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Florida Guide > Dining

Carrabba's Restaurant

If you would like to try an Italian dinner for a change, Carrabba’s are a family owned (originally) restaurant chain. The one I tried was on Highway 192, 4 miles from the junction of Highway 27 near marker 4.

The décor and atmosphere as you would expect is very Italian. Many of the photos on the walls depict the original Carrabba family when they first emigrated to America. Their greatest asset is a proper pizza oven which gives such an authentic Italian taste to their pizzas. These pizzas are sold at different prices depending on what and how many toppings you choose. Do try one of these if you get the chance, they are delicious, but it may put you off other restaurant’s pizza for life!

They have a very varied menu to suit all tastes and not just pasta lovers. There are nine different pasta dishes to choose from, such as Spaghetti with meat sauce or meat balls, linguine pescatore for fish lovers and pasta carrabba which is basically Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken and mushrooms, beloved by most Americans. They also have what they call stuffed pasta which is Lasagne, ravioli and cannelloni. The lobster ravioli is particularly good and well worth the cost.

For more traditional american dishes they have steaks, chicken, pork chops and veal. For fish lovers they have a good selection to choose from, most cooked on their wood burning grill which makes the food taste like it has been barbequed. There is salmon, tilapia lighted bread and grilled, and shrimp or sea scallops plus of course the pasta dishes which include shellfish. Their range of chicken dishes is quite extensive too - grilled alone, breaded and served with lasagne, topped with goats cheese and sun dried tomatoes or served in cannelloni.

The appetizers are mainly seafood based but not all and the salads are more varied than the usual garden or Caesar although they do have both of these.

I do love some of their cute meal names too, “Tag Pic Pac” which is Tagliarini in Picchi Pacchiu sauce or how about, “Pasta Weesie” - Fettuccine alfredo with shrimps, mushrooms and scallions.

You may find Carrabba’s a little on the expensive side compared to Olive Garden but it does have such an unusual menu. Their wine selection is very wide, but again a little more expensive. It is certainly very popular with the locals as you will normally have quite a wait for a table, especially at the weekend.

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Page added on: 1 December 2012
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