Our Definitive Ranking of the Best Free Restaurant Bread
Name a more iconic duo than restaurants and free bread. We'll wait.
Seriously though, bread is undeniably the best food on earth, so the fact that you can just go to a restaurant and get baskets filled with this heavenly dough for free makes us so happy to live in this world.
It also brings out our competitive side. As self-declared bread connoisseurs, we decided to rate free restaurant bread in order to determine the ultimate doughy champion. Take a look at our ranking below.
10. Mimi's Cafe Bread Basket
Full disclosure, we love all bread so trying to decide which bread was the best really came down to minute details. Sadly, that put the bread basket at Mimi's Cafe at the bottom of our list. We love their variety—they include a rustic French roll, a slice of carrot raisin nut loaf bread, a seasonal optional and sometimes even a muffin—but our complaint is that there's just not enough to go around. We don't like carrot in our bread, so we were quick to grab onto the French roll, but then we felt selfish leaving the rest of the table with the carrot raisin concoction.
We like the idea of offering numerous kinds of bread in theory, but we see potential for some major bread-related blowups. I mean of course we'll still eat it, but they've come in last in our search for a bread champion.
9. California Pizza Kitchen Bread Slices
CPK is a yummy and reliable go-to if you want to nom on some Italian food. But sadly, their bread just isn't up to snuff with some other restaurant offerings. The slices are much too small, which is great if you want to save room for your meal, but not great if you want to truly enjoy some free bread. We do love the offering of olive oil alongside the bread, but other than that it's just your basic complimentary loaf—not impressive enough to earn a higher spot on our list.
8. Outback Honey Wheat Bread
To be fair, Outback's free bread offering comes in 8th on our list mostly because we're not big fans of wheat bread. This bread doesn't taste horrible (does any bread taste horrible?), but we're not searching for a "healthier" option if we're taste-testing free bread. Plus, the bread comes in a loaf that you have to slice yourself. It's honestly not a big deal, but we're scrambling for any reason to rank bread lower. It's possible we might like bread a little too much.
7. Buca Di Beppo Bread
As far as free bread goes, Buca Di Beppo is pretty on the money. The bread is soft on the inside with a crunchy outside that has that satisfying crack when you bite into it. We would gladly eat this bread all day every day. However, compared to some of the others on this list, it is a bit plain, which explains its fairly low ranking at No. 7.
6. Cheesecake Factory Bread Basket
We love all things Cheesecake Factory, including their delicious bread basket. We're super down with the combination of the two bread offerings, and there is very little in this world that we would rather eat than a slice of Cheesecake Factory's french bread. Alas, it's the curse of Outback all over again. We definitely prefer Cheesecake Factory's brown bread to the Outback version, but we're still not crazy about the sweet oats at the top trying to trick us into believing bread is healthy.
The redeeming quality of Cheesecake Factory is the ability to ask for basket refills. So if you don't want to eat the brown bread, you can just pass it right along to the rest of your table and keep a whole French roll for yourself, which is our preferred method of consuming Cheesecake Factory bread.
5. Carrabba's Italian Grill Bread
If you're on the hunt for some bomb Italian bread to start out your meal, Carrabba's is the way to go. It's a nice soft bread that you can easily gulp down, but it still has that little bit of crunch we love from our bread. Plus, all the spices mixed in give it a very garlic-bread type of flavor and there's almost nothing on earth that we love as much as garlic bread.
4. Macaroni Grill Rosemary Bread
With so many awesome free breads available, we're all about adding a twist that will make your bread stand out. Macaroni Grill's rosemary loaf definitely departs from the norm of ordinary restaurant bread. The bread is perfectly dense and crispy, and we love the added oil that comes on the side. This bread also requires you to cut a piece for yourself, but we didn't mind so much this time since we just took off a huge chunk and called it an "accident."
3. Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits
Honestly, we're all about these biscuits. Tiny pieces of bread made with cheese, delicious herbs and probably every other bad ingredient you could possibly think of? Sign us up! If you have no other reason to go to Red Lobster, go for these biscuits. Sadly, they are only third on our list because you can make them yourself at home. Which we secretly love, but we had to ding them a few points because it takes away from the restaurant experience.
2. Olive Garden Breadsticks
Are you even surprised Olive Garden breadsticks are this high? Of course you're not—they're amazing. First of all, they're unlimited so that's a major plus. But beyond the infinite number you could potentially eat, these breadsticks are just incredible. They're soft, delicious and perfectly flavored, and they're simple enough that you get to revel in the fact that you're just eating bread. No funky wheat or oats trying to mess with your bread experience.
1. Texas Roadhouse Rolls
We're not even being over-dramatic when we tell you these rolls are life-changing. They are perfectly fluffy with a beautiful brown outside that just begs you to eat one (or 12). The inside is soft and delicious, and one bite is filled with perfect simplicity that you want out of bread. Plus, they come with cinnamon butter. Cinnamon butter! It's amazing and definitely deserving of the No. 1 spot on our list.
Want to know how more of your favorite food measure up in the taste department? Click HERE for a definitive ranking of BJ's pizookies.