Like it or not, Philly (especially our more suburban reaches) loves the chain restaurants. Especially the Italian chain restaurants. The Daily News’ Chain Gang is investigating the crucial question of… Who makes the best chain Italian food in a city full of amazing (and independent) Italian restaurants? Your competitors: Maggiano’s Little Italy, Buca Di Beppo and Vinny T’s of Boston.
Maggiano’s: “Ordering “Family Style” at Maggiano’s can be a great deal if you have a tapeworm, because the happy waitstaff will bring you seconds, thirds, etc., until, like the man in “Monty Python’s Meaning of Life,” you simply explode. If you like normal-size portions, “Family Style” is pricier than ordering a la carte, but you do get to try a lot of dishes and bring home a lot of leftovers.”
Vinny T’s: “The Famiglia Platter salad ($8.95) with a red wine vinaigrette was only adequate, its lettuce a day past its prime. The entrees were enormous and varied in quality. At the top of the list was the Chicken Carciofi (we went with the $27.95 large), chicken breast pieces with amazing artichoke hearts, mushrooms and tomatoes. It took up an entire serving tray, so its side dishes of oven-roasted potatoes and roasted vegetables got their own plates.”
Buca Di Beppo: “To round out our tour, we went to the Las Vegas of Big Italian, Buca di Beppo, where the kitsch is piled as high as the pasta. This over-the-top, over-decorated restaurant, with Louis Prima and Dean Martin recordings on a seemingly endless loop and a bust of the pope in the back room, has a carnival feel from the moment you enter, and a wait staff that’s as much show as tell. The food’s not bad, either.”
Pasta till you say ‘basta’ [Daily News]