In our part of the country we seem to have a lot of Chain Restaurants specializing in Italian dished, or at least an Americanization of same. That's not to say we don't have some outstanding chef or family run, true Italian eateries, especially in St. Louis and other locales.
Chains such as Carrabba's Italian Grill, The Olive Garden and The Macaroni Grill can be found most places and, in my estimation, do a fair to good job.
Last night we went to one of the Carrabba's in the Greater Cincinnati Area. Several people had told us that this chain was a bit above the others. It certainly is OK and probably, measurably, better than The Olive Garden but of the three I would choose The Macaroni Grill.
All have full bar service, are handicapped accessible and serve meaningful portions. Some portions are so large they can be split between two or three and then some still taken home. I have tried several Pastas with either Shrimp or Crab while Marilyn usually goes for a Pasta Bolognese or plain Angle Hair with the same sauce or Meat Balls. All have been well prepared, served warm to hot and priced in the $12 to $16 range.
From my point of view the chains do a decent to a very good job. They are a good spot in the neighborhood or when away from home.