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7 Restaurant Chains That Serve the Best Appetizers

These spots boast an assortment of group-friendly bites.
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Nothing builds the excitement at a restaurant quite like its appetizers. Not only do they whet the appetite for the main course, but they can also serve as a conversation piece among guests. Because what better way to bring people together than by eating some delicious food?

Sure, soups and salads can satisfy. But the shareable options are where things often get a bit more creative. Some will even argue that the appetizers are the best part of the meal.

Whether you're in the mood for Italian, Tex-Mex, or a steak dinner, there are plenty of restaurant chains with appetizers that can help satisfy these cravings. To help you navigate the world of restaurant chains, we rounded up a variety of eateries with appetizer options geared toward different food preferences. Here's a look at just some of the top chains for scoring apps.

Outback Steakhouse

outback steakhouse bloomin' onion
Outback Steakhouse National / Facebook

An appetizer roundup would be incomplete without mentioning the home of the famous Bloomin' Onion. This colossal crispy appetizer made its debut in 1988 and has since become a fan favorite. In fact, over eight million of them are served every year, and one in every four appetizers ordered at Outback is a Bloomin' Onion, according to the steakhouse chain.

If you're looking for something a bit more, uh, understated, Outback has plenty of other "Aussie-tizers," such as its Gold Coast Coconut Shrimp and Kookaburra Wings. Former Outback server Michaela Mutell recently told Insider, "Surprisingly, Outback has some of the best wings I've ever had in my life."

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The Cheesecake Factory

cheesecake factory avocado egg rolls
The Cheesecake Factory / Facebook

The Cheesecake Factory's menu is no quick read—but that also means there's something for everyone. Skim through the restaurant's appetizer selection and you'll find options ranging from fried macaroni and cheese to Thai lettuce wraps.

Another standout appetizer among customers is the plate of avocado egg rolls, which feature a crispy wrapper filled with avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, red onions, and cilantro. Tamarind-cashew dipping sauce is served on the side. "Best appetizer of all time," one Instagram user wrote on a recent post from The Cheesecake Factory.

Bonefish Grill

bonefish grill bang bang shrimp
Bonefish Grill

Upon hearing the words "Bonefish Grill," one dish is likely to come to mind: Bang Bang Shrimp. This famous appetizer is made with crispy shrimp tossed in the restaurant chain's signature creamy, spicy sauce. "Pure deliciousness" and "the best thing ever" were just a couple of ways fans recently described the popular menu item on Instagram.

Like the restaurant chain as a whole, the appetizers cater to seafood lovers and include options like ahi tuna poke, Maryland-style crab cakes, and calamari. But for those who aren't a fan of seafood, Bonefish Grill also offers beef and ginger potstickers, which are topped with green onions and soy sauce.

P.F. Chang's

p.f. chang's lettuce wraps
P.F. Chang's / Facebook

From Chinese restaurant favorites like dumplings to Japanese staples like edamame, P.F. Chang's offers a range of Asian-inspired dishes at its 300-plus locations. But one appetizer that reigns supreme among guests is Chang's Lettuce Wraps, which can be served vegetarian or with chicken. This popular dish is the chain's top menu item across locations, according to P.F. Chang's.

Other starters include dim sum items like wontons and egg rolls that are "rolled by hand every day in every restaurant." The chain notes that its food is made from scratch daily, as well.

Texas Roadhouse

texas roadhouse rattlesnake bites
Texas Roadhouse / Facebook

In addition to its fresh baked rolls and honey cinnamon butter, Texas Roadhouse has various memorable starters to help customers kick off their meals. Staying true to its casual vibe, the steakhouse chain cooks up all kinds of comfort food, including "Killer" ribs, fried pickles, and boneless buffalo wings. Like Outback, there's also a flower-shaped fried onion appetizer, which Texas Roadhouse calls the "Cactus Blossom."

For the cheese lovers, there are cheese fries, tater skins, and the playfully named Rattlesnake Bites, which are lightly fried balls of diced jalapeños and jack cheese served with a Cajun dipping sauce.


chili's southwestern egg rolls
Chili's Grill & Bar / Facebook

Before indulging in baby back ribs and molten chocolate cake, there are numerous appetizers to consider when dining at Chili's. If chips and dip is your go-to, you can choose between salsa, guacamole, white skillet queso, or the chain's original skillet queso. Want a little bit of everything? Chili's Dip Trio includes a choice of three of the aforementioned dips or house-made ranch.

Some other handheld options include brisket quesadillas, chicken wings, and the beloved Southwestern Egg Rolls. These consist of crispy flour tortillas filled with chicken, black beans, corn, jalapeño jack cheese, red peppers, and spinach, and are served with avocado ranch.

Maggiano's Little Italy

maggiano's bombalina
Maggiano's / Facebook

This chef-approved Italian restaurant chain dishes out classic and specialty pastas, chicken, seafood, and meat. But before diving into your entrée, there are multiple appetizers you can share with the rest of your table. At Maggiano's, guests can choose between fried dishes like calamari fritté, crispy zucchini fritté, and mozzarella marinara or opt for lighter bites like stuffed mushrooms and balsamic tomato bruschetta. There's also the "Bombalina" option, which refers to a sampler of the chef's favorite four starters.

Need to please a crowd? The restaurant chain also offers two pizza-resembling flatbreads, which are available in margherita and Italian sausage varieties.

Brianna Ruback
Brianna is a staff writer at Eat This, Not That! She attended Ithaca College, where she graduated with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Communication Studies. Read more about Brianna
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