Hot, bubbly, cheesy, saucy, hearty—it's really no surprise that the famous comic-strip cat Garfield is always wolfing down copious amounts of lasagna when the dish boasts so many tantalizing qualities. While lasagna is pretty synonymous with Italian and Italian-American cooking, people all over the world have grown to love those signature baked layers of pasta, sauce, and cheese.
According to Louie Sparagis, owner of The Shady Lady, Crave Astoria, and The Oven pizzeria in Astoria, N.Y., the adaptability and wide range of flavor possibilities are both big factors in why lasagna is such a widely cherished dish.
"Lasagna is a great versatile dish which can be composed of many different ingredients to cater [to] the desire of any taste buds, from ground beef to sausage to turkey or vegetables, even roasted vegetables if you're feeling adventurous. Then the sauces and cheeses, oh the cheeses; possibilities are endless," he tells Eat This, Not That!
Sparagis adds that the "layers of pasta, savory sauces, and cheese" in a lasagna make it a super satisfying dish that evokes feelings of comfort and home. The fact that lasagna usually comes in big trays that can feed a crowd only adds to its appeal. "It's a great shareable dish that you can bring anywhere and it will be appreciated," he says.
The difference between a mediocre lasagna and a great lasagna comes down to the care and attention to detail cooks take with every step, according to Sparagis. He suggests seasoning "with gusto," opting for puréed San Marzano tomatoes when crafting your sauce, and using a mix of meats for extra depth. He also notes that while ricotta is common lasagna ingredient, taking the time to make a homemade béchamel instead can "bring it up a notch."
However you prefer to enjoy it, the main takeaway is that lasagna is a persistently popular dish that holds a special place in the hearts of people from all walks of life. And when you don't have the time or energy to make it yourself—or the frozen versions just won't hit the spot—there are plenty of restaurant chains throughout the United States that offer lasagna.
We've rounded up all the eateries that serve the most craveable, fan-favorite versions of the dish, so read on for the 10 restaurant chains that serve the absolute best lasagna!
Maggiano's Little Italy
Maggiano's Little Italy has won over everyday consumers and professional chefs alike with its menu of classic Italian fare—and many consider its signature lasagna to be one of the standouts.
The chain keeps it pretty traditional with Mom's Lasagna, which features marinara, ricotta, seasoned beef, and Italian sausage. "Perfect" and "delicious" are only some of the tantalizing descriptors that customers have used for the menu item. Chef Jonathan Scinto—a content creator, food artist, and television host—also previously told Eat This, Not That! that Mom's Lasagna is one of his go-to's when he dines at Maggiano's.
"It's delicate and rustic, with the right punch of flavor—perfect to fill me up for a couples' lunch," he said.
Bravo! Italian Kitchen
Bravo! Italian Kitchen may not be a realistic dining option for all Americans, since it primarily operates in the South and Midwest. But if you're craving lasagna and happen to be near one of the chain's locations, the restaurant serves a fan-favorite version of the popular dish.
Bravo's lasagna not only features the chain's signature meat sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella, but also a house-made Alfredo. Customers love it, and it has also won the approval of at least one professional chef. Brandon Fay, executive chef and owner of Pasta By Hudson and The Perry Club in New York City, previously told Eat This, Not That! that the chain's lasagna is a "solid" choice.
Carabba's Italian Grill
Carabba's Italian Grill offers a particularly saucy and cheesy take on a classic lasagna. The menu item is made with fresh pasta that's layered with Carabba's pomodoro sauce, meat sauce, ricotta, parmesan, romano, and mozzarella cheese.
"If there is a thing better than @Carrabbas lasagna, let me know (P.S. there isn't)," Rector wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
If you ever find yourself at one of the 35 Johnny Carino's locations throughout the South, West, and Midwest, you should know that customers have some very good things to say about the chain's lasagna.
Johnny's Fresh-Baked Lasagna includes layers of pasta, Italian sausage, beef, meat sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan. One particularly passionate fan raved last year that the dish is so good that it's "unreal."
If you do plan on ordering the lasagna, you might want to consider doing it earlier in the evening. The lasagna is only available while supplies last, and customers have warned that Johnny Carino's runs out quickly.
Fazoli's baked lasagna has tantalizing layers of meat sauce, mozzarella, and provolone cheese. The chain's fast-casual business model means that you can snag an order of lasagna quite speedily, and customers say the taste is "to die for." Better yet, it comes with two of the chain's signature garlic breadsticks, perfect for sopping up any leftover sauce or cheese.
Buca di Beppo
Out of all the chains on this list, Buca di Beppo's lasagna is the best for when you really need to feed a crowd. Stacked high with layers of meat sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, provolone, Buca serves it in its signature family-style portions—a small will theoretically feed three, while a large is supposed to feed five. So, make sure to bring a few friends, or at least a major appetite, if you ever opt for this menu item.
"The lasagna is delicious, the noodles are cooked perfectly while the homemade meat and sauce brings it all together," one fan raved on Yelp.
Is any list of chains that serve the best lasagna really complete without Olive Garden? The Lasagna Classico has been a longtime staple at the Italian-American chain, and customers still can't get enough of it in 2023.
"Nothing makes me happier than Olive Garden lasagna," one fan posted last month on X.
The dish is prepared fresh daily with layers of pasta, parmesan, mozzarella, pecorino romano, and Olive Garden's homemade meat sauce. If you're feeling extra indulgent, Olive Garden also offers a fried version of its classic lasagna as an appetizer. The Lasagna Fritta features fried parmesan-breaded lasagna topped with parmesan cheese and meat sauce and served with creamy Alfredo sauce.
Old Spaghetti Factory
The menu item is made with layers of noodles, the chain's scratch-made marinara, ground beef, ground pork, and not just one, but four different cheeses. Customers have called it "amazing," "delicious," and "the best I've ever had."
"The lasagna was delicious. I would definitely get again," a customer raved on Yelp earlier this year.
The menu item is made with a traditional meat sauce, an Italian cheese blend, and a three-cheese Alfredo sauce. You can order it by itself, or if you're feeling indecisive, Biaggi's also offers a combo entree with both the lasagna and its signature chicken parmesan.
Romano's Macaroni Grill
The dish is made with bolognese sauce, Italian sausage, ricotta, mozzarella, and imported pomodorina, a tomato-based sauce. Customers frequently gush over the popular menu item, and depending on who you ask, some might tell you that it's the best lasagna you'll ever eat.
Romano's customers can order the lasagna by itself or as part of Mama's Trio, which also comes with chicken parmesan and fettuccine Alfredo.