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“Mamma knew how to do it right”

Carrabba's Italian Grill
Ranked #109 of 1,045 Restaurants in Sarasota
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$20 - US$35
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Child-friendly, Romantic, Groups
Dining options: After-hours, Reservations
Chicago, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
3,309 reviews
1,901 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2,133 helpful votes
“Mamma knew how to do it right”
Reviewed 21 July 2014

Drive west on Stickney Point Road from Route 41 (Tamiami Trail) to Midnight Pass and Siesta Key and one of the first things you will notice, I guarantee it, is the absolutely full parking lot on the left side or road where Carrabba's Italian Grill, a pet store and Peltz' shoe store are located. It didn't take me long to realize that Carrabba's attracts most of the traffic, that it is one of the most popular restaurants for visiting tourists. Why? Because the owners, Damian Mandola and Johnny Carraba, are two Sicilian boys from Texas who love to cook and eat. The menu is filled with Sicilian food that their parents and grandparents cooked. And they have tossed in some Western food from Texas and some Creole and Southern food that the family picked up while passing through Louisiana. Damian described his mamma, Grace, as "the greatest cook I ever knew, who not only taught me the basics of cooking, but also the importance of having family gather at the table." Dining at Carrabba's is like having a home-made meal. Hey, mom, how's the spaghetti and meat balls? It's good food at reasonable prices and plenty of it. The menu is extensive. If something is missing, it hasn't been invented yet. We always start with bruschetta, of course, and Carrabba's version is one of the best. Other popular appetizers are classic calamari and a new creation, arancini, crispy bites of risotto, Italian fennel sausage, red bell peppers and romano cheese, hand-breaded and served with house-made marinara sauce. Try the Chicken Bryan and Prosciutto-wrapped Pork Tenderloin or the classic lasagna and Pollo La Scala, fresh pasta layered with home-made pomodoro sauce, bolognese meat sauce and Italian cheeses. Other favorites include veal marsala, tilapia nocciola, wood-grilled salmon, lobster ravioli, spaghetti (how can you pass up an old standard?) and a new shrimp dish, shrimp and scallop linguine alla vodka. It's easy to see why Carrabba's is so popular.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Taylor B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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357 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Sarasota, Florida
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Part of Outback Steakhouse but is excellent”
Reviewed 15 July 2014 via mobile

For a national chain the food is excellent and I always enjoy sitting at the counter overlooking the kitchen the orange stars are the best in the city and also have very good steaks

Helpful?
Thank Taz S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Katy, Texas
Level 5 Contributor
60 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Slow service and poor To-Go for kids”
Reviewed 14 July 2014 via mobile

We were during the 4th of July holiday... We asked to go food for our kids, they took huge time to make a simple Mac and Cheese And grilled chicken breast! In addition been for kids the chicken breast should not be full of black pepper... The Mac and cheese was not even well cooked.

The worst part they had only few tables and took 25 minutes... When my wife complained about it they just offer that it will be "no charge"... We refuse it, it was not a matter of money but time and quality.

I do not recommend them at all!

Helpful?
Thank Hector C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Venice, Florida
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Great food, good bargain”
Reviewed 8 July 2014

I have always enjoyed Carrabba's, and have never had a mediocre or bad meal. My dinner at this particular Carrabba's was fabulous .... and a bargain to boot! Following a cheerful greeting by the hostess, the I was given the regular menu plus a 'specials' menu. Priced from $12 to $18, you can have a 3 course meal, with items from the regular menu and choose either an appetizer (including fried calamari) or dessert (canolli, panna cotta) plus a salad (best caesar salad ever) or soup. The less expensive dishes include non pasta dishes, which I appreciate.
While I usually order the veal marsala, which is my absolute favorite item there (an is also on the special menu for $18) I ordered chicken in a red pepper sauce. Don't know why, because I never order white meat in a restaurant because it's always (yes, always) dry. Not this time. The 2 slices of white meat, perfectly sautéed with visual juiciness, and a delightful sauce, was awesome. The garlic mashed potatoes were a perfect accompany. I loved this dish! I finished the meal with a creamy, subtle panna cotta. And my bill for all this? $12.60 plus a $3. tip and I was one happy diner.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank JazzBknitter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
North Bergen, New Jersey
Level 6 Contributor
79 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“The authentic flavor of wood smoked food”
Reviewed 6 July 2014

What a great meal I had a Carrabbas'! The personal was attentive, without been annoying, and everything was just how I wanted. I had the calamari to start, and then the best salmon that I ate in a restaurant, with a smoked flavor from the wood burning in the brick oven! And a mashed skin on potatoes really good!
Great experience with so reasonable prices, highly recommended! Don't waste time looking for another place, and they close at 11 pm!,

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Marian2103
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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