Restaurant Eggplant Parmesan Ranked Worst To Best, According To Customers

Ideal for those who enjoy the combination of savory eggplant, tangy tomato sauce, and melted cheese, eggplant Parmesan is both delicious and hearty. This Italian classic comes with layers of sliced eggplant, usually coated in breadcrumbs and lightly fried until crispy and golden. Once assembled with tomato sauce and cheese, the dish is baked in the oven until the cheese turns a rich golden color.

Although chicken Parmesan is more commonly found on the menus of Italian restaurants, it is eggplant Parmesan that inspired the creation of its more famous sibling. Called melanzane alla parmigiana in Italian, eggplant parm probably dates back to the early 19th century. The first documented recipe for the dish, dated 1839, instructs: "You will fry the eggplants and then arrange them in a baking pan layer by layer with the cheese, basil and stew broth or with tomato sauce and you will let them stew" (via La Cucina Italiana). Eggplant Parmesan arrived in the U.S. with Italian immigrants who quickly discovered that chicken in North America was much cheaper than in Italy and incorporated the protein into the dish.

Whether you're a seasoned eggplant Parmesan enthusiast or completely new to the dish, there're plenty of restaurants out there that offer the Italian classic. With this in mind, here're some of the best chain restaurants that offer eggplant Parmesan, as rated by customers!

10. Olive Garden

In 2019, Olive Garden made waves when it unveiled a 11.5-inch-long chicken Parmesan alongside other giant entrees such as a 12-ounce meatball. Although these items have since been removed from the menu, the chain continues to offer regular-sized chicken Parmesan and eggplant Parmesan dishes. The Olive Garden's Eggplant Parmigiana comes with breaded and lightly fried eggplant slices, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese. The dish is typically served with a side of spaghetti, providing a hearty meal for those who appreciate Italian cuisine.

The eggplant Parmigiana at Olive Garden has left reviewers divided, with some saying that it was cooked to perfection and others calling it flavorless. Reviewer Micheline Maynard from The Takeout is impressed with the size of the dish, calling the portion enormous and suitable for two people. Another diner agrees, noting that the parm was both filling and very satisfying. On a negative note, some have called the dish horrible, hard, and low on breading. Perhaps one reviewer sums up the vegetarian dish best, saying, "It was alright.. I wouldn't get that again."

9. The Spaghetti Warehouse

There must have been a time when the eggplant Parmesan disappeared from The Spaghetti Warehouse menu. However, the chain's management clearly felt that there was a need to bring back the "old favorite" because it reappeared as a part of the company's gastronomic lineup in March 2019. And while the menu doesn't go into specifics, we do know that the dish is served with pasta.

The Spaghetti Warehouse's Eggplant Parmigiana has sparked an array of reactions from diners. One reviewer says they love the dish while another points out that the eggplant was sliced too thickly and not properly cooked. Additionally, there seems to be a split in customer preference between the parm and the restaurant's spaghetti, with no clear consensus on which is better. For instance, one reviewer says: "Get the spaghetti, it's yummy with plenty of sauce choices. I also had the eggplant parmesan, it was like a greasy plate." Another diner disagrees with this assessment, saying, "Their spaghetti isn't anything to write home about. Their eggplant parm is very good, as is the lasagna."

8. Bertucci's Italian Restaurant

Bertucci's Eggplant Parmesan defies convention in that it isn't breaded. Instead, the layers of thickly cut eggplant are roasted and topped with marinated tomatoes, marinara sauce, and a blend of Pecorino Romano and mozzarella cheese. To ensure a little variety, the dish is served with spaghetti. The chain's chef, Rosario, explains the philosophy behind the parm's recipe in a Facebook post: "Our roasted eggplant is second to none. I feel like I vindicate the eggplant. People are used to fried eggplant, but when you roast it in the brick oven, it's so light and you'll love it. When I die, the eggplant is going to deliver me to Heaven!"

While some have praised the restaurant's take on the iconic Italian dish, others haven't been as impressed. The final verdict seems to depend on whether patrons like their parm fried or roasted. One satisfied reviewer says: "[The Eggplant Parmesan is] one of the reasons we go to Bertucci's. Love, love the eggplant. It's the best. No fried breading on it." On a negative note, another diner calls the dish "unappetizing," explaining, "I personally got the Eggplant Parmesan and was pretty disappointed that it was not fried how it traditionally is in that dish. Instead, it seemed to just be broiled with cheese on top."

7. Patrizia's

Patrizia's restaurant takes its eggplant seriously, serving it as a part of numerous dishes as well as a pizza topping. The chain also offers its Eggplant Parmigiana in two sizes — family style as an appetizer and standard. Topped with cheese and tomato sauce and baked in a brick oven, the parm comes with a side of grilled veggies, so you can feel a little healthier while indulging in this classic Italian comfort food.

Patrizia's Eggplant Parmigiana has been a topic of diverse opinions among customers, garnering both accolades and criticisms. On the upside, one impressed reviewer praises the dish, saying, "No one makes it better than Patrizia's!!" Several other customers describe the vegetarian classic as delicious, fresh and plentiful, and "sooooooo good!!!!" On a less positive note, a couple of diners have complained about the parm sauce, with one saying that it's overly dense and another saying that it drowned out the flavors of eggplant and cheese.

6. Buca di Beppo

Buca di Beppo's team says that it won't judge you if you happen to finish the Eggplant Parmigiana in less than five minutes. Yes, the staff believes it's that delicious. Made with Roma tomatoes, marinara sauce, mozzarella, and basil, the chain's take on the dish is slightly different from the breadcrumb version of the classic many of us find familiar. Given the diverse views about the layered menu item, the final call on this somewhat unusual rendition of the culinary creation is still out.

Buca di Beppo's take on Eggplant Parmigiana has elicited a range of reactions from diners. On the positive side, one reviewer applauds the dish, saying, "The eggplant parmigiana was absolutely delicious! Some of the best. Would definitely come back for that!" Several other customers agree, saying that the dish is yummy, the best on the planet, and outstanding. However, not all reviews of the dish have been as enthusiastic, with some diners calling the parm hard, rubbery, and chewy. Some other customers have complained that the dish lacked flavor and was overdone.

5. Carrabba's Italian Grill

It seems that Carrabba's Italian Grill removed Eggplant Parmesan from its menu some time ago before reintroducing it in 2019. Diners are still in disagreement about whether the chain's most recent take on the dish lives up to the original. While we can't be sure what went into the first version of the restaurant's parm, the current rendition of the dish features breaded layers of eggplant, pomodoro sauce, mozzarella, and Romano cheese. The dish comes with one side of your choice, such as sauteed broccoli, grilled asparagus, or garlic mashed potatoes.

Some patrons have welcomed the return of Carrabba's Eggplant Parmesan with open arms, praising the revamped recipe for its flavors. For instance, one happy customer raves about the dish, saying, "They finally brought back eggplant [Parmesan]. They made it years ago but it wasn't very good, now it's perfect. They gave me four large slices with some penne pasta, I only ate half of it and had the other half for lunch the next day." However, not everybody agrees with this assessment, with one customer saying: "The old eggplant [Parmesan] was a billion times better. This new one was no good. I was so excited to finally see it back on the menu and was very disappointed." What can we say? You'll never know if you don't try it.

4. Piesanos Stone Fired Pizza

Eggplant lovers are in for a treat at Piesanos Stone Fired Pizza. Aside from its Eggplant Parmesan with marinara sauce, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella, the Florida chain offers several other aubergine-based dishes. These include an eggplant pizza and an eggplant Parmesan sub. There's also the Take N Bake Eggplant Parmesan, a cold entree-sized dish that diners can take home and prepare in the comfort of their own kitchen.

Piesanos' Eggplant Parmesan has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers. One enthusiastic diner calls the eggplant parm their favorite dish, elaborating, "Piesanos makes the best Eggplant Parm I've ever had!" Other reviewers also compliment the dish, saying that it's "delicious and generous" in size, excellent, and "the best!" On a negative note, one reviewer complains that the quality of the dish has deteriorated over time, explaining, "Shortly after Piesanos first opened, the eggplant parm was delicious, first-class. On my next visit the eggplant parm was okay, but not as good as before. My April 2022 eggplant — a large portion — was hot, but not very good, too much breading."

3. Johnny Carino's

There's little doubt that the Johnny Carino's franchise has been struggling with two bankruptcy filings in the past decade. And the numbers don't lie. There are 32 Johnny Carino's locations across the U.S. as of December 2023. This number once stood at over 150. Although the chain has seen better days, its Eggplant Parmesan is doing surprisingly well. Served with spaghetti and tomato sauce, the dish is breaded, lightly fried, and topped with tomato sauce and melted cheese.

Most diners compliment the chain's Eggplant Parmesan for its taste and portion size. One reviewer says: "I ordered the eggplant parmesan. I liked it. I'm picky about my eggplant parmesan, but this one was perfectly breaded. The sauce was a little spicy, so be careful with the crushed red pepper. I also love that they have fresh parmesan cheese. None of that crumbled jar one." Several other diners also praise the dish, with one saying that it's one of the best eggplant parms in Austin and another going as far as calling it the best parm they have ever eaten.

2. Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano

From traditional dishes such as Lasagna Bolognese and Lump Crab Cakes to more modern takes on Italian fare such as Braised Short Rib Ravioli, Biaggi's offers something for all tastes. Listed under the "Classic Italian Entrees" section of the menu, the chain's Eggplant Parmesan is a breaded and lightly fried dish smothered in marinara sauce and an Italian cheese blend. For those with a big hunger, the culinary creation comes with a side of Three-Cheese Alfredo Rigatini made with rigatoni pasta and a creamy sauce.

Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano's Eggplant Parmesan has earned accolades from reviewers for its exceptional flavor. One customer praises the aubergine dish, saying, "[The Eggplant Parmesan] was fantastic. The side pasta came in a wonderful red cream sauce and the eggplant was cooked perfectly." Another diner recommends the parm as an amazing vegetarian option, while others refer to the dish as their favorite, superb, and delicious. I think we get the picture.

1. Bravo! Italian Kitchen

Bravo! Italian Kitchen is the quintessential example of an Italian restaurant that serves classic dishes with a contemporary twist. A standout example of this is the chain's Veal Parmesan — a unique offering since most other Italian restaurants typically serve versions of Parmesan with either eggplant or chicken. On the more traditional side, Bravo! Italian Kitchen's Eggplant Parmesan features slices of eggplant, coated in breadcrumbs and fried until golden and crispy. These slices are then layered with a rich marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese and baked to perfection. The dish is accompanied by a side of herb linguine.

The chain's Eggplant Parmesan has received glowing feedback from online reviewers. "Wowzers!" exclaimed one diner who tried this culinary creation, adding, "It was incredible. Crispy. Flavorful, Beautiful. ... What a treat." Other reviewers also comment on the generous size of the dish, with one customer saying, "The portions are big and satisfying. [...] I had to take half of [the dish] home but I'm okay with that, lol." Additionally, some other reviewers describe the Italian classic as awesome and their favorite item.


To create a ranking of the best and worst eggplant Parmesan dishes served at chain restaurants, we conducted a thorough analysis of customer feedback from popular sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Facebook.