Give amore, receive more at Carrabba's

Becky Oberg's picture
Get a $20 gift card for every $100 you buy at Carrabba's

If you plan on giving restaurant gift cards to your loved ones this year, Carrabba's may be an offer you can't refuse. For every $100 in Gift Cards you buy online, you'll receive a $20 Amore Bonus Card free.

"This holiday, give a taste of Italy and get a taste for yourself with a Carrabba's Gift Card," reads an e-mail to the Italian chain's Amici Club. The offer is valid until December 31. The Amore Bonus Cards are valid from January 2 through February 10, 2014.

According to Carrabba's, you can customize your gift card with your favorite photo, or you can use one the restaurant provides. Designs for all occasions are available.

There are some restrictions on the Amore Bonus Card. It can not be used to cover alcohol, tax or tips. It is not valid with any other discount offer. There is a limit of one card per table, per visit.

The million dollar question--make that the $100 question--"Is it worth it?" It depends on you. It is a good deal, but the price may put it out of some peoples' reach. A more practical offer would have been $10 for $50 or even $5 for $25. In addition, the inability to combine it with other deals is a turn-off.

But say you do have the money and desire. What foods are good? Again, it depends on you.

Do you like wood-burning grilled dishes? Then try the Chicken Bryan, which is "topped with goat cheese, sundried tomatoes and a basil lemon butter sauce". Named for Bryan, Texas, where the Carrabba family settled after emigrating from Sicily, the Chicken Bryan is gluten-free. It is served with either a cup of soup or a side salad, along with your choice of cavatappi amatriciana, garlic mashed potatoes or the vegetable of the day.

Do you like Marsala? There is a gluten-free Sirloin Marsala available, which is topped with Lombardo Marsala wine sauce, mushrooms and prosciutto. In addition to this rare treat, there are Marsala dishes made from chicken, pork and veal. They are served with either a cup of soup or a side salad, along with your choice of cavatappi amatriciana, garlic mashed potatoes or the vegetable of the day.

Are you a pasta fan? Several stuffed pastas are available, such as Lasange, Manicotti, and Mezzaluna ("Half moon ravioli with chicken, ricotta and spinach in tomato cream sauce"). These come with your choice of soup or a side salad. Do you prefer a more traditional pasta? Then you might be interested in the Linguine Pescatore (mussels, shrimp and scallops in a spicy marinara sauce), Spaghetti and Pasta Carrabba (fettuccine alfredo with grilled chicken, sautéed mushrooms and peas). These dishes are served with either soup or salad, and your choice of cavatappi amatriciana, garlic mashed potatoes or the vegetable of the day.

So if you have the money, it's a good deal, and there is a lot of excellent food to choose from. I personally like the wide variety of the gluten-free menu; my nephew has a gluten intolerance which makes eating out tricky. So the deal is definitely worth checking out--it's just expensive, but it might be perfect for some people.