South Beach Diet Phase 1 at Carraba's Italian Grill
Even though Carraba's Italian Grill is a chain restaurant, meaning there are lots of pasta and pizza dishes, there are plenty of options for anyone following Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet. The fact that "Grill" is in the name means there are lots of nice grilled meat entrees, but there are also a good amount of appetizers and salads at Carraba's that fit the bill. Here is what we came up with for those options:
Calamari Richardo--Calamari served with spicy Italian pepper and lemon butter sauce. Ask for the sauce on the side if possible and use it sparingly.
Cozze in Bianco--Canadian Cove mussels are steamed in white wine, basil, and lemon butter.
Shrimp Scampi--Sauteed shrimp with garlic, white wine, herbs and lemon butter. It's served with garlic toast for dipping, which you can unfortunately ask them to omit.
House, Italian, or Caesar Side Salads are available, with or without blue cheese crumbles. For dressings, stick to low-carb options such as ranch, blue cheese, or oil & vinegar.
Tomato Caprese--This is Phase 1 gold. Ripe tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, topped with basil and olive oil, and served with pesto sauce on the side.
Insalata Fiorucci--Mixed field greens are tossed with marinated artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, and grilled eggplant in a vinaigrette (ask for it on the side) and it's topped with a hazelnut goat cheese medallion.
Insalata Carrabba--Mixed field greens with mozzarella and romano cheese, kalamata olives, tomatoes, carrots, celery and red onions, tossed with vinaigrette and topped with grilled chicken. Avoid the carrots and this one is a winner as well.
Insalata Carrabba Caesar--A Caesar salad topped with parmesan cheese and either grilled chicken or shrimp. As with all Caesars on Phase 1, avoid croutons and ask for the dressing on the side.
Insalata Johnny Rocco--Mixed field greens with grilled shrimp and scallops, roasted red peppers, olives and ricotta salata cheese, and tossed in vinaigrette.
All of the entrees at Carraba's are served with a side salad or soup, and a side dish. Just make sure you choose the salad over soup, and make your side a vegetable instead of potatoes or pasta.
Chicken Bryan--Grilled chicken breast topped with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and a basil lemon butter sauce.
Chicken Marsala--Grilled chicken breast topped with mushrooms, prosciutto and Marsala wine sauce.
Pollo Rosa Maria--Grilled chicken breast stuffed with fontina cheese and prosciutto, and topped with mushrooms and a basil lemon butter sauce.
Grilled Salmon--Fresh grilled salmon is served with the Chef's sauce of the day. Just make sure that sauce is something that is SBD Phase 1 friendly.
Sirloin Marsala--Grilled sirloin steak is topped with mushrooms, prosciutto and Marsala wine sauce.
Chicken Gratella--Grilled chicken breast basted with olive oil and herbs.
Filet Fiorentina--8 oz. center cut tenderloin seasoned and grilled.
(note: those last two entrees are served with two sides, so if there is only one good option such as steamed vegetables, ask them to double up on those)
As with most restaurants, your best bets are water, sparking water, diet soft drinks, unsweetened iced tea, or coffee.
Also as with other restaurants, enjoy a cup of coffee, then have your SBD-friendly dessert such as ricotta creme or sugar free gelatin at home.