Carrabba's Italian Grill is a chain of Italian resturants. The quality of the food is comparable to Romano's Macaroni Grill (both of which are much better than the Olive Garden). Their slogan is "the thrill of the grill," which is meant to emphasize the fact that all of their meat is cooked on a woodfire grill (with the exception of veal). The pizza oven is also woodfire. Carrabba's has an open kitchen so you can see all the food being made. There is a pasta bar and a pizza bar bordering the open kitchen, which is first come, first serve seating.

The menu is fairly extensive, including many classic Italian dishes such as lasagne, spaghetti, and chicken parmesan, as well as lots of interesting salads and grilled foods. The bar has a decent selection of liquor and wine. Being an employee of Carrabba's, or a "Carrabbamico" for nearly two years, I've tried everything on the menu, and all of it is very good, with the exception of the eggplant parmesan.

It was founded by Damian Mandola and his nephew, Johnny Carrabba in Houston, Texas in 1986 using, according to the website and corporate training, family recipes. It was popular enough to give birth to a litter of Carrabbas' in the Houston area. In 1995, the resturant chain was discovered by the owners of Outback Steakhouse and, in typical capitalist fashion, assimilated. Apparently, the robust founders have a cooking show on PBS, though I've never seen it, and have no idea when it's aired.

It's definitely worth a visit if there is one in your area ( I recommend the Filet Marsala, or the Tagliarini Picchi Pacchiu if you're a vegetarian.

"Non c'e amore piu' sincero di quello del cibo."

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