Romano’s Macaroni Grill

Restaurant: Romano’s Macaroni Grill
Cuisine: American/Italian
Last visited: October 12, 09

Area: Multiple locations – Denver, Colorado
4627 S Timberline Road, Fort Collins, CO
Price Range: $10-20USD1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 2
Service: 3
Ambiance: 4
Overall: 2.5
Additional comments:

  • American Chain restaurant
  • American-Italian food
  • Huge portions
  • Freshly baked pizza crusts and breads
  • Some housemade pastas
  • Attracts families
  • Kid-friendly – can draw on paper tablecloth
  • Large selections of wines
  • Casual and lively atmosphere
  • Line-up/crowded at peak hours
  • Complimentary freshly baked bread to start

Roasted Veggies, Pesto Chicken Pizza

Alright – so most of us have been there. If you’re looking for authentic Italian, you’re at the wrong place…and I’m sure you know. This is a chain restaurant that serves American-Italian food. Everything is loaded with thick, rich and hearty sauces and the only thing authentic is the big portions they serve. Oh and the thin pizza crusts is pretty authentic too. With that being said, as an American chain serving American food it’s not bad, but as REAL Italian it’s negative.

I found a lot of the sauces taste similar or are just repeated throughout the menu with a different pasta. A good tip is to stick to the things with simple ingredients because they do those well. Since the recipe is so simple everything is really fresh. The sauces are really just mediocre standard recipes that they teach you in cooking 101 so nothing to rave about there.

On the table:
  • Complimentary Tuscan Bread 3.5/6
    • This bread or Focaccia bread is good and baked daily in the kitchen. Some dried herbs and some sea salt on the crust. Simple enough for all your sauces.
    • They serve it with just the olive oil on the table though. No balsamic.
    • The olive oil is imported from Italy, but the grade is just ok. The colour and flavour isn’t deep enough and the bread needs something more bold.
  • **Roasted Veggies 6/6
    • Fresh zucchini, yellow and red peppers, eggplant and red onions slowly roasted with extra virgin olive oil and fresh rosemary.
    • I know it sounds simple. That’s why it’s good.
    • Fresh veggies and you get a ton! They cut them in big chunks and they’re roasted until they’re nice and juicy, tender and firm, and naturally sweet. They’re a little charred too so there’s a nutty flavour.
    • They use dried oregano and rosemary so the flavour is really intense and sharp.
  • **Pesto Chicken Pizza 4/6
    • Grilled chicken, pine nut pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, ricotta and Parmesan cheeses baked with garlic-olive oil.
    • The is quite a salty and rich pizza because of the ingredients used, but it’s really good. A little oily because of the pesto and sun dried tomatoes.
    • They skimped on the chicken but give you a lot of everything else. I really likes the spoonfuls of ricotta they put on each slice. I spread mine on the slice before i ate it
    • The pesto sauce is not bad, but they flavoured it with salt more than they do with pine-nuts. I don’t even know if they make it in house (I doubt it), and it’s not just basil but they mix it with spinach too. It’s a pretty thick pesto that they kind of dollop around the pizza. There’s also a lack of Parmesan in it.
    • Sun-dried tomatoes aren’t really sundried tomatoes, taste like preserved tomatoes in olive oil.
    • The crust is one of the highlights. It’s made in house and it’s nice and thin. It’s very crispy and yet flavourful and sturdy enough to hold the heavy toppings.
  • Penne Rustica 2.5/6
    • Shrimp, chicken and smoked prosciutto tossed with Parmesan cream sauce and imported penne pasta, then baked.
    • It’s good, but really rich, creamy, heavy and greasy.
    • It’s comfort food. They skimp on the shrimp and prosciutto though, which is kind of what would make this a bit special…without it it’s just chicken penne with cream sauce. The sauce is just your standard cream sauce with some melted Parm cheese.
    • This is something you could easily whip up at home. Nothing special, just a chicken alfredo.
  • Lobster Ravioli 2/6
    • Lobster-filled tarragon pasta topped with sauteed shrimp, asparagus, tomatoes and lemon butter sauce.
    • I was pretty disappointed. The description sounds amazing but it was poorly executed and they jeopardized so many ingredients in order to meet the cost…and the cost of wasn’t cheap at $15.99US. I could still eat it but it was not nearly as good as it should have and could have been. Even for a family style chain they could have done better and I expected more.
    • The ravioli stuffing was a rough chop of ingredients and was really inconsistent. Some had lobster, some had crab, some had little stuffing. I don’t even know what I was eating – it tastes like crab meat mixed with some other mushy filler ingredients. Once in a while you would hit a random ravioli with a random piece of lobster in it.
    • The tarragon pasta tasted like regular pasta.
    • Sauteed shrimps were frozen baby shrimps.
    • The sauce tastes like melted butter thickened with cream. The recipe is probably that basic too.


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