Romano's Macaroni Grill - El Cerrito

3.7
67 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 67 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.7based on recent ratings
3.7
food
3.6
service
3.6
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
56% of people would recommend it to a friend
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RU
1 review
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 3

The food is nice but I have some difficulty conmunicating with the waiter because of his accent.

A
1 review
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 2

Customer service sucks, waiter was not friendly. Service has been downhill in the past few years. Are they short-staffed and overworked? I still tipped well and enjoyed most of the food, but the waiters should be trained on common courtesy and making it right for the guest. 10 years ago this place was awesome. What happened?? Lack of training, management, no professionalism. Seats were greasy and had crumbs. Not blaming the staff but someone should go around checking the cleanliness before seating folks.

SD
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love it here everyone like family as it's close to our neighborhood. I see people still dressed from church coming for din we with family and friends.
Even solo people feel part of everyone.

s
1 review
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

once everything was confirmed, it was excellent. all employees were pleasant and very accommodating. it our pleasure to host our event celebration there and I would recommend it for future events. We greatly appreciate you!

JM
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love their food. One of our favorite places. Server was excellent.

AC
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

We enjoy the food very much! I felt sorry for the very reduced number of servers for the amount of people during the 7:30 dinner time. Our server came in very seldom to our table, bringing items little by little. The salad came in close to our finishing the main entry and the ice tea I ordered to start came literally after I finished dinner. That was not so hot.
Other than that the experience was good.

OT
1 review
Dined on May 30, 2019
Overall 5food 3service 5ambience 3

Had a really great time watching the NBA game. The bar was really into it without being too disruptive.
I ordered food and it wasn’t what I ordered but the waitress apologized and had another dish back out to me within 10 minutes.
Great service and food. The bread was a bit hard but it is AMAZING!!

A
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was outstanding. We haven’t been here for a while and we were surprised to experience excellent food and even better cocktails. Try the Green Gimlet! 👌🏼

z
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 3

There were 5 in our party celebrating my son's masters graduation
We were seated at approx 645pm. The waiter at first did not offer us bread, then later said bread would be coming up very soon. It did not. It was approx. 20 min after we sat down that the bread was served.

It took 20-25 minutes for 3 of our orders to be delivered to the table. 10 min. later the other 2 orders still were not served. The waiter kept telling us the 2 orders (one, just a salad) would be up soon. This went on for a further 10 min. Meantime the 3 orders already served were getting cold. The manager was called and she took over. Another 10 mins. and she replaced the three orders with new meals as the others were by now cold. Another 5 mins went by before the final 2 orders were delivered to the table.

This was supposed to be a very happy experience which turned out to be anything but happy.
Very disappointed in your restaurant and staff.

David

KS
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 3

We were a large party of 12 celebrating a graduation on an early Saturday evening. Some of us arrived early and were seated immediately, so kudos for that. The remainder of our party arrived shortly with two unexpected people. The wait staff added another two top at our request without complaint. Bread and water came immediately. That's pretty much the extent of good service for the evening.

Though we were given menus immediately, the waiter didn't take our drink order for quite awhile. Delivery of the drinks took another long stretch of time, as did taking our food order. We waited at least 30 minutes for the food.

One member of our party who was highly allergic to nuts and several other foods, emphatically asked for those things to be excluded from her dinner salad. She confirmed with the waiter when the salad arrived that those items had been omitted. They weren't. Fortunately, she spotted a walnut buried in the salad before she ate it. After sifting through the salad, she found none of the items had been held. The restaurant agreed to bring her a pasta dish as a replacement.

Getting our check and paying the bill also took an unusually long period of time.

The food was passable and the restaurant had the capacity for large crowds but the staff seemed ill prepared for a major crowd. A smaller party might have a better experience but I doubt it.

CC
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on May 17, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

The food and service were terrible. After waiting for a while at our table, we had to request for service. My daughter’s dinner arrived 10 minutes after everyone else’s. My chicken was dry and pasta lacked flavor. My husband’s chicken was in a bowl of unappetizing sauce along with three small potato wedges that he said tasted like they were old. At the beginning of the meal, I asked the host if we could get a piece and of chocolate cake for the birthday. He said, “We got you,” and it never came.

1
San Francisco
24 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Great way to spend Mother’s Day!

OT
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

It was Mother’s Day so I knew it would be busy, it was ridiculously busy. We had a reservation for 5 at 3:30pm. They didn’t seat us until 4pm, it’s Mother’s Day, it was ok. The part that bugged me was that we didn’t even get a server to come near us for 45 minutes once we sat down. No water even. Then when they came with water, a glass fell on the floor, whole puddle was next to me for about 30 minutes, no one came to even wipe it up. Our drinks came sporadically, even an hour late for my sister in law, the food came out an hour after we sat down. I know it was Mother’s Day, but come on, at least acknowledge us, bring water, do better. I will never go there again. Terrible service.

FO
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 4

We had to wait an unimaginable amount of time just to get water, not to mention our food. I ordered an alcoholic beverage and never received it. The waitress had the nerve to bring me a bill with the beverage on there. It took her another 20mins to correct that mistake. I will never dine here again.

AL
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 2

I think that your servers should be more personable - waiting to hear ALL of what you have to say instead of partial hearing and running off

J
1 review
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Waiter is friendly. You can draw something on the table.

M
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 3

We had reservations for four and got seated quickly however wedid not see our waiter until 20 min later! Our drinks took another 15 minutes to arrive and our food another40 minutes!! I ordered the Milano pasta which was too watery with no sauce. Such a bad experience!

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

Food was a bit salty, dessert was slightly frozen. When we told the waiter, he just said oh.

B
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Good range of choices on the menu. Professional service, pleasant ambiance.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 4ambience 4

I made this reservation as part of a brunch club. Their website advertises brunch on Saturday, but when we arrived, the server told us the kitchen didn't want to serve brunch food. The food we did get was amazing, but it wasn't what we wanted.

l
1 review
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food , great drinks, our waiter was so professional and friendly. He handle our party of 5 with grace and excellence...

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.

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

Good service and food

RC
San Francisco
30 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.

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.

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.

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

Food quality was not as expected.

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.

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

It was the worst service ever!!!!!

SD
San Francisco
4 reviews
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.

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.

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.

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!

MS
San Francisco
13 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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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