We recently dined at Maggiano's in Durham's Southpoint mall. We have been to other restaurants in this chain, so we were anticipating good food and a lot of it. We were not disappointed.
We were there on a Tuesday night at about 7 PM and the restaurant was about half full. Our waiter (Peter) greeted us quickly and was very personable and provided some pre-dinner humor. He did a great job of explaining the menu and pointed out that if we ordered from the left side of the menu we would also get the option of taking home one of the classic entrees at no cost.
After looking over the menu, all of us took him up on that offer.
Before the entrees arrived we took advantage of the seemingly infinite Italian bread with olive oil. We also had salads that arrived before the entrees. The salads were fresh but just average in quality. The bread was piping hot and seemed to be fresh baked.
We got spaghetti with meatballs, Chicken Parmesan, and Chicken Picatta. Everything was very nicely prepared - pasta was cooked 'al dente', and all entrees were hot and delicious. The volume of food was large and we were too full to even consider dessert. As a family we are very picky about Italian food and we all agreed this was the best Italian food we had ever had at a chain restaurant. (Note: We have been to many other non-chain Italian restaurants that have landed on either side of this rating in quality).
Prices are a bit high for an Italian chain restaurant, however, the quality is good and the atmosphere and volume do provide valid justification.
We took home three entrees off the classic menu because of ordering off the left side of the entree menu and those meals were also very good, even after being reheated.
Side note: If you have 4 or more in your party (there were only three of us) you get the option of having your meals 'family style' which provides tremendous amounts of food that you can all share. It is a really great deal, but only if you are very hungry as it might not be worth it if you can only eat the standard amount in an entree. I have done this before with large groups and it was fantastic. We all got to sample various entrees (seemingly unlimited amounts) and all left pleasingly stuffed!
If you have a big appetite and are OK with paying a little more than usual for Italian food, I think you will appreciate what Maggianno's has to offer. And if you order off the left side of the menu, you get to double the experience.
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