When your whole family wants to go out to eat, what’s one of the first places that comes to mind? Our family loves Italian food, from the oldest to the youngest. It’s such a great meal because it’s easy to fit in vegetables and even our pickiest eaters can find something they love.
When we wanted a special night out recently to celebrate my husband’s birthday, we headed to ICON Orlando for one-stop entertainment and dining. This location has free and convenient parking, and lots of wonderful dining and entertainment options. Carrabba’s Italian Grill is located in this area, and we knew this would be a perfect choice to celebrate my husband’s birthday as a family!
Carrabba’s Italian Grill was founded in Houston, TX by Johnny Carrabba and Damian Mandola in December of 1986, who set out to create a restaurant experience where people felt like guests in their home. Both Johnny and Damian belong to one of Houston’s most successful restaurant families, and many of the recipes on our menu are those of Damian’s mother Grace and sister Rose. Damian travels the world in search of the best ingredients and most unique Italian dishes so Carrabba’s food tastes authentic and delicious.
This is definitely our experience! Every dish that we tried was delicious. The kid’s meals are a definite mom win with a drink included. My little ones enjoyed the “Bambini Menu” and the bread before the meal! Menu items are also available for those who manage their gluten intake. Carrabba’s Italian Grill features delicious dishes, starting at just $10 for some classic favorites. Traditional dishes such as Calamari, Margherita Pizza and Chicken Parmesan share the spotlight with more unique dishes like Chicken Bryan and Calamari.
My oldest son has a big appetite, and is always finishing everyone else’s dishes at the table. For this special meal, he chose to order the Pasta Georgio. Besides being delicious, this meal was created in memory of George Minutaglio Jr., the former Vice President of Operations, who passed away earlier this year after battling pancreatic cancer. Carrabba’s is donating $1 from every Pasta Georgio sold to Moffitt Cancer Center to enable George’s legacy to live on and to help other families affected by cancer. Pasta Georgio is penne pasta with sautéed bell peppers and romano in our roasted red pepper sauce, topped and baked with meatballs and mozzarella. My son loved it! And what a wonderful reason to order such a delicious meal.
I ordered a few appetizers and sides dishes for my meal, and absolutely loved the zucchini fritte, which is Carrabba’s version of zucchini fries. I order this dish quite often, and this was one of the best I’ve had! I also enjoyed the tomato caprese with fresh burrata. As you all know, if a restaurant offers this dish, I am basically guaranteed to be ordering it. This one did not disappoint! It was also such a large portion that I had half of it for lunch the next day. That is always such an added benefit of eating out; it really upgrades a #momlife lunch while homeschooling five kiddos.
Our waitress at Carrabba’s was amazing and we never had to ask for a water refill; a sign of great service! She surprised us with a special birthday treat of the Chocolate Dream for my husband’s birthday. It was enough to share and we all loved it! Such a perfect way to celebrate my love’s birthday.
When we dashed into Carrabba’s that night with 5 hungry kiddos, it was raining and we dashed from storefront to storefront to take cover. When we ducked in the back door of Carrabba’s to find the fastest relief from the rain, we were warmly welcomed into a family atmosphere. It was such a welcome respite from the damp night and for a few hours, we felt like we were part of the Carrabba’s family. Do your family a favor for dinner and head that way; just be sure to order the Pasta Georgio! Take the opportunity to feel like you are part of the fine tastes and traditions of a true Italian-American chef.
*We were provided with a complimentary dining experience in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own.