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My family of 4 went to Outback Steakhouse for the first time, and our $165 meal at the chain felt like an amazing deal

A composite image of Terri Peters smiling next to photo of Outback Steakhouse receipt for $165 meal
My family loved dining at Outback Steakhouse.Terri Peters
  • I ate at Outback Steakhouse, an Australian-themed chain specializing in steaks, for the first time.

  • Dinner for my family of 4, including an appetizer, two glasses of wine, and two desserts, was $165.

  • It was great value and everything was delicious, including melt-in-your-mouth steaks and free bread.

My family used to never eat at chain restaurants, but my teenagers have asked about visiting more and more of the ones they see people post about on TikTok.

Although reluctant, my husband and I have obliged them, trying restaurants like LongHorn Steakhouse and Bahama Breeze so they can see for themselves what's what in the chain-restaurant world.

Recently, we visited an Outback Steakhouse location in Melbourne, Florida, for a Friday night family dinner.

Outback Steakhouse first opened in 1988.

Outback Steakhouse exterior with wood panels, red walls, and tree out front
Outback Steakhouse is known as an Australian-inspired casual restaurant with reasonable prices.Terri Peters

The first Outback Steakhouse opened in 1988 in Tampa, Florida. The Australian-themed casual-dining chain specializes in steak and serves other dishes such as chicken, seafood, and pasta.

Today, there are hundreds of Outback locations in the US and others around the globe in places like China and Australia.

The chain is known for its honey-wheat Bushman bread.

Two loaves of Brown bread on a cutting board next to a bowl of butter at an Outback Steakhouse
The bread lived up to the hype we saw online.Terri Peters

I knew we had to try Outback's bread, which has tons of copycat recipes floating around the internet. Luckily, it's a complimentary part of the dining experience.

As soon as we sat down, we were served the delicious molasses-based bread with butter. The bread was warm and flavorful — the molasses not only enhanced its color but also added a slight sweetness to it.

As we noshed on our free bread, we looked through Outback's extensive menu and a separate menu with seasonal offerings to decide what we'd get.

My husband and I ordered wine, and our kids picked a mocktail and a soda.

Four people at Outback steakhouse cheersing with their wine and mocktails
The wine we got at Outback felt like great value.Terri Peters

Outback offered a pretty decent selection of wines, from rosé to chardonnay to cabernet sauvignon. We appreciated that wines were available in 6-ounce and 9-ounce pours, as well as by the bottle.

My husband and I love red wine with a delicious steak, so we each ordered a glass of shiraz. Each of our 9-ounce pours of shiraz cost about $11, which felt like great value for the amount we received and the quality of the wine.

My daughter loves a good mocktail, so she ordered a kiwi-strawberry lemonade from Outback's alcohol-free drinks menu for $3.50. My son's soda, which he was able to refill for free, cost the same.

 

Yes, we ordered a Bloomin' Onion.

A Bloomin' Onion - a bunch of fried bits of onion stacked on a plate wit hsauce in the middle at Outback Steakhouse
The Bloomin' Onion was more flavorful than an onion ring and so crispy it was addictive.Terri Peters

I knew we had to order Outback's famous Bloomin' Onion, which I'd heard about since I was a kid.

This iconic appetizer is made from a giant hand-cut onion that gets battered, fried, and served with a spicy signature sauce. Although my son is a picky eater and didn't try it, my husband, daughter, and I were instant fans.

We couldn't stop pulling off the crispy, flavorful onion petals and dipping them into the sauce.

My husband and I even talked about how, since the Bloomin' Onion is so large, we could return to Outback one night for happy hour and share one over drinks. It felt like a steal for $10.

We chose salads as our sides and tried the French onion soup.

French Onion soup with a browned cheesy topping next to a salad at Outback Steakhouse
The lettuce was crispy and the soup had a nice flavor.Terri Peters

I chose a salad as one of the two side dishes that came with my entrée, and my husband upgraded his side to a $3 bowl of French onion soup for us to share.

We enjoyed my side salad as well. The ranch dressing I chose was flavorful and creamy, and the lettuce was nice and crisp. The soup was also delicious, and both made me want to revisit Outback for lunch.

I chose one of Outback's signature filets for my entrée.

A piece of steak next to a loaded baked potato of the same size on a white plate at Outback Steakhouse
The steak portion was quite generous.Terri Peters

I chose a 6-ounce filet mignon, one of Outback's signature steaks. The filet at Outback is barrel-cut, a thicker cut of steak that's taken from the end of a beef tenderloin, and comes in both 6- and 9-ounce sizes.

The 6-ounce filet was more than enough when paired with my second side dish, a loaded baked potato complete with shredded cheese and bacon bits.

The steak was tender and delicious and cooked to a perfect medium rare. My meal was among the pricier things we ordered at $26 but it was well worth it, especially since I had leftovers the following day.

 

My daughter ordered a chicken dish that's frequently copycatted online.

Chicken breast topped with melted cheese next to cup of white sauce and scoop of mashed potatoes topped with bacon bits, cheese, and chives at Outback Steakhouse
The Alice Springs Chicken lived up to the hype.Terri Peters

The Alice Springs Chicken may be among Outback's most popular dishes. On TikTok, videos tagged with #AliceSpringsChicken have millions of views combined.

My daughter ordered the dish, which is made up of a grilled chicken breast topped with mushrooms, bacon, cheese, and honey-mustard sauce. She cleaned her plate, proving the dish is as phenomenal as many on the internet claim.

She had a side salad earlier and chose mashed potatoes as her second side. She was thrilled to learn she could order her mashed potatoes loaded with cheese and bacon for an extra $2.

Her dish cost $21.50 with the upgraded side.

My son loved the cheeseburger at Outback Steakhouse.

Cheeseburger with fries and a container of ketchup at Outback Steakhouse
Outback's burger was a hit with my son.Terri Peters

My teenage son may be a burger-and-fries kind of guy, but he's learned that a burger at a steak house truly does hit differently.

He chose the $13 Outback burger, which was cooked to order and served with fries. He ranked it among the best burgers he's had … and he's had a lot of burgers.

He loved the juiciness of the burger and its perfect medium cook and said it was seasoned with