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“Food and atmosphere are great” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Romano's Macaroni Grill

Romano's Macaroni Grill
148 Harbison boulevard, Columbia, SC
(803) 781-2313
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Ranked #116 of 840 Restaurants in Columbia
Cuisines: Italian
Restaurant details
Columbia, South Carolina, United States
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Food and atmosphere are great”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2013

Nice Italian restaurant. The atmosphere is relaxed, the architecture is reminiscent of Italy, the food is very good altough sometimes it is inconsistent. ie the amount of sauce you get one day may be less the next. But they will correct it with no problems. This usually happens when they get a new chef. Prices are a little high but affordable.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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30 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    12
    8
    4
    5
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Elgin, SC
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
69 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“What...a...trip!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2013

With my daughter leaving soon, I've been trying to spend as much time as possible with her so while we were out in the Harbison area, we opted to try something different. The parking is ample so we didn't have to walk very far. When we stepped in, one of the waitresses suddenly broke out into a lovely aria. There were two different waitresses that did this. Water is served from decorative bottles instead of regular pitchers. The bread is not just good, it's OMG good and served with an extra virgin olive oil and cracked pepper. I had the eggplant parmesan and it was totally worth the wait. Our waiter was attentive, the food was fantastic, the music and ambiance was outstanding.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbia, South Carolina
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
55 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Bad experience all around”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2013

My wife and I visited the Romano’s Macaroni Grill, 148 Harbison Blvd, Columbia, SC 29212 on Saturday, June 22, 2013 and we had a very bad visit. I hope you seek inputs on how to better your restaurant, I offer our experience comments which were also conveyed to the Service Manager that evening. I also think that lack of training and processes on how they deal with customer special requests is what went wrong with this whole event.

We came in, not having patronized Romano’s in many years due to previous bad experiences; but with the advertisement of 50% off on wine, we decided to try it. When we indicated to the waiter that my wife is very particular on wine, and that we were trying to decide between 2 different unknown bottles, we requested a small sample of each to try so we could decide. No problem, the waiter said he could do that. But when he brought the samples in the small carafes, he poured them into a water glass to try. We made our choice, but then were asked if we wanted wine glasses or not. What an unusual request if we wanted wine glasses or not! We had ordered the Kendall Jackson Chardonnay, Vintners Reserve which I think was $19 at the ½ off price. Why of course we want wine glasses, we just ordered wine! He did bring them and the wine was exceptionally good, but it was not placed in any type of chiller, but rather just set on the table.

We ordered a mushroom appetizer and the Mediterranean olives. The mushrooms came fairly quickly, but the olives took forever! We were entirely done with the mushrooms when the olives came. This seemed quite unusual as all you are doing is opening a jar with olives in it and delivering it to the customer! We later found out you had some type of computer issue that night and that our olive order was lost. It took 2 inquiries to finally get the olives. The mushrooms were quite good we must admit.

We ordered a “create your own” pasta dish, my wife and I asked ahead of time if they could prepare a “pink sauce” – alfredo with marinera combined. He had to ask but did say yes they could. I also ordered a Caesar salad and requested that extra dressing be provided. The salad came in a reasonable amount of time; but no extra dressing. The waiter wasn’t around so I just ate the salad as is. He did bring us a 2nd order of bread which we also enjoyed, but I like more dressing. When the waiter finally came to clear the salad plate and the bread plate off the table, he had in his hand the extra Caesar dressing but said nothing (as he saw the salad was eaten) and just put it in the salad plate he was removing and went on clearing the balance of the table. Oh, and never once did he offer to refill the wine glasses, we had to do it ourselves; no big deal but not right to treat the customer as important.

When the pasta orders came, we both noticed there was virtually no sauce on the pasta, so we both asked for extra sauce; no problem the waiter says. My wife started timing him and 11 minutes later is when the sauce appeared for both of us. Meanwhile we sat there, the pasta was getting cold and we had enough; we asked another waitress to get a manager over at our table and a manager showed up. He indicated that the restaurant was having a lot of trouble with wines and that the waiter too didn’t understand that premium wines should always be served in wine glasses, the water glasses are only for the normal table wine offered. He explained that the olives order was lost due to the computer issue, that the sauce are “all individually prepared” and should take only 8 minutes. Now I honestly don’t believe that all sauces are individually prepared, how does a high volume restaurant not have extra sauce ready and a microwave available to get it to a customer quickly? But I listened to his explanation. He indicated he would review this with the waiter.

When we had had enough of the pasta, the waiter approached, we told him to box the balance. When he returned he provided the 2 take-home containers and also presented the bill. No offer of desert. So we just went ahead and paid the bill. We noticed that an adjustment was made from the bill; which was appreciated for the terrible experience we were having, and understanding maybe the waiter was not properly trained, we did not want to hold him responsible so we did tip the normal 15% on the entire original amount.

We must say; this was one of most terrible experiences overall that we have had. My wife teaches this stuff ath USC and we indicated this to the manager. I also must say that based on this experience, I don’t think we will be returning to Romano’s anytime soon, nor recommending it. There were too many procedural activities going wrong. If customers special requests are placed behind everything else, something is wrong with the way they are doing business.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manning, South Carolina
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“If you are looking for good Italian food, look no further!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2013

Love, love, love the atmosphere at Macaroni Grill, the food is so good! Love the homemade bread and the menu has so much to choose from. You want Italian, try Macaroni Grill.

Visited November 2012
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Columbia, SC
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Good Choice for Graduation Luncheon”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013 via mobile

Chose this restaurant mostly for the semi-private dining area. I wanted a guaranteed dining space at a certain time for my luncheon. I have dined here before on several occasions so I was familiar with the menu. Not everyone in my party of 20 had dined here before. Ordered from the bar before we were seated - bartender on duty was not friendly at all. She ignored me for about 3 mins before asking me, "you want to order a drink?" I started to say no I was just standing here for my health. Dumb question for someone standing at a bar. Once seated though, our two waitresses were wonderful. Food was delicious as I remembered and my party was happy with their selections. Penne Rustica is a fave! My sparkling Sangria was refreshing.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 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.

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