Romano's Macaroni Grill - El Cerrito

3.6
46 reviews
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$30 and under
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Italian
Inspired by Italian trattoria cuisine, culture and conversation, Romano's Macaroni Grill believes every meal is a chance to celebrate and toast to life, pasta and of course, vino! Every meal is started off right -- with a bottle of wine at the center of the table, encouraging guests to pour as they please while exploring the extensive menu of handcrafted Italian classics. Macaroni Grill restaurants feature an open kitchen that allows guests to see its fresh ingredients and preparation techniques that blend Italian traditions with progressive culinary inspiration, in a polished casual atmosphere.
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What 46 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.6based on recent ratings
3.9
food
3.7
service
3.7
ambience
3.7
value
Noise · Moderate
71% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 2ambience 2

Food was slow to come out and only 3 of 4 dishes came out. Had to wait 10 more minutes for final entree. One dish had clearly been sitting for a while with the sauce congealed at bottom of dish. Very disappointing experience, poor value to boot.

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SD
San Francisco
28 reviews
Dined on March 4, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Good service and food

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RC
San Francisco
28 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 1food 4service 2ambience 1

Once again, Romano's Macaroni Grill in El Cerrito is slipping into decay and disorganization. Several years ago this problem occurred and they fixed it. Will they fix it again? Some issues encountered:

- Walked in slightly early for a 7:15P reservation. Hostess said "go sit down until 7:15."
- Upholstery in booth was cracked, peeling, and dirty.
- We asked for a booth. Hostess said it needed cleaning and please wait right here. Service person went over, put new paper on a dirty table, put down napkin/silverware on stains coming through paper, and then finally remembered to take dirty glasses off of table.
- Main course took 30 minutes to arrive after salads had been removed. Restaurant was not busy enough to justify the long wait. Fortunately the food was hot so the problem appeared to be in the kitchen.
- The plumbing fixtures in the men's room were coming off of the counter. The faucet was so loose I thought it was going to leak. Everything needed maintenance and cleaning.

I usually have a great experience at Macaroni Grill in El Cerrito. The staff is very friendly and efficient. However, it appears that management has begun to let things slide and is not staying on top of the important items such as maintenance and upkeep. They also need to be very aware of the dining experience of the customer every day. As I said, this restaurant went through these issues several years ago and, after multiple emails to the chain, took action to spruce the place up and improve the overall experience. It appears to be time for another visit from the district manager and the inspectors.

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EF
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great tasting food and reasonably priced. Good pours on the wine too. Just a little too much broth in the lamb shank and too much oil on the pesto pasta.

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JG
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 3

Food was good! A little better quality than I expected, and an extremely friendly staff. They got busy toward 7, and were a little understaffed, but they stayed professional and friendly.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 1

Food quality was not as expected.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

It was Valentine's day, so they were busy, but service was incredibly slow, for which I fault the kitchen not our server. Stuffed mushroom appetizer was good. One entree was tasteless, the other too salty. We have enjoyed meals there in the past so I'm hoping this was a holiday fluke.

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J
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 2

It was the worst service ever!!!!!

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SD
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We werent able to go on Valentine's as I was sick but we went Saturday instead. Julio our waiter is always first class!
My boyfriend tried the New meat loaf and I had salmon. We followed with the pumpkin cheesecake that is light and delicious.

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TL
1 review
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 3

Slow service, meals did not arrive to the table at same time. Had to wait for chicken parm. Seemed overpriced for the serving size of the pasta dishes. Chicken parm was very good. Would liked to have seen the price of the drink special for the evening before ordering. Hesitant to return to Romano's in the future.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 4

Appetizers and starters came all at once then entrees before the chance to finish those, food good but timing rushed and not spaced out.

This is something we have experienced here before, not sure what they can do to not make the diners not feel rushed and have to make the choice to abandon the appetizers/starters or allow the entrees to get cold.

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FS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were a party of 14 and our server, Minnie was so attentive and thoughtful! Food was served hot and so ONO! Thank you!

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MS
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on December 12, 2018
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 2

Service was terrible. Server was very inattentive and the restaurant was not even busy. How are you going to greet the table that sat 15 minutes after we did first? Served them bread and walk past us without even looking at us and muttering "Be right with you." and then come back like 10 minutes later? I have not had such bad experience in a very long time. I would not recommend nor go back to this place again.

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EP
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had great service and the food was awesome. It was pretty quiet when we were there Monday night so we probably made most of the noise! No one seemed to mind and everyone was super cheery!

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NC
1 review
Dined on December 5, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

don't wait until somebody actually orders something from the dessert menu to let them know you're out of that item.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 3

We went there for Thanksgiving and they were very crowed, which might account for the laxness with which our table was waited on ...
They forgot the salad and soup...included in the Thanksgiving meal, but they did deduct this from the bill.
The wait staff was pleasant enough they were just busy running around...very long wait for the food and bill ... the dinner, however, was very good.

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Y
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 2

The waiter stuck his nose in my drink. The chicken was clearly frozen, and microwaved. The pasta tasted as if it was sitting out. It was a terrible experience.

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MA
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 5ambience 1

Service was poor. The food was poor in quality (taste) and not worth the price. The cheese pizza was lacking in taste.

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NT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

A great place for families to get together and enjoy the good food and have fun!

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MK
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 3

It's been a while since I visited a Romano's, but unfortunately this trip did not impress me. Food and drinks were decent, but unremarkable. Given the other options in the marketplace, both for quality and value, I will not be revisiting a Romano's anytime soon.

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RC
San Francisco
32 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 1

I would not recommend this local restaurant because of poor service and food.

