If there's anything that can make a crispy tortilla chip, a savory french fry, or a fresh vegetable crudité better, it's the right dipping sauce. Dips instantly bring more flavor to any food, and, let's be honest, much of the time, that chip, french fry, or veggie simply serves as a vessel through which to consume as much of the dip as possible.
Whether your dip of choice is guacamole, ranch, aioli, or any kind of melted cheese, these versatile sauces come in a vast array of flavor profiles to complement virtually any food. In most cases, you will find your favorite dips on the appetizer menu, like a warm and savory Spinach Artichoke Dip or a spicy and refreshing salsa. Other restaurants forego dips as a standalone menu item, instead offering a wide selection of dipping sauces to complement french fries or onion rings. (And let's not forget about dessert dips—chocolate fondue, anyone?) Read on for 11 restaurant chains that serve the best-tasting dips, thanks to their fresh ingredients, wide selection, and unique offerings.
Whether you go to Ruby Tuesday for the salad bar or the selection of affordable steak dinners, this popular chain offers the quintessential casual American dining experience and multiple appetizers that feature tasty dipping sauces. Diners can try the Cheddar Cheese Queso with chips or the classic Spinach Artichoke Dip. If you've ever loved a dip so much that you wish you could dunk everything in it, try the Ruby's Signature Sampler, which comes with boneless wings, mozzarella sticks, and the spin dip—because sometimes tortilla chips just aren't enough.
The Melting Pot
If your love for dips is so strong that it's practically in your DNA, then The Melting Pot is the place to be. The restaurant's entire experience is built around the concept of dipping your food into a gooey and delicious fondue, and diners can customize their meal to suit their preferences. Whether you choose a prix-fixe dinner or order a la carte off the menu, there are plenty of melted cheesy dips to choose from. Fondues range from Wisconsin Cheddar to Spinach Artichoke; for dessert, dip your sweets and fresh fruit into chocolate, crème brûlée, or s'mores-inspired fondues.
There's no need to wait until Friday to dine at T.G.I. Fridays, a casual chain of restaurants featuring classic American cuisine. The menu sticks to tried-and-true classics, but you'll find that some of its dishes have an added touch to stand out from the competition. For example, T.G.I. Fridays does its Spinach Artichoke Dip a little differently, combining spinach, artichoke, Romano cheese, sauteed onions, and red bell pepper. What makes their dip memorable is the topping of Parmesan bread crumbs for added flavor and texture.
Joe's Crab Shack
Joe's Crab Shack leaves little to the imagination regarding its primary area of expertise. Customers can find an assortment of crab buckets served with corn and potatoes to fill up on, but you'll also want to take a peek at the appetizer menu. There, you'll find something a little more unique compared to other restaurant chains: Crab and Shrimp Dip. It's made with crab meat, shrimp, cream cheese, and parmesan—the perfect accompaniment to a plate of warm tortilla chips. Enjoy it by itself, or order Joe's Classic Sampler for an assortment of appetizers, including the dip.
Chili's is home to several long-standing customer favorites: Baby Back Ribs, $5 Margaritas, and the 3 For Me combo. But if all you want is a classic dip to enjoy with some french fries or chips, look no further: Chili's has all of the tried-and-true dips on its appetizer menu, including a Skillet Queso, Fresh Guacamole and, of course, Chips & Salsa. Can't decide which one to order? Chili's has a Dip Trio that takes out the guesswork. If you're looking to try something new, the chain recently introduced a White Skillet Queso to its menu.
Olive Garden may not be the first restaurant that comes to mind if you crave a delicious dip. We all know that you head to Olive Garden for the endless salads, soups, and breadsticks, followed by a Tour of Italy for dinner. But back to those breadsticks for a moment—did you know you can order dipping sauces to go along with them? Olive Garden serves your choice of marinara, homemade alfredo, or five-cheese marinara, and comes with a basket of breadsticks. Olive Garden also has Spinach Artichoke Dip on the appetizer menu, and you can never really go wrong with spin dip.
Looking for a juicy hamburger and endless fries? Red Robin is a solid, affordable choice where you can enjoy just that. A bottomless basket of french fries sounds perfect as-is, but you can take things to a whole new level by adding your choice of dips to your meal. Red Robin offers several different dips, including classics like ketchup and chipotle mayo (or as they refer to it, Campfire Mayo), along with unique sauces like Cheesy Bacon Fondue, Roasted Garlic Aioli, Smoke & Pepper Ketchup, and Whisky River BBQ Sauce.
If you've ever experienced hibachi, then you have an idea of what to expect when you dine at Benihana. Your freshly prepared dish of chicken, beef, and fried rice can be enjoyed with one of several dipping sauces, including everyone's favorite Benihana Original Yum Yum Sauce. You can also try out the Benihana Original Garlic Sauce or go for a classic teriyaki, ginger, or soy sauce.
At first glance, you may think that Baja Fresh doesn't really offer anything extraordinary beyond what you would expect a fast-casual Mexican chain to serve. Naturally, you would expect to see salsa on the menu; however, Baja Fresh kicks things up a notch by serving not only a variety of salsas but also ensuring that each one is made with the freshest ingredients. Your half-dozen options of salsa range from mild mango salsa all the way up to hot molcajete salsa. Each one follows the Baja Fresh policy: all food is farm-fresh and never comes from a can.
On the Border
If there's anything diners can rally around and agree on when ordering off a menu, it's probably melted cheese. So, leave it to On the Border to include a few tasty queso dips on its menu to order as an appetizer for the table. You can keep things simple with its Signature Queso, made with tomatoes, green chiles, onion, cilantro, poblano, and jalapeño peppers. Or, go all-out with the Primo Queso, which uses the Signature Queso as a base but tops it with seasoned ground beef, guacamole, and sour cream. If queso sounds a bit too heavy, you can always stick with On the Border's fresh guacamole, made in small batches throughout the day to ensure freshness.
California Pizza Kitchen
The bulk of what you find in California Pizza Kitchen's menu is pretty clear from the restaurant's name, but don't let that lead you to believe pizza is all CPK has to offer. The chain has several different appetizers to get your meal started, some of which come with mouth-watering dips like Spinach Artichoke Dip and White Corn Guacamole. If you order their popular Avocado Club Egg Rolls, they'll come with housemade ranchito sauce and herb ranch for dipping as well.