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“Really nice - Travelers & Northern snowbirds, local favorite.” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Carrabba's Italian Grill

Carrabba's Italian Grill
Ranked #89 of 1,026 Restaurants in Sarasota
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $20 - $35
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Dining on a budget, Kids, Business meetings, Families with children, Large groups, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Parking Available, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Television, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
New York
Level Contributor
212 reviews
90 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 164 helpful votes
“Really nice - Travelers & Northern snowbirds, local favorite.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 11, 2012

I ate here fresh arrived in Sarasota and nor so much starving as happy to be landed for some time here with family. We stopped at this restaurant - at the Southern end of Sarasota, near Osprey. Why? My mom, who lives locally, tossed out this idea for dinner, especially as this is a very beloved restaurant locally - very big, modern, crowded, and friendly.

The mussels come in an awesome pungent sauce, - a big bowl of them labelled as an appetizer but easily a small meal. For her, at least. The regular platters came with pasta and soup or salad. (I did the salad, my limit being one pasta per meal and the zuppa was minestrone. It's daily..)

Starting at the beginning- Very crowded, about 1/2 hour wait in fact, This was Saturday like 7PM, Veteran's Day Weekend but not yet tourist or snowbird seasonThere was a basket full of beepers which let you know when your table is ready. .(They vibrate and flash.) Meanwhile, friendly people - in fact we were asked if we wanted regular or family style dining "with strangers... fun.".. We chose regular and had about a 30 minute wait. A very big bustling (seniors might say "loud") but to me upbeat place with friendly staff. Back to food: I was torn (as a seafood lover who loves almost anything but mussels) between stuffed canneloni with lobster, scallop, and shrimp (my favorites!), or since we were looking at pasta and 2 pounds versus a serious seafood and greens plate. I ended up compromising with a regular specialty of shrimp and scallops with some kind of pasta I've never heard of, twisty, seemingly recently baked, things, which we were warned are "kinda spicy, but real good". True 'nuf. Oh yes, it may seem from reviews that they're very expensive just because they're so efficient and big (and friendly too!) - but they have ads running constantly in the local and regional papers, with specials, and locals get awards or gift certificates. They may be a chain (regional?) But in my frequent NY-FL travels I've never heard of Carrabba's Italian Grill (and even, dear editor, the LinkedIn Search for Carrabba's Italian Grill from the main page showed other locations but not this.).

It may be a chain, like TGIF's or upscale or downscale versions, but for like 20-30 dollars pp, with a small wine carafe - w/o dessert - this was not expensive for nicely done seafood. (I never got a chance to try veal parmagiana.) The shrimp and scallop were both delicious & as I write this I'm waiting for a photo from my camera to download so I can post an image of the shrimp, Scallop and swirly spicy pasta. Notes: I was bracing for serious Italian and thinking Veal Parm - but they don't serve it. Some argue (and cook) veal paccata (lemon) or marsala, and consider them more tasty, certainly less common. To each their own. If they served veal parm I'd have gotten it with with the pasta swirly spicy thingies. But really, though I wasn't that hungry, I definitely finished and enjoyed this meal. (Didn't get dessert.).

Bottom line: Without any knowledge of this restaurant's past or sister restaurants, as of last night I'd have say, it's worth trying if you don't mind a possible crowd. This was Saturday night 7ish, though still not facing the full rush of Thanksgiving and return of "seasonal" snowbirds. This restaurant is known and frequented by locals, and there are lots of restaurants to compete with in Sarasota..Ah well.. The swirly things with spice and grilled scallops and shrimp: Molto bene. I should point out, if the photo shows detail, all that parmesan doesn't come on it; the friendly server (who might well get lost in the sea of kitchen and other staff) asked if I wanted some cheese on the pasta or seafood, or both, and I said "sure". "Oops" a bit much. But perfect, given the spicy sauce.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank drmikenyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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338 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    144
    116
    53
    20
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Waycross, GA
Level Contributor
27 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“It's Carrabba's, good as always!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 20, 2012

We ate here because it was really close to our condo at the beach. Didn't have to wait long, service was excellent. Food was great as always. Had two for ones on drafts. Very happy with it, but we are always happy with Carrabba's wherever we go.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank TylerFam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lisburn, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Yummy!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 21, 2012

One of the best restaurants in Sarasota. I had a great pasta dish while my husband had Chicken Bryan which was DELICIOUS! Good sized portions - too full for dessert. Will definately return before we have to head home to Northern Ireland!

  • Visited September 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank CafeVR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sarasota
Level Contributor
55 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“ok but not great italian food”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 16, 2012

"run of the mill" chain italian food. very plain salad,nothing exciting,bread was like grocery
store italian bread and entrees were just ok,not really "italian".
There are plenty of locally owned italian resturants in town that have really good italian
food at similar prices. Would recommend the local places...

  • Visited September 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Kate K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Venice, Florida
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“ugh”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 29, 2012

dont like their sauce-to loud a place for me very very commerical and i personally think overated-guess their tv commericals work for them but how many repeat customers do they really get

Visited June 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank joanne n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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