Frankie & Benny's - The Orient
The Orient, Trafford Centre, Manchester, 0844 683 0
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According to the story, Frankie Giuliani was ten years old when, with his Mamma and Poppa, he left Sicily and landed at Ellis Island, New York in 1924. It was no surprise when the family opened a restaurant, everybody helping with the building and the cooking in equal measure - each of them had a favourite dish to contribute. In 1953 Poppa retired and Frankie and Benny took over the business, combining the best of popular American food with traditional Italian dishes. The rest, as they say, is history... The instantly recognisable red neon sign and warm inviting interior will ease you into the Frankie & Benny's experience before you've even taken your coat off. Buzzing with the sound of lively chatter, this restaurant attracts everybody from couples and parties of friends out for good times and great food, to families treating themselves to a night out - children are extremely well catered for, with their own menu, activities and games. The choice is so massive that making a decision is a difficult task. To start, try the tiger prawn skewer, which features four large shell-on tiger prawns served with fresh rocket and a sweet chilli dip. The mozzarella and tomato salad was light, fresh and drizzled with olive oil, served with warm garlic dough balls, rocket and seasoned with cracked black pepper. Magnificent mains include pastas, house and speciality pizzas, burgers, grills, calzone, 21-day-aged steaks, salads, sandwiches and specials, with fish and vegetarian dishes aplenty - the Mediterranean vegetable risotto will satisfy even a devout carnivore. To finish, why not share The Godfather, Frankie & Benny's iconic dessert - a mountain of warm chocolate brownies, crunchy chocolate maltballs, red berries and cream. Topped with more cream, lashings of toffee and chocolate sauce, and finished with toffee crunch, I would like to thank 'Mamma' personally for thinking up such a wickedly moreish pud. In typical Stateside fashion, service at Frankie & Benny's is second to none. Nothing is too much trouble for the obliging and friendly staff. So loosen your tie, relax, settle into your booth and relish the wonderful feeling of a very satisfied appetite.