Florida Guide > Dining
Dine out at Carrabbas
One of the most popular restaurants in the Orlando area is Carrabbas.
We stumbled on it by chance a few years ago. We had driven past the Carrabbas at Formosa Gardens on the Highway 192 many times and noted that the car park was always full – a sure sign of a good restaurant! We therefore thought we would give it a try.
So glad we did!
It is one of our favourite eateries and we never visit our villa without dining there at least once during our stay.
Carrabbas is an Italian restaurant, complete with an open wood burner grill. Much of the cooking is done either on this grill or around it and in full view of the diners.
It’s always a good idea to book in advance due to the popularity. If you are happy to take your chance then you can enjoy a few drinks in the bar area whilst you wait for a table. We tend to call just before we leave home to reserve as that usually means the table is just about ready when we arrive.
The menu is vast and you are spoilt for choice. Whilst you are choosing you will be served drinks and then gorgeous soft Italian bread with a herb olive oil dip! This is one of my reasons for loving Carrabbas – it has the best taste ever!
When you are ready to choose you main course you will be guided by your server. Often Carrabbas has specials which give you a chance to sample different items from the menu on one plate – for example they may have four small portions of different chicken dishes which they present as one serving – an excellent way to find out what is your favourite for your next visit!
The menu caters for diabetics and people with gluten intolerance. This is a nice touch as many people with these conditions struggle to find a restaurant where they can have a choice from the menu.
There is very much a homely and Italian feel to the restaurant, despite it being a large chain. The servers are dressed in Italian style with long white aprons. Around the walls are old photographs showing the original Carrabbas family going back several generations.
There are several Carrabbas restaurants in the Orlando area – the ones we have tried are at Formosa Gardens on the 192 and on the Highway 50 at Clermont. The latter is used less by tourists but is still very busy, mainly with locals.
Finally – if you really haven’t the time to eat out, or maybe have young children who just can’t stay awake after a long day at the Parks, why not have Carrabbas at home! Carrabbas do take outs – you could stop by on your way back from your day out and take your Italian meal back to your villa!
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