Good food and location...
Frankie and Benny's (Glasgow)
Member Name: angelboouk
Frankie and Benny's (Glasgow)
Advantages: tasty food, set menu prices, views, the complex, clean, tidy, toilets, menu choice
Disadvantages: service can be slow, some portions small, expensive main menu, not very spacious
*Review originally written 28/05/13 and remains unedited*
With yesterday being a bank holiday, my fiance decided to treat us to lunch. We fancied a trip to Glasgow and decided to take a wander along to Springfield Quay. This is a complex on the River Clyde and here you will find Mecca Bingo, bowling, a cinema and various places to eat including Harvester, Chiquitos and a few other restaurants. We were in the mood for a Frankie and Benny's so chose to eat here for lunch. I have experience of a few Frankie and Benny's and have had mixed experiences of them.
~Frankie and Benny's~
0141 429 0055
Frankie and Benny's is a chain of restaurants specialising in Italian and American cuisine. There are a few F&Bs in Glasgow but my review is based on the one at the Springfield Quay. There is free parking available at the back of the restaurant. The Quay is around 20 minutes walk from Glasgow Central train station or a few minutes by car on the A8 or M8 motorway. The restaurant is open daily from 0900hrs to 2300hrs (2230hrs on a Sunday). We walked here along the side of the Clyde and it didn't take very long at all.
~Exterior and Interior~
This particular restaurant is visible as you approach The Quay and the building looks modern. Outdoor seating is available. Inside, the restaurant is very much like any other Frankie and Benny's - booth and table seating with some high seats at the bar. The decor is warm with reds and browns but the restaurant lacks any decent lighting. The kitchen is visible which I love as I enjoy seeing my food being cooked. There is a lot packed into the space that the restaurant has.
Whilst it is set over one level, the aisles aren't terribly spacious. There isn't much room to store prams though they do offer high chairs for babies. I wouldn't say that it is the most disabled friendly restaurant especially when overly busy as it would be difficult to find suitable table spaces for those in wheelchairs as it is quite cramped. The toilets are located at the back of the restaurant and there is suitable baby changing and disabled toilets there. I would recommend requesting a table at the window side of the restaurant as it is quite relaxing to look out onto the water in my opinion. If you are a fan of 1950s music from Dean Martin and Nat King Cole, you will appreciate the background noise.
~Standard of Service~
We arrived at the restaurant around 1330hrs on a busy Bank Holiday Monday. The restaurant was very busy and as we didn't have reservations, we had to wait for around 10 minutes. We were given a little buzzer which vibrates and flashes when your table is ready. We had a seat near the window which gave us time to look over the menu. The service was efficient and friendly. The staff are rushed off their feet but manage to keep their calm and do their job very effectively. The serving of food was a little slow but this could be overlooked as the restaurant was full to capacity. Tables were cleared quickly and the restaurant is kept clean and tidy by the servers.
~Food on Offer~
I find the selection of food on offer at this restaurant to be really good though mainly focussed on meaty dishes so vegetarians may be disappointed with the selection of dishes they have to choose from. I will try to be brief but would like to inform you of some of the dishes available.
There are various special menus which you can order from at Frankie and Benny's and this is dependent on when you visit. Breakfast is served until 1200hrs and the meals have a set price of £5.00 each which is fair for some dishes but not others in my opinion. I would happily pay £5.00 for a big breakfast but not for poached eggs on toast. They offer a veggie breakfast but this doesn't include veggie sausages which doesn't seem right.
The midweek lunch menu (1100hrs to 1700hrs) offers good value for money - £5.95 (one course) £8.25 (two courses) and £9.25 (three courses). There is a good selection of dishes on offer including soup, doughballs, pizza, pasta, wraps and burgers as well as ice cream, brownies and waffles for dessert. Vegetarians have the choice of a wrap, pasta or a veggie burger.
There is specials menu available all day from Sunday to Friday which is also good value for money - £10.95 (two courses) and an additional £2.25 to add a dessert. The selection is a bit more limited here but you can indulge in crab bruschetta, philly chicken wrap, salad and various pasta bakes as well as mint choc waffles and crumbles for dessert. Vegetarian options include mushroom crostini, pizza or a veggie gnocchi bake.
The main menu has the best selection but is a little more expensive. Starters are priced from £3.95 and include coated chicken strips and calamari. Various salads are available as are pasta bakes, calzone pizza and various steak and fish dishes. The full menu is on the website. Prices can be high - the oven baked pesto salmon coming in at £13.25 for example. There is a lighter menu too. Vegetarians can opt for bruschetta, penne arrabiata, cannelloni, pizza and burgers.
There is a seperate dessert menu offering delicious sundaes and cheesecakes (from £3.95). Children have a choice of a small portion or larger portion of various dishes (from £3.95 inc juice and dessert) including spaghetti, chicken pasta, pizza, wraps and hotdogs with ice cream or banana custard for dessert. F&Bs also offer a varied selection of drinks including coffee (free refills), draught juice (free refills) and beer, spirits and cocktails. Cocktails start from £2.50 up to £14.99.
