Restaurant of the Week: Johnny Carino’s

carinos

Johnny Carino’s, 12240 Foothill Blvd. (at Day Creek), Rancho Cucamonga

Carino’s is an Italian chain with a location near Victoria Gardens. I stopped in for lunch last week while I was in the ‘hood.

It wasn’t packed — is any place packed for lunch these days? — but there were several full tables. The greeter, who turned out to be the manager, sat me in the bar area. There’s a lot of wood and a moderately classy feel to the decor.

A basket of doughy hot rolls was brought out, as was a plate of roasted garlic and olive oil for dipping. I ordered the salad/sandwich combo, getting a Caesar salad and half an Italian meatball panini ($8.99).

The salad was blah, but the sandwich, loaded with split meatballs, provolone and marinara, was inhaled. Housemade potato chips, not bad, accompanied the sandwich.

Johnny Carino’s is perhaps slightly better than Olive Garden, although your mileage may vary. Find the lunch and dinner menus here.

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  • VALARIE OOOO

    We ate there all the time, until a bad experience made us never go back.

    My hubby and I ordered our lunch and enjoyed our rolls. The table behind us had a complainer that kept sending their plate back to the kitchen.

    We watched, and those returned plates were left to sit, and then brought to our table as OUR LUNCH.

    Yuck!

    We got somebody else’s returned food for our lunch.

    Just because you can see the chefs cooking, doesn’t mean they all play by the rules! Nasty servers!

  • Josh

    Next time you’re there get the skilletini. They’ll ask you what kind of meat you want, you should say both (chicken and sausage). It’s delicious! Make sure you’re hungry though; it’s a lot of food.

  • Kristin McConnell

    As an Olive Garden addict, I disagree. I tried (Johnny) Carino’s a few times with an open mind only to find their pasta waaaaaayyyyy too salty. But, hey, if you found a great sandwich, great!! :)

  • http://blogs.dailybulletin.com/rcnow Wendy Leung

    You said it was slightly better than Olive Garden, which doesn’t tell me much. How would you compare it to Macaroni Grill? (Or would you compare it to Macaroni Grill?)

    [Compared to RC's Macaroni Grill, Carino's is still open. But I liked MG better. -- DA]

  • Bob Terry

    Carino’s is acceptable if you’re close to the Vic and want Italian. But hands down the best Italian restaurant in Rancho is Antonino’s … you know, the former Antinori’s, and other names, but the same owner on Foothill & Vineyard.

    [Originally Chianti, as I recall, until the Chianti people complained. -- DA]

  • Scott in R.C.

    If MG was located in the Carino’s location, MG would still be there, too.