Fridays herald the end of a hard week and bring the promise of an exciting weekend ahead- and TGI Friday's captures that happy Friday feeling and serves it in their restaurants daily.
TGI's, as it is abbreviated to, is set up with many small, intimate booths seating up to six patrons, and a few regular tables. I would recommend you ask for booth seating if they are not packed, because the couches are far more comfortable than wooden chairs.
The drinks at TGI's is what makes them truly exceptional. Featuring over 50 exotic alcoholic concoctions and 16 mocktails, coffee, beer, wine and more, there is bound to be a beverage to suit your tastes. Most of the drinks are fruity or like dessert in liquid form- the mocktails are particularly sweet, with concoctions such as Apple Pie and Strawberry Cheesecake.
Generous potion sizing and plenty of carbs characterises their menu, which mainly features burgers and pasta. Their appetisers include unique dishes such as potato twisters and Jack Daniel's flavoured chicken strips, as well as old favourites like nachos and their highly-recommended potato skins. For mains, there is an extensive range of pasta, seafood, chicken dishes and burgers. They serve steaks, sandwiches, and have a two pages' worth of Jack Daniel's Grill options, where anything from salmon to pork is glazed with Jack Daniel's sauce.
Vegetarian and low-fat dishes are clearly marked on the menu- although the low-fat options are few and far between. Unless you have a huge appetite, don't even try to get an appetiser, a main and dessert - or you may have to be rolled out afterwards.
The downside of TGI's is their pricing- while their food is quite satisfying, it is overpriced for what it is. Most of their mains are $20 to $35, and their appetizers are $15 to $20. However, if you pick from a limited list on the menu, you can get an appetiser and main for $24.95, or an appetiser, main and dessert for $29.95. The drink prices are comparable to cocktails elsewhere, costing $15 to $20 each.
When I went, the customer service was exceptional, with the staff being very friendly, checking we were happy with everything every now and then. However it took a long time for our food to come out, despite there being few other patrons.
Despite the prominence of the bar, TGI's is conducive to families, with their pasta dishes being palatable to picky children. They also have a great children's menu, divided into the Stars Menu and the Stripes Menu. Stars features dishes like pizza, cheeseburgers and bolognese in small, kid-sized portions. The Stripes Menu has bigger portion sizes, and had more adventurous choices such as grilled barramundi, steak and BBQ chicken pizza. The kids menu is quite reasonably prices, with Stars mains being $8.95, and Stripes dishes all under $18. From Monday to Wednesday, kids can order free off the Stars menu.
The atmosphere at TGI's is hard to describe; while they don't have an overt theme in the way that diners such as Misty's and Soda Rock have, there is definitely an American touch about the place. With booth seats and burgers aplenty, they have retained their New York heritage. TGI's is reminiscent of Taco Bill with its relaxed atmosphere, huge portions and delicious drinks. The main difference is that there are no Mexican hats in sight at TGI's, although they do serve some wicked nachos.
TGI's has five locations across Melbourne, which, despite the name, are open seven days a week.