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Frankie and Bennys = A nice meal out for all.
Frankie & Benny's
Member Name: Ainat
Frankie & Benny's
Date: 11/03/11, updated on 25/07/13 (128 review reads)
Advantages: Great atmosphere
Disadvantages: Nothing major to report, a few minor annoyances
Frankie and Benny's restaurants have a history that dates back to 1924, when a young Frankie moved with his parents from Sicily to New York, where his father opened an Italian restaurant. Frankie met Benny in school, and they became great friends. When Frankies father retired, Frankie and Benny took over the restaurant, and Frankie and Bennys was born. This is the story that you may encounter, possibly on the walls or via the menus on dining in one of the many Frankie and Benny restaurants.
Frankie and Bennys pride themselves on having a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. I have eaten at several different restaurants across the country, and for the majority of them I have found this to be the case. The walls are covered in pictures, mostly black and white, of various people - who they are, I am not sure, but there are snippets of information you can read should you wish to do so. The restaurants are layed out in such a way with these images, tables, etc to give almost an American Diner style with an Italian twist. The music playing in the background tends to be at a perfect level where you can hear it, but you're not feeling as though you're having to shout over it, and always tends to be great songs that everyone knows that you can sing along to. This helps to create the atmosphere that Frankie and Bennys is known for. Another quirky little twist that I actually love is the fact that when you go into the toilets there is often a tape playing that helps you learn Italian. Last night I got to learn how to ask for grocery items in a shop. It gives that little extra edge I think and makes the dining experience just that little bit different from anywhere else.
The staff tend to be friendly and welcoming, and little things such as smiles on their faces are a definite welcoming touch. Staff are generally quick to respond to customers walking in the doors, and are good at not leaving diners too long before asking if they want to take their orders, etc. They also appear perfectly happy to give you more time should you wish to browse the menu for a little longer. Even when the restaurant is particularly busy, this generally tends to ring true.
The menu offers a variety of dishes with Italian and/or American heritage, from spaghetti bolognese to burgers with loads of choice in between. The majority of the menu is taken up with a variety of pastas, burgers and pizzas but there is more of a variety available than this! There is also a kids menu available. The last time I was in the restaurant with a child, she was also presented with a little activity book and some crayons. This little book had a range of puzzles such as a mini crossword and a word search as well as colouring in, which I thought was a nice touch and also kept my friends daughter entertained whilst waiting for our food. The drinks menus and dessert menus are placed on the tables and are very tempting. Resist if you can! the variety of drinks and desserts meet the standards of the rest of the menu.
The food here is of a decent standard. It isn't gormet, but then it isn't marketed as that. What it is, is tasty, filling, and worth the money that you pay for it. I think I am aware of items on their menu being brought in from external suppliers, but this means that there is a standardisation across the restaurants across the country, so all restaurants should be on par in regards to their food, and is in general what happens with any kind of franchise/chain type business. I have had the occasional meal that wasn't so brilliant, but the majority of dishes that I have tried have tended to be very yummy indeed. The burgers tend to be moist and not dry without being too greasy, chicken is mostly tender and seasoned nicely. Pasta tends to be cooked nicely neither over or under cooked. It's been a while since I've had one of their pizzas, but from what I can remember they were also tasty. They do only offer thin base pizzas, so if you're a deep pan kinda person, possibly not the best option for you. There is a nice range of desserts if that's your kinda thing. Lots of ice-cream based desserts - the east coast sundae being particularly nice. There are others though, such as the chocolate brownies which I would recommend, and things such as crumbles and cheesecake.
The bar area in the restaurants is also the waiting area if you happen to pop in on a particularly busy night. These areas tend to be quite small in the ones that I have been in. I guess this can be taken to mean that there is full intention to get people seated as quickly as possible. I have however been in a Frankie and Bennys on a particularly busy night, and the bar areas can get very crowded which can be a little unpleasant. This is unlikely to happen though from my experiences - has only been the case for me twice. There are a variety of drinks on the drinks menus from wines, beers and cocktails to soft drinks to speciality coffees. The menus outline all of the ingredients in the cocktails and coffees so you know what you are asking for. I'm not a coffee drinker, but I am told that they are very nice, especially after a meal. I have sampled some of their cocktails, and have enjoyed them.
In general, Frankie and Bennys is a nice place to go for a meal out, and I enjoy going there as a treat every so often. the prices on their menu generally mean it is expensive enough to be regarded as a nice treat every so often, but not so expensive that you feel guilty about it. if you go on certain days of the week there are different offers on also. for example, at the moment, on a Monday you can have 25% off your bill if you eat between certain times, which I think is between 5 and 10pm. There is also a lunch time menu available which gives a set cost for either 1, 2 or 3 courses if you pick from a set menu. I have had this option relatively recently and was offered a decent selection of dishes.
There are a couple of minor annoyances, for example the actual physical size of the menus. When placed on the table, my menu would be covered partially by whoever happens to be sat opposite me's menu. My personal opinion is that soft drinks such as coke and lemonade are expensive, especially as it is draft, but then that tends to be the case in most restaurants. What would be better is of they offered the re-fillable option for soft drinks that some other places offer. Having worked behind a bar in the past I am aware that draft soft drinks is a great money maker, but feel they should offer the re-fillable option.
Overall though, I enjoy visiting Frankie and Bennys and would recommend it. A nice place to have a meal out with a partner, friends or family.
Summary: Nom nom nom. Great atmosphere and delicious.
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