**** (4 stars)
I’ve always thought Carrabba’s is much better than other chain restaurants, and this visit reinforced that opinion. None of the food items taste like they are “formulated” in an industrial kitchen. Ingredients are fresh and flavors are discrete and complex.
I’m pleased that many Carrabba’s locations are now open for lunch, as it’s much more likely for me to visit then. It was quiet the rainy Thursday we stopped in but business was starting to pick up in the afternoon.
The interior of this location is particularly nice, more like an upscale steakhouse than a chain Italian restaurant.
We started with the zucchini frittes, which were like very light french fries. They were excellent, but we probably didn’t need them in addition to the lunch that was to follow. Still, we nearly finished them.
The Pick Three lunch deal is a great way to try several things. I chose the Caesar salad, lentil sausage soup and lettuce wraps.
I would ask for less dressing on the salad next time, but it was excellent.
The soup was good too, although so rich I could only eat half. The generous serving of sausage had a really nice fennel component.
But the highlight was the lettuce wraps. This “small plate” wasn’t so small, with three lettuce leaves filled with a chicken mixture that was an interesting combination of Vietnamese, Italian and other Mediterranean flavors. I could only eat one of these but took the other two home for dinner.
That was quite a lunch for the price!
Service was exceptional, both from our server, the attentive manager, and the friendly hostess staff.
Carrabba’s Italian Grill
8702 Vineland Ave
Orlando, FL 32821