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“Great food, attentative service” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Carrabba's Italian Grill

Carrabba's Italian Grill
5152 Merten Dr, Mason, OH 45040-9495
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Ranked #12 of 138 Restaurants in Mason
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Families with children, Romantic
Dining options: Reservations
Greater Cincinnati, OH
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Great food, attentative service”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2013

We went to Carrabba's yesterday before heading out of town for a concert. We were there at a decidedly downtime @4pm right after they opened.

The decor is Italian with a rustic twist. Everything was extremely clean; including the restrooms. A+! (Don't you hate it when restrooms are disgusting?! Makes you wonder about the kitchen; so, a clean restroom is a good statement.)

I wish I had gotten the name of our server; she was very good. Pleasant, smiling, and knew about the menu items; except for wine. They have a fairly large wine list for a chain restaurant and we're into wines. When we asked questions about which Chianti she could recommend, she didn't know but brought us a wine wheel to look at. That's the only downside... we know about wine pairings and general characteristics of certain types of wines at this point so the wine wheel wasn't really what we needed. I think perhaps asking the bartender or another server about this may have been more helpful although she certainly made an effort. Still, it's not really a drawback as I was just looking more for a recommendation or opinion to help me form my own. We skipped the Chianti and chose quartines of the house red (surprisingly quite good: fruity and not quite light but not heavy; very slightly dry) and the Centine - also an interesting choice (strong & fruity without being too dry). FYI quartines are @ 1.5 glasses.

Throughout, our server was attentive, got the orders right, and brought frequent water refills. A nice touch is that after we tried the house red, she brought us clean glasses to try the Centine.

We were celebrating, so we went all out: zucchini fritte for sharing, Pollo Caprino for me, The Jonny for him. Coffee and cannoli for dessert.

The zucchini fritte is matchstick fried zucchini with an aioli-type sauce. It wasn't greasy and had a flavorful, light breading. The sauce was an interesting option (as usually fried zucchini tends to be served with marinara) and it was equally flavorful without beng so heavy as some aioli-type sauces are.

The Pollo Caprino is a definite must-try - grilled, herbed chicken stuffed with red pepper, zucchini, and goat cheese. You could taste the wood-grilling and each of the flavors stood out. I even liked the goat cheese as there was enough to lend flavor without being too overpowering. My husband enjoyed the Jonny - sirloin marsala steak and Chicken Bryan - the steak was well-cooked, juicy. The sauce had a subtle marsala flavor without being too salty. He also enjoyed the flavors of the Chicken Bryan although he can't recall a specific flavor he liked.

The house coffee was pretty good; smooth and not bitter. To me, cannoli should have a crisp, light shell without oiliness and a rich smooth filling that tastes of ricotta. Bonus points for cinnamon in the dough. They got the shell perfect but the filling fell flat for me: smooth, some chocolate chips but not the lovely and rich, ricotta flavor. The pistachios on the ends were a nice touch.

Meals came with salad or soup. Some came with sides also. I would definitely pass on the green parm dressing - it needs to decide if it's going to be parm or ranch. The flavors don't complement. I had the cavatappi amatriciana as my side and it's worth the calories. Not overly creamy and a nice touch of pancetta & slightly smoked flavor - would be an excellent main dish honestly...

Total (before our $50 gift card) was $75 or $78ish, that's with 2 quartinos of wine, an app, 2 entrees, and a dessert and coffee. There are many options here: salads, flatbread pizzas, apps, various pastas, so you can easily make this a more affordable meal. We just went for broke as we were celebrating. :)

  • Visited April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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84 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Cincinnati Ohio
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
“Great Italian, but a little pricey.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013 via mobile

We are locals and went here for the first time last night. Clean and great atmosphere. Food was excellent, but is a little on the high side for Italian. Service was great. It is very close to I71, so if you are traveling, it will not take you far from the interstate.

  • Visited April 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Top Contributor
245 reviews 245 reviews
131 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 83 cities Reviews in 83 cities
143 helpful votes 143 helpful votes
“Will return!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

On a Saturday at 6:30 we called in to see what the wait was and were told it was 70 to 80 minutes. We put our name on the "call ahead" seating list and arrived about 20 minutes later. The waiting area is very small and the bar was packed. We were lucky enough to snag some bar seats after a bit and with a pitcher of house red ($22) we settled back for the wait. The bartenders were hopping but were able to pay attention to everyone. We ordered the Pasta Sostanza, a great meatless meal, and Veal Piccata. Both came with salad and delicious bread with dipping oil. The food and service were both good. The dining area is really not that large. We were seated at a four top but there were many booths which I will preference next time. If you are not in a hurry and want a relaxing and nice meal, I would recommend Carrabba's.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Can't celebrate here!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2013

Have been going here for years for special occasions and nights out. Have recently had very difficult time getting in even with "call ahead" seating. Tried to "call ahead" five days in advance for family birthday celebrations but after arriving we were told over an hour wait. They don't take reservations and call ahead is the best you can do. I understand the reasons for this, but it seems like a better solution could be found for families and small groups. Carrabba's is basically writing off this kind of business by not offering a better way to reserve a table. We ended up going elsewhere. We like the food and atmosphere here, but think there needs to be some creativity on the part of management.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houghton, Michigan
14 reviews 14 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“The Trio and Steak Salad Folks!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2013

I'm not even going to say anything else. The chicken trio and the steak salad at this place are all you need to know about dining out in Mason, OH.

Visited January 2013
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