No thanks.

                    1. Used to like it, and then it seemed like they doubled the amount of salt they put in everything.