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To be Frank
Frankie & Benny's
Member Name: msvforb
Frankie & Benny's
Date: 05/08/09, updated on 05/08/09 (226 review reads)
Advantages: Lovely food & excellent service
Disadvantages: You can't usually book in advance
Due to a recent tightening of the purse strings I don't get to eat out either as often as I'd like or as often as I used to but when the budget does stretch to a meal out Frankie and Benny's is one of the first places I'd choose to go.
Frankie & Benny's is a chain of Italian/American diner style restaurants situated throughout the UK. The restaurants are mainly to be found in retail and entertainment parks although I have noticed that more have started to open up in city centres recently.
On first walking through the door Frankie & Benny's have the feel of a 50s American bar/diner from the bar with high stools to the dark wood and red leather covered booth seating. There are five Frankie & Benny's compilation CDs featuring music from the 50s from the likes of Dean Martin, Shirley Bassey and Nat King Cole, these CDs are played on a constant loop in each of the restaurants and really add to the feel of place. Incidentally these CDs are available to buy in the restaurants or on the website www.frankieandbennys.com.
Getting a Table:
On entering the restaurant you are usually shown straight to your table but at busier times you might be asked to have a drink in the bar. Some restaurants have a buzzer system to alert you when your table is ready which I think is a really good idea so that you don't have to listen for your name to be called over the hustle and bustle of a busy bar and restaurant.
In my opinion one big downside to eating at this chain is that with the exception of big parties and special times of year (eg valentines day or around Christmas time) it isn't possible to book a table, this can lead to long waits at peak times.
In my experience the staff have always been really helpful and it's easy to attract their attention if you want some help but you don't find them hovering around the tables too much when you're eating your meal.
I have eaten at Frankie & Benny's lots of times and have only once had a long wait for my order. On this occasion the computer ordering system had failed but once this problem was rectified we were thanked for our patience with a free starter, a bonus for us as we were in no real rush.
Menu & Price:
The restaurant serves a wide range of starters (eg Bruschetta, soups, chicken wings etc) for one or to share, main courses (eg pasta dishes, pizzas, burgers, salads) and desserts (eg cheesecake, ice cream, sticky toffee pudding) so there is pretty much something for everyone.
In addition to the main menu there is a kids menu from which for £3.95 you can get a main meal, dessert and unlimited soft drink refills.
Full versions of all the menus are available on the website so I won't bore you further regarding these but if you're visiting for breakfast or for lunch mid week you should note that there are separate menus for these times and the lunch menu in particular has some great offers with one course being available for £5.95, two courses for £7.25 and three courses for £8.45.
In my opinion the food is always fresh and tasty and there are many dishes that I have eaten repeatedly and so would highly recommend.
With regard to price whilst not really cheap the food is no more expensive than what you would pay in a similar restaurant. A two course dinner and drinks for two tends to set me back about £25 - £30 so whilst it's not somewhere you can eat everyday it's good for a special occasion.
Unlike many other chain restaurants I do not often find money off vouchers are readily available for Frankie & Benny's however there are often in restaurant promotions which are worth looking out for. For example at the moment there is Monday madness where diners get 25% off their food bill every Monday evening. There is also currently a new summer menu from which you can have two courses for £9.95 on certain days. I have not yet seen this menu and so can't comment further.
The website offers the chance to join the mailing list from which you can receive money off vouchers and details of other offers. There is also a section of the website especially designed for kids with games to play and puzzles etc to download.
Vouchers are available to purchase for use in the restaurants.
Over the last two or three years I have noticed Little Frankie's restaurants opening up in a few places. These restaurants whilst similar in layout and ambience have a greatly reduced version of the main Frankie & Benny's menu on offer. In fact, most of my favourites are missing from this menu and so I tend to eat elsewhere.
In summary if you're looking for good quality, tasty Italian/American food for all the family I would recommend a trip to Frankie & Benny's.
Summary: A great place to eat for all the family.