Carraba's Italian Grill—Italian

   19935 Century Blvd, Germantown

   (240) 686-1100

   Opened for dinner Monday - Friday
   Lunch and Dinner Saturday and Sunday

 Reviewer:   Louis P. Solomon

 In general, I don’t like chain restaurants. But Carrabba’s makes an effort to be quite personal. Their staff is courteous and attends to your every wish without being obsequious. Grace was our waitress on a very busy night and she did an excellent job. There were three of us and we all ordered different dishes, deliberately. At the onset they provided fresh warm bread and olive oil with lots of garlic. We ordered two antipasti: the antipasti platter ($10*) and cozze in blanco (mussels in white wine sauce at $10*). The mussels were really delicious and spicy. We ordered Spiedino di Mare (shrimp and scallops at $16*), Tilapia (which was a special for the day at $18*) and Chicken Parmesan ($15*). They were accompanied by a special lentil and sausage soup ($3*) or salad. They offer different specials every day. The three of us disagreed about the dishes. Two of us really liked the rather spicy dishes while my wife thought they were too spicy. There were side dishes. One side dish, cavatappi amatriciana, was made with corkscrew pasta and was wonderful. The vegetable of the day (asparagus*) was very fresh and crisp. 

 We had drinks from the pleasant bar to begin. A glass of Pinot Grigio, a pint of Guiness stout, and Campari and soda in a tall glass which is my favorite summer drink. They were all about $5. We had no wine with dinner, and no dessert.

 The menu is not particularly large but well balanced. There is wood fired pizza ($10*) and salad and soup options ($3-$10*). There is meat, chicken and fish from the grill ($17*). This included my Spiedino de Mare which was very good. They have the standard pasta specialties including Scampi Domian ($14*), Lobster Ravioli ($16*) and their own pasta dish, pasta Carrabba ($13*). The also offer Italian classics including lasagna ($12*), linguine pescatore ($15*) and chicken parmesan ($15*) which was very good.

 The décor is nice. The restaurant has a child’s menu and appeals to families. The rest rooms are clean and well kept. It is a little noisy but quite reasonable in a restaurant full of people. The portions are enormous. We could have easily eaten just the antipasti and been satisfied. I would return to the restaurant with a large group and feel I would get a good meal, reasonably priced and well served. 

June 2005

*Please note! Maryland 20878® has no connection with any of the restaurants reviewed.  Prices and hours are listed as a convenience and are accurate as of the date of review, but may have changed at any time.  Consider the prices to be an indication of roughly what dinner might cost at the establishment.

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