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OT
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Terrible service. Found a hair in soup. Dip was unappetizing.

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g
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on October 19, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 2

Every time we come here they mess up our order and forget to cook an entire entree. We will not be back it’s disappointing because the food is good.

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J
San Francisco
53 reviews
Dined on October 16, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

service was phenomenal . just perfect she was wonderful . A couple of GF and I came here on Tuesday night, the place itself has a ton of open space. Everything tasted so fresh . gem in the neighborhood

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DC
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

They tend to be a busy restaurant, but sometimes our waiter would disappear for minutes on end. I wished he had interacted with us a little more and not left us feeling like just another meal.

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MS
1 review
Dined on September 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Although I like all of the food I've had there, my very favorite is their lamb chops. They are done as you order them with the correct doneness. The veggies are grilled and delicious. For an extra $2.50 you can get bottomless soup or salad. Can't beat this. HOWEVER, yesterday I read that they have replaced the lamb chops with a lamb shank.....NOT THE SAME AT ALL.

I hope they put the lamb chops back on the menu so my friends and I can go again.

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MP
1 review
Dined on September 28, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 2

Our soup & salad took over an hour to come out of the kitchen? No explanations, never saw the manager... the waiter just kept passing by the table saying it was coming out any minute.
We have been to this location many time in the past & this was an off night!

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CS
1 review
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We drive here every now and again due to the fact that he closer macaroni grill to us was shut down a few years back. Each time we've had an outstanding service experience. love this place forever

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CK
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on August 18, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Ok

But didn’t have all food made ... lasagna

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C
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 11, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

Salad was good, pizza dough was raw, service good, but have taken all my favorite dishes and appetizers off menus.. will have to think about coming back.

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MP
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had someone special I needed to spend some private booth time with over some quality Italian, nice call drinks, and a fine dessert selection.

Romano's has all that at a reasonable price.

Been going there since it opened and nothing will change.

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P
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 5, 2018
Overall 1food 3service 3ambience 3

The food and service were good, but I am very disappointed in the gift card from Macaroni Grill that I tried to use that was rejected by them. It has been weeks since I complained to their restaurant’s customer support and I have yet to recover the $50 that is due to me. This is the reason for my one star rating!

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J
1 review
Dined on June 28, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 3

Each member of our party was served at a different time. It would have been nice if there was less time between each person being served

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l
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on June 15, 2018
Overall 1food 3service 3ambience 1

I used the open table app to schedule a dinner reservation. The app was open when I made the reservation and when I showed the host at the restaurant to prove I did in fact have a reservation. I expect to get points for my use of the app. If I don’t get points I do not see the value in using the app. Please resolve this very important issue if you would like me to continue using open table to make reservations at the restaurants where I choose to dine.

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MS
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2018
Overall 2food 5service 1ambience 1

Good employees will add value to any retail/restaurant establishment. Sad to say our waiter was just not up to the standard that has been set up for Macaroni Grill. The food is amazing and the staff at the front were great, but the waiter was just not what I expected. I understand that a restaurant is a challenging and sometimes difficult place to work at, however, good customer service should always be a priority. I felt the tension and stress the waiter was having and he did not make me and my group feel welcomed at all. We had a large group of 12 and if there is a problem with large groups then the restaurant should not allow large groups. Plain and simple. We wanted to split our check between about 3 people and he sarcastically said, "I cannot split between 10 people, you can all just write the last 4 digits of your card numbers next to what you ordered". We had 12 people order different things and his response was just bizarre. Overall experience was unsatisfactory as everybody at the table felt the same tension and unwelcoming behavior of the waiter. I believe his name was Marcial, I forgot, but if being understaffed is the issue then I understand but poor customer service is never ok and we are doubting coming back in the future.

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C
San Francisco
27 reviews
Dined on June 7, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

The food and service were very good. I used to have a problem because they always brought the entree before we finished our salads. However, now that they charge for the salads, the timing is better. First the waiters order the salads and THEN they order the entrees. Glad to see that. The cocktails are good, too. The bibb & blue salad is wonderful! Reasonable prices for the entrees. I usually get the chicken with artichoke hearts and capers. Delicious.

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MG
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on May 28, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 3

My elderly mother and I dined on Memorial Day. After we ordered our drinks, it slowly became clear that there was an understaffing issue. However, no one had the good sense to simply tell us, which would've gone a long way with me. We waited 25 minutes for my mother's salad, so I asked a waiter from another section to check on it. She did. We didn't see our own waiter for at least 30 minutes after we ordered. When he finally reappeared, I asked him to level with me about the problem. He *did* cop to a staffing issue due to the holiday. I never got my soup but just decided to drop the issue. The music was mundane and too loud. The food is your basic just OK chain Italian food. Nothing great. Olive Garden might be better. I value locally grown, beautiful food, served with care. I will not be going back to the Macaroni Grill.

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C
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 3

We made a reservation for 8 people via open table for 5:30pm, when we arrived they only reserved a table for 6. They admitted they transcribed it wrong from open table, but in the end we had to wait an hour for a table of 8. There wasn't much of an apology, and they didn't give us any sort of compensation when we finally got to the table. Also, when we got to the table we asked for water right away, it took over 10 minutes to bring us water while other tables seated after us were getting water right away. And they only brought enough water for 4 people instead of the 8 we had. After we got through those bumps, the meal was pretty typical, but you expect a restaurant to try to go above and beyond when they've made a mistake. We will not be going here again.

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RS
1 review
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

We enjoyed ourselves on Mother's Day and our anniversary.

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B
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We came in late but they still got us seated in 10 minutes. It was awesome considering it was Mothers Day and the place was packed!

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