If you want the ultimate comfort food, Italian cuisine is the way to go. Hearty pizzas, creamy kinds of pasta, and yummy desserts like tiramisu hit the spot every time.
Fortunately, there are plenty of high-quality Italian chain restaurants where you can get your fix. These are the top ten chain restaurants that you must check out.
Whether you’re a traditionalist or like the Americanized versions, you can find a Italian restaurant to fit your fancy no matter where you reside in the U.S. by heading to one of the best Italian chain restaurants we mention in the following section.
America’s 10 Best Italian Chain Restaurants
We have chosen the 10 best Italian chain restaurants for your dining pleasure. Each one has a distinct mission and concept, but they are all excellent choices to get your Italian food fix.
1. The Spaghetti Warehouse
The Spaghetti Warehouse is a ubiquitous favorite, and with locations in Ohio, New York, and Texas, there’s probably one near you. The Spaghetti Warehouse caters to small and large groups, and specific areas can even host parties.
In Columbus, Ohio, there’s a branch that can seat up to 800 people. Check out the Spaghetti Warehouse for traditional comfort Italian food at reasonable prices.
One of their top menu items is a 15-layer lasagna, and their meatballs are legendary. Other notable items include fried ravioli, spaghetti, and chili. Although the Spaghetti Warehouse is famous for all things pasta-related, they also offer gluten-free menu items and can cater to other dietary needs.
All of their locations are extremely popular, so it’s advisable to make reservations, especially during popular times and holidays.
Fazoli’s has over 200 locations across 26 states, and it offers casual, quality Italian cuisine at reasonable prices. The first Fazoli’s started in 1988 in Lexington, Kentucky, and it quickly exploded in popularity for a simple reason; the food is outstanding, and the atmosphere is welcoming.
One of the biggest draws of Fazoli’s is the endless breadsticks, and you can make a meal out of them and one of Fazoli’s signature sauces. Other popular menu items include baked pasta topped with mounds of cheese that you can customize with meatballs and chicken. If pasta isn’t for you, you can always get a pizza or submarine sandwiches.
Fazoli’s is a family-friendly option that also offers senior discounts and lunch specials. If you’re counting your calories, you can find menu items for 550 calories or less. Since their service is pretty quick, you can be in and out in well under an hour, making Fazoli’s an excellent option for working people.
3. Olive Garden
Olive Garden is one of the most famous and widespread Italian chain restaurants with 800 locations all across the United States. The popularity of their restaurants hinges on a few key things, including inexpensive meal options, unlimited salad, soup, and breadsticks, and a vast menu.
Try out the “Tour of Italy” that boasts chicken parmesan, lasagne, fettuccine Alfredo, and modern options like chick and shrimp carbonara. Most of their menu items are heavy on the carbs, but you can find diet-friendly items if you look. The Olive Garden is equally popular for lunch or dinner, and they’re constantly rolling out new menu items, so there’s something for everyone.
The Olive Garden is also an excellent corporate citizen and regularly donates to organizations like Pasta for Pennies, the Giving Tree, and Harvest Food Donations. They also pay their servers and cooks well, so there’s less turnover. If you want to support companies that are above board, the Olive Garden is a great choice.
Zio’s is a popular Italian food chain that stretches across Texas, Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Kansas that attracts customers with its diverse and inventive menu.
You’ll find traditional Italian cuisine at Zio’s, as well as more creative options like Italian nachos and pepperoni bread. This chain is family-friendly, but the piazza-style setup makes it classy enough for date night.
Zio’s makes delicious brick-oven pizzas, and they don’t skimp on the toppings. You’ll find standard toppings like cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, and olives, as well as Thai barbeque chicken. Each pizza is fresh and made to order and is the perfect size for sharing.
Zio’s pasta also tends to be more on the creative side. You will find standard fare like linguine, cheese ravioli, and pasta Alfredo, as well as innovative dishes like Shrimp Limone, which features seafood and a zesty lemon sauce. With a $3.99 kid’s menu, Zio’s is an affordable option for your Italian food fix.