We were very hungry after our walk to the restaurant and had already decided on our meal choices by the time we were seated. We usually visit the F&Bs in Hamilton but noticed that the menu has been updated recently to include some new dish selections. Both myself and my fiance finally decided to order from the specials menu. To be fair, I did want a main course from the lunch menu but was swayed by the desserts on the specials menu so that made my mind up!
We ordered some drinks - a lemonade for our son, Pepsi for my fiance and a diet Pepsi for myself. The drinks were brought to our table promptly as were further refills making the £2.55 seem a bit more reasonable for a soft drink. Our starters and our sons main meal arrived within 15 minutes are were well presented and piping hot. My fiance opted for the mushroom crostini - a garlic ciabatta bread topped with garlic mushrooms in a cajun and blue cheese sauce. The portion size was just right for a starter and looked delicious. He enjoyed it.
I decided to have the dough sticks with dip and received a portion of four, long dough sticks which were a tiny bit overcooked on the outside but perfect inside. I opted for the philly cheese dip which was a thick, rich cheese sauce with a strong flavour. My fiance didn't like it but as a cheese lover, I found it to be delicious and the perfect dip for my dough sticks. My son had a childrens portion of chicken strips and fries. His portion was quite big and substantial for a five year old and as always, the fries were delicious and the chicken strips were meaty and tasty.
Our main courses were served after a 20 minute wait and again, were well presented and served hot. I really wasn't sure what to have as nothing on the specials menu really grabbed me. I settled for the chicken carbonara bake - penne pasta, pancetta bacon, mushrooms and a creamy cheese sauce. I was quite disappointed with the portion size and to be fair, the dish didn't look very excited at all. It looked a little short on sauce but wasn't as dry as I anticipated. My little bowl was filled with al dente pasta, a small amount of chicken and little bacon pieces and plenty of mushrooms (which I picked to the side as I don't like them). I would say that my dish was nice enough and the cheese sauce had a pleasant flavour to it but wasn't as rich as I would have liked. I wouldn't have been happy to pay the full menu price of £10.95 for this dish - it could do with a side of fries or at least some garlic bread to make it more worth the money in my opinion as it is quite boring as a stand alone dish but I am very fussy!
My fiance ordered a BBQ burger and he received an excellent sized portion. The burger bun was packed full of bacon, lettuce, onion, tomato and a 6oz burger which was very meaty. The fries were up to the usual high standard of F&Bs and the tomato-chilli dip was perfectly flavoured. My fiance enjoyed his meal but couldn't finish it all hence why I got to try it! I found the burger to be delicious but with all the toppings and the smokey BBQ sauce, it was a tad messy and sloppy to eat.
When I go out for a meal at a nice restaurant, I like to have a dessert as a treat. My fiance didn't fancy one but that didn't deter my son and I. I actually knew which dessert I would be ordering from the moment we reached the entrance to the restaurant as it was pictured on the menu outside and looked soooo yummy! It is quite a new dessert to F&Bs but not completely. F&Bs are famous for their cheesecakes and this particular dessert was a salted caramel cheesecake with ice cream so basically, a new take on the traditional cheesecake! I had to wait for it though which I wasn't pleased about as I wanted it right away and could see it sitting on the counter for a good 5 minutes before it was brought to our table - why do they do it to us!
Oh my - it was delicious and I would have it again! I received a decent sized slice of creamy, moist cheesecake with a very thin biscuit base. Some may prefer a thicker base but for me, the actual cheesecake and topping is what I'm after. I would say that they could have added a little more salted caramel sauce but based on what I had on my cheesecake, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The salt and sweet balance was just right and there was a good amount of chocolate honeycomb pieces on the cheesecake too and the ice cream was deliciously creamy. I would highly recommend this dessert! My son opted for vanilla ice cream with chocolate buttons and it was served in a tall glass which made him feel rather grown up. I appreciated that this was included with his meal and he enjoyed it.
Whilst I wouldn't personally opt for the carbonara main course again, we thoroughly enjoyed our meals. Our bill came to £34.00 which I feel was a great price for what we got and would personally recommend opting for the set menus if there is something on it that takes your fancy. Be aware that the portion size for main courses isn't the same for all meals and I have discovered this from various visits to Frankie and Benny's - some meals are more filling than others. Our tummies were satisfied after our entire meal so we walked some of it off on our journey back to the centre of Glasgow! We paid by cash but cards are accepted and the machine is brought to your table.
Other points to mention include the toilets - clean and well stocked but unfortuantely, this particular restaurant doesn't play the music in the toilets which my fiance saw fit to comment on! The restaurant is family friendly and offers little colouring packs and balloons to children. F&Bs have regular special offers including 25% off from 1700hrs on a Monday so these are worth looking out for. You could really make a day of it in the complex too if you are going to the cinema or bowling and then for a bite to eat. We would go back here and I can recommend it. It was a lovely treat for us.
Thanks for reading :)
Summary: a good F&Bs but not the best