Most Delicious Italian Chain Restaurants in the U.S.
It may not be authentic Italian food, but Italian-American cuisine is inarguably delicious, especially at these popular Italian chain restaurants.
Most Delicious Italian Chain Restaurants
Italian food is one of the best in the world. So, it makes sense that Italian-American food would also be too delicious to resist. This cuisine came from Italian immigrants who blended their traditions to life in a new continent, giving us gems like deep-dish pizza and fettuccine Alfredo sauce.
Because everyone loves this food, you'll find Italian chains all over the United States. Some are OK, others are decent, and a few are worth coming back to time and time again.
These are the top 10 Italian chain restaurants in the U.S. We've excluded ones that focus on pizza since that would be a list of its own.
10. Johnny Carino's
Headquarters: Austin, Texas
Year opened: 1997
With locations all over the U.S., Johnny Carino's delivers consistently good food. The restaurant claims to be known for its baked lasagnas, spicy shrimp, and chicken and family platters. Order these if you're at a loss, but rest assured the rest of the menu is equally good.
The chain has amassed such a following that it offers a loyalty rewards program so that frequent diners can enjoy discounts. That's certainly a green flag.
9. Bravo! Italian Kitchen
Headquarters: Orlando, Florida
Year opened: 1992
Bravo! boasts generous portions and a menu that includes everything from calamari to flatbread to grilled salmon and veal Parmesan. Its Sunday brunch menu complements dishes like the Tuscan scrambler with interesting cocktails that go way beyond the typical mimosas.
The restaurant claims to use fresh ingredients and makes its dishes from scratch. This is probably the reason for its success since it is now one of the most beloved Italian chains in the country.
8. The Old Spaghetti Factory
Headquarters: Portland, Oregon
Year opened: 1969
Playing on the theme of its name, Old Spaghetti Factory sports a chic industrial look. There's usually a trolley car somewhere on the property — a nod to the chain's beginnings in an actual trolley car in Portland.
The really awesome thing about this chain is that ordering an entree will also get you bread, soup or salad, and a dessert. This makes it an economical option for a good Italian-American dinner in a cozy setting.
Headquarters: Northborough, Massachusetts
Year opened: 1981
You'll never go into a Bertucci's without seeing a brick oven, so we recommend you always order something made in said brick oven. Pizzas are the obvious choice. But if you feel like having something different, you can also get oven-baked calzones, casseroles and roasted vegetables.
Despite its delicious food, Bertucci's is an affordable option for scratching your Italian food itch, with lunch specials that'll tempt you to eat here every day.
6. Romano's Macaroni Grill
Headquarters: Denver, Colorado
Year opened: 1988
From the brains that brought us Fuddruckers, Romano's is a place you can count on for consistency. It falls in the mid-tier category of chain restaurants, offering nice sit-down dinners at reasonable prices.
The menu here isn't as extensive as at other restaurants, but the dishes are strong enough that you'll enjoy anything you order. And if none of the signature pasta dishes call your attention, you can always build your own pasts, so it's exactly to your liking.
5. Buca di Beppo
Headquarters: Orlando, Florida
Year opened: 1993
Buca di Beppo brings to America the Italian emphasis on sharing with family. Rather than individual portions, each dish is enough for three to five people, basically forcing diners to share.
This philosophy makes dining here a wholly pleasant experience. You can get pizza, but the standout dishes here are the stuffed and baked pastas. You probably won't be able to get up afterward (especially after dessert), but you'll feel completely satisfied.
4. Maggiano's Little Italy
Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
Year opened: 1991
Welcoming and relaxed, Maggiano's is known for its big portions that are perfect for a family dinner. The first restaurant opened in Chicago in the early 1990s and has since expanded all over the country.
While you'll find flatbreads and pastas, we encourage you to order one of the meat or chicken dishes, which are always excellent. If you don't know what to get, go for the Rigatoni D, made with roasted chicken, caramelized onions and mushrooms.
3. Carrabba's Italian Grill
Headquarters: Tampa, Florida
Year opened: 1986
Carrabba's is the passion project of two Sicilian-American men. It opened its first location in Houston, Texas, and is now the second-largest Italian chain in the country (after Olive Garden).
The restaurant's success is due in part to its use of the founder's family recipes. This sets it apart from more generic chains. That said, you can still find more modern takes on American-Italian food, including gluten-free options.
2. Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano
Headquarters: Bloomington, Illinois
Year opened: 1999
While Biaggi's is affordable, it doesn't compromise on quality. Case in point: The restaurant has monthly "chef features" that allow for creativity and playfulness. Regular customers love this and the rotating specials, which ensure that there's always something new to try. It also translates to menus varying from location to location, a surprising and pleasant move for a chain restaurant.
That said, you'll also have plenty of options if you want to stick with traditional Italian-American fare.
1. Brio Italian Grille
Headquarters: Orlando, Florida
Year opened: After 1992
Created by the same restaurant group behind Bravo!, Brio Italian Grille opened as a more upscale concept that specializes in northern Italian food, bringing the flavors of Tuscany to America. The pasta is made-to-order, and the seafood is fresh. Pizzas are made in a wood-burning oven for a perfectly crisp texture. The restaurant also offers a decent wine menu to complement its excellent food.
Because quality doesn't come cheap, Brio has higher prices than many other restaurants on this list. But they're not prohibitive, making this a perfect place for celebrations and memorable nights.