Florida Guide > Dining
You will find this casual chain of Sicilian-American of restaurants with their open kitchens churning out wood-fired pizzas and fresh-made pastas throughout Florida. Our favourite one is located not far from our villa at 7890 W Irlo Bronson Hwy (US192) Tel: 407 390 9600. We find this a well-run restaurant with above average food, this is always on our must do list when we visit Orlando.
It is advisable in busy periods to dine either early, around 6.0pm or late at 9.00. At times between these you may have quite a wait for a table. However if there are just two of you and you do not mind eating at the bar you can usually get seated quite quickly.
The open dining rooms are decorated with family photos of founders Damian Mandola and Johnny Carrabba, and they seat groups of friends and extended families into four- and six-person tables and booths; smaller parties or couples can grab stools at the open kitchen's adjoining bar. The interior features lots of exposed brick and a show kitchen where you can watch the chefs at work. The atmosphere is very casual and the dining room is a favourite for families, sharing plates of pasta and hearty entrees.
Here you can enjoy the well-prepared Italian specialties like the pollo Rosa Maria, a fire-roasted chicken breast stuffed with fontina cheese, prosciutto and topped with mushroom basil butter sauce. The traditional southern Italian menu offers grill specialties like steak Marsala and pasta dishes include fettuccine Alfredo and garlic-sauteed shrimp with linguine. The tagliarini picchi pacchiu (a fine pasta with crushed tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and basil served with either chicken or shrimp) is to die for!
You can also get a surprisingly good sirloin grilled over a wood fire, topped with mushrooms and prosciutto in a marsala wine sauce. For a seafood fix, ask for the day's special and have it grilled, or try the linguine pescatore with mussels, shrimp and scallops in a spicy marinara sauce.
Also available are wood-fired pizzas, an array of soups and salads, pastas, and other favourite Italian classics. Our girls love the Italian Chicken Pizza with chicken breast and Italian sweet and sour sauce topped with scallions and mozzarella cheese.
Wines are mostly Italian; my Father likes the house red Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. They also serve speciality drinks, my favourite being the Wildberry Cocktail which has wildberry vodka, apple schnapps and cranberry juice.
Be sure to leave room for dessert, we always share these. There is the traditional Tiramisu but we often choose J Cole, which is Blue Bell Vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce and roasted cinnamon nut pecans. Our other favourite is Desert Rosa. This is a mouth-watering buttercake topped pastry cream and strawberries, pineapple and whipped cream. If you do dine at Carrabbas I am sure you will enjoy your visit and return again.
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