We went to Maggiano’s at South Coast Plaza for Tiff’s 26th Birthday. We did something that we don’t normally do at restaurants, we ordered family style. Family style at Maggiano’s means 3 appetizers, 4 entrees, and 2 desserts in unlimited quantities for the whole table. We had a party of 6, so family style was pretty great. 2 words: Food. Coma.

1. Food

-Appetizersappetizers maggianos

Top: 1. Bread 2. House Salad
Bottom: 1. Stuffed Mushrooms 2.  Fried Calamari

The Maggiano’s house salad usually comes with bleu cheese that we asked them not to include. The calamari was fine, nothing special, nothing to complain about. The salad was very well balanced, loved the dressing, but the mushrooms really stole the appetizer round. I wish the mushrooms were a little warmer when they came out, but they were so delicious that we ate them all up. They were also ginormous, really really big!


maggianos entrees

Top: 1. Fettuccine Alfredo 2. Chicken and Spinach Manicotti
Bottom: 1. Eggplant Parmesan Lasagna 2. Linguine with Clams
The fettuccine was SO whatever. There is literally nothing to write about this pasta. The chicken and spinach manicotti was Tracie’s personal favorite, eggplant parmesan lasagna was a great break from all the other white sauce/pasta items with the veggies and marinara sauce. Linguine with clams is just always a favorite at our table. Great balance of clams to the wine sauce to the noodles. Other than the fettuccine, all the entrees were great!

maggianos desserts
Left to Right: 1. Tiramisu 2. Apple Pie Crostada

Both were HEAVENLY. We devoured both dishes and ordered more of the tiramisu (the only dish that we ordered twice for the table)

Overall the food was pretty great. They seriously lacked on the presentation, but perhaps it was just because we ordered a family style dinner.


maggianos wine collage 2
We were able to taste test 2 syrahs before deciding on a bottle for the table. We ended up going with Boom Boom which was the majority favorite of the table. It wasn’t knock your socks off, but it was a perfectly acceptable syrah. Also, come on, it’s named Boom Boom. We don’t know about you, but Jessica has been made fun of one too many times for using the word boom boom as an alternative to.. well… you know.

2. Prices
Because we ended up doing family style at Magginao’s, the prices were set at about $30/person. Not bad for unlimited quantities. And because we left stuffed and happy (and enough leftovers for a week, literally. Went to Casa Cho a week later and they were eating Maggiano’s), can’t complain.

3. Ambience
-Maggiano’s is a dim restaurant, seemingly romantic, but it’s actually very family style in my opinion. The day we went, there were 2 wedding parties celebrating at the restaurant, so needless to say, the restaurant was very busy. It’s loud, buzzing, and the chatter of happy people enjoying their dinner is quite apparent. However their seating is SO tight. There was a high chair behind Jessica’s seat, Tracie and Heidi were sitting right at edge of the very busy walkway, and it was a tight squeeze! There are booths which are probably more spacious, but the tables on the floor are JAM packed which kind of messes with the dinner mood. We made a reservation, but there were people who were being quoted 40-45 minute wait times.
-If you’re looking for a fun night out, this place is it for you, but as far as being a “romantic setting”, you could do better.

4. Service
-The hosts were less than wonderful. Granted, they had a full restaurant, but they buzzed our buzzer, let us stand around for a while before they finally addressed the flashing buzzer in my hand, asked me my name, then looked at their computers and said it was a mistake and that we’ll have to wait some more. No apologies.
-Our waitress was EXCELLENT. She instantly made the energy of our table bright, bubbly, and fun. She was prompt in clearing our tables, bringing our food, etc. All the food runners were extremely efficient and helpful as well.

5. Convenience
-I would recommend going into Maggiano’s with a reservation if you wish to eat there for dinner. I have eaten here at lunch before and it is not nearly as busy. However, it is a fairly popular place to eat dinner. So, make a reservation. Or, you can expect to be waiting anywhere between 20 min-1 hr.
-Located at South Coast Plaza which is a huge shopping area, the parking is abundant. No problems here. Wear whatever shoes you would like unless you would like to hit the mall after dinner, cause who doesn’t want to try on clothes after eating a massive dinner??
-It is located in the same plaza as Seasons 52 but to the far right on it’s own little island atop the sea of parking lots.

Overall, we give Maggiano’s 3 shots for our dinner experience. If we came at lunch when it was less busy, ordered single portions, they probably would have received 4 shots, but there was just too many flaws in our dinner service. The greatest thing about the dinner was the tiramisu and our wonderful waitress. In spite of the dinner, we managed to have so much fun, but when the mood is just because your friends are awesome, Maggiano’s doesn’t really deserve more than 3 shots.



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