Bertucci’s is one of New England’s top Italian food chains, and with 50 locations, you won’t have to go too far to get your Italian food fix. Unfortunately, there are no Bertucci’s west of the Mississippi River, but the chain is expanding all of the time, so that might change in the future.
One of the biggest draws of Bertucci’s is its massive menu.
Bertucci’s lunch and dinner menu features all of your traditional Italian favorites and includes a section specifically for children. The service tends to be relatively quick, so you can easily visit a Bertucci’s on your lunch break or for a fast dinner. Their thin crust brick oven pizzas are spectacular, and one can easily feed two or three people.
Bertucci’s is always running specials, so you can undoubtedly score a good deal. Visit their website for up-to-date information on what they have to offer. They also do catering for events and large groups. Bertucci’s food is consistently good and reasonably priced.
6. Bravo! Italian Kitchen
Bravo! Italian Kitchen has been around since the early 1990s, and it offers traditional Italian classic fare with consistent, inventive specials. There are locations spread across 14 states, and the vast menu ensures that you will find something that suits your fancy for sure. Popular items include Chicken Parmesan, Spaghetti Bolognese, and Fra Diavolo.
In addition to their classic Italian food, Bravo! Italian Kitchen also features entrees like steak and salmon. If you want to eat lighter, check out their selection of salads. Bravo! Italian Kitchen is also a great place to go for brunch, and they have a massive menu of inspired cocktails.
If you have a sweet tooth, Bravo! Italian Kitchen was made for you. They offer traditional items like tiramisu and vanilla gelato, as well as vanilla bean creme brulee. The portions are sizable, so there’s a good chance that you’ll be taking some home with you.
Carraba’s is a great place to go if you want traditional Italian food because many of its menu items are based on family recipes. Founders Johnny Carrabba and Damian Mandola started the chain in 1986 in Houston, Texas, and it has blown up exponentially since then. Today, there are 250 Carrabba’s locations all across the country.
Carrabba’s dishes are both familiar and creative at the same time, and they have a vast menu full of favorites like shrimp and scallop linguine, lasagna, and ravioli. There are newer dishes like Chicken Bryan, which combines sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and lemon butter sauce together for a delicious and light dish.
Carrabba’s offers gluten-free and diet-friendly options as well, and the wine list is top-notch.
8. Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano
Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano has some spectacular food and is undoubtedly one of the top Italian chains in the country. If you want fare that rivals an expensive Italian bistro, this is the place to go for sure. They rotate their specials regularly, and each month you can find different “chef features,” so there’s always something new and delicious to try.
Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano also knows how to cater to their customers, with gluten-free menu options and healthier fare, in addition to their traditional dishes. They offer lunch specials too, like their half and half promotion where you can sample soups, salads, pizzas, or sandwiches.
With fresh ingredients, a reasonably-priced menu, and a great collection of traditional and modern options, Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano is a solid choice for any occasion.
9. Romano’s Macaroni Grill
Romano’s Macaroni Grill has been around since 1988 and is now in 15 states with 40 locations. One of the key features of Romano’s Macaroni Grill is how well they make their meat dishes. Meat lovers will fall in love with the Pollo Caprese and braised lamb shank, as well as their delectable grilled salmon and shrimp Portofino.
The pasta dishes are great too, and they hit all of the comfort food notes. Some of the more popular menu items include mushroom ravioli and truffle mac and cheese. Since the food at Romano’s Macaroni Grill is fairly heavy, it’s good to bring your appetite and prepare to have some leftovers.
Romano’s Macaroni Grill offers consistent, delicious food at reasonable prices.
10. Maggiano’s Little Italy
Maggiano’s Little Italy is one of the more romantic options on our list, and it’s a great place to go for date night and quench your cravings for classic Italian food. Maggiano’s Little Italy started in Chicago in the early 1990s, and each branch has a classy, warm atmosphere.
Their portions are enormous and perfect for sharing. Maggiano’s Little Italy also has an extensive wine list and some great desserts, as well as a takeout menu. They can cater both large and small events as well.
If you are in the mood for classic or modern Italian cuisine, any of these options would certainly fit the bill. There’s no shortage of traditional and tasty Italian chain restaurants within driving distance from anywhere in the United States.
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