Walking through the door you are given a warm welcome from the staff whilst the décor is pleasing to the eyes. There is adequate lighting and varied seating arrangements for different party sizes which is very important for a family friendly restaurant.
Upon being seated you are handed quite a weighty menu as, like other American cuisine joints of its type, there are a lot of food options. Burgers? Steak? Fajitas? Beef Ribs? Salads? Sandwiches? Pasta? Soup? It can be a little overwhelming especially if it is your first time at Chili’s. Should you require help, it is best to ask the server for more detailed information about the dish.
Feeling hungry I wanted something hefty so I ordered the Cajun Chicken Sandwich with the Molten Chocolate Chunk Milkshake. My dinner companion ordered the Old Timer Beef Burger. Both of the mains are served with home-style fries. However having eaten there once before I knew the sweet potato fries were good and our server was happy to accommodate my request to change the fries. He was also very informative as to the spice level of the food and paid attention to the changes we made to our order.
We had approximately a 20 minute wait for the food to arrive. Whilst we waited we both enjoyed the milkshake, which is based upon Chili’s signature Molten Chocolate Chunk dessert. It was delicious chocolatey vanilla goodness in a glass. It had the right amount of creaminess for an ice-cream based shake; however it was described as being topped with chocolate pieces whilst I would describe the pieces as chocolate sprinkles.
When the food arrived we tucked in with gusto. My chicken breast was grilled perfectly and tasted moist and succulent. The jalapeno jack cheese and chipotle ranch dressing added extra flavour. However, the onion strings were a little redundant as they lost their crispy element within the first few bites. The portion sizes are bigger than I am used to and the bun-to-meat ratio was unbalanced. There was too much bread and I had to leave half my sesame seed bun in order to finish my chicken. Even then I did feel like I had over-indulged so there was no room for dessert. If you do have a more moderate appetite try not to order dessert at the start of your meal. Resist those beautifully styled dessert photographs unless you definitely know you are going to have room, or you are sharing desserts.
I tried my companion’s beef burger and it was quite frankly disappointing for both of us. The burger may have had some merit to it however the patty had been overcooked and it was hard to appreciate the meat. When you order something simple like the Old Timer then the meat really has to be spot on but on this occasion it definitely missed the mark. We both enjoy succulent meaty burgers but the dry patty was not a pleasant eating experience. Although it was edible my companion ate because he was hungry rather than because he enjoyed the food, and he did leave a third of his burger uneaten.
Assessing the service and ambience I would say Chili’s does very well. It appeals to families and it is a friendly place whether there are a handful of you or you are dining alone. The servers are patient, helpful and attentive without being overbearing. Our meal cost QR 118 and although one of the mains was disappointing I would eat there again. Overall a pleasant restaurant but there would be some hesitance in ordering a beef burger.