THERE is a certain foodie snobbery around chain restaurants but, when it comes to getting good value for money, there’s little point in turning your nose up at Frankie and Benny’s.
A few years ago, I wouldn’t have dreamt of suggesting a precious evening out should be spent surrounded by fake Italian-American decor, with Frank Sinatra blasting out of the speakers on a loop and having to dodge meatballs thrown by the over-excited child at the next table.
But a few years ago I did not have a child in tow and competing pressures on my bank account, so here I was with wife and daughter staring at the menu outside the Ocean Terminal branch, wondering where it all went wrong.
The experience, as it turns out, could not have been more different.
We were attended to promptly and shown to a quiet table with a highchair for the wee one. She immediately set to work on the free colouring and puzzle book which, while a little too advanced for a 16-month-old, nonetheless kept her admirably quiet.
The waitress couldn’t have been more attentive, especially to the needs of her youngest diner. The value of talking directly to a child and making eye contact cannot not be underestimated.
As for the food, no complaints. It does exactly what it says. Good quality, quickly served, reasonably priced Italian-American fare. If you remember to visit its website beforehand to print out a £10 off voucher, it’s even better.
So, while it might not be top of the list for a quiet romantic meal, when it comes to a family meal out, it’s not to be sniffed at.
Frankie & Benny’s, Edinburgh Ocean Terminal, 0131-555 4803