40% Agree This Restaurant Has The Best Free Bread

When diners sit down at a restaurant and start to look over the menu, a rumbling stomach can come on suddenly when looking over all the options, building up a voracious appetite that simply can't wait for the entree — no matter if it's a juicy steak, bowl of pasta, or even a plate of fried shrimp. As the server comes to the table with a basket of bread, you can almost hear the inner cheers with that first whiff. Carefully unwrapping the food gift, the warm bread begs to be broken. And, even though mom's words of "don't fill up on that bread" linger, that crunchy crust with a pillowy center is tempting and the verifiable start to any meal out.

Mental Floss published an article that speculated why some restaurants choose to serve free bread. From dining traditions to keeping guests from becoming "hangry," these ideas are well understood. More likely, the bread basket can be a welcome gift to the table, and an invitation of hospitality. No matter the reason, though, some people have come to expect it to start the meal, and many restaurants now oblige.

When it comes to weighing which one has the best free bread, however, it can be a heated debate. Although some breads may pair well with particular food choices and others are just delicious on their own, ranking that perfect combination of flour and water can be trickier than just creating the perfect sourdough starter. So, before choosing a restaurant for that next meal out, you may want to know which loaf rises to the top.

Restaurant diners are craving Olive Garden's breadsticks

Certain restaurants have iconic free bread choices. Putting aside the Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits, because they are a biscuit after all, getting a read on the restaurant with the best bread is not an easy task. From flavor to texture to just how well it sops up the extra sauce on a plate all must be considered. According to a Mashed survey, 609 respondents found that Olive Garden's breadsticks reigned supreme, earning 40.23% of the votes, likely due to a combination of its garlicky flavor and the unlimited quantities.

Next in line for the best free bread contenders were: Texas Roadhouse with 26.11% of the vote, Outback Steakhouse with 14.45%, Logan's Roadhouse with 8.54%, and Longhorn Steakhouse with 7.55% of the vote. Spoon University also shares that there are plenty of other restaurants that serve up some carby goodness with every meal. From that crunchy baguette that comes alongside Panera's soup to Cracker Barrel's choice of bread sides, there are many options to be broken at the table. And, while you devour this latest food finding, another question is figuratively left at the bottom of bread basket: Is there really a best way to keep those bread crumbs off your shirt?