I have been very pleased on all my visits to Carrabba's Italian Grill. Right off you are greeted at the door, often by not only the hostess but several of the waitstaff while on your way to your table. Very refreshing to be acknowledged in this fashion. Seating is nice, the restaurant doesn't feel overly-crowded or claustrophobic even at busy times, and the ambience is pleasant. The lighting can be a little low at the latter half of dinnertime but not unpleasantly so. servers are very friendly and knowledgeable of the menu, and not afraid to make suggestions. Starting off with hot bread served with oil and herbs it's easy to become full even before you order your meal. I like to start with the fried calamari which is better here than many other places I've been. A bowl of their spicy chicken soup is a great way to get warmed up for a meal or to take away the chill if you're thin-skinned. Steak marsala is an excellent choice for a main dish and it is always cooked perfectly, though chicken dishes are also prepared perfectly. The wine selection is good but the house wine is also an excellent selection, even for a picky wine-drinker like myself. Service throughout the meal is attentive and friendly, never pushy, and it's even comfortable and easy to get into a conversation with the staff. The room is well-staffed and you can see exactly where your food is prepared with the open-style kitchen. Finishing the meal your server will gladly take your dishes and carefully box your leftovers for you if you wish, including the wonderful bread. Once cleared, the table has plenty of room for you to try the fabulous tiramisu, which taste-tests have shown to be among the best in Austin, a reason all by itself to visit this restaurant. If I need help in convincing my wife to venture out of the house to eat here all I have to do is mention this tasty dessert and the deal is sealed.
Carrabba's is an excellent dining experience without seeming pretentious nor too casual.
Don't forget to wash your hands before eating...you'll get a lesson in Italian through speakers in the ceiling of the bathroom.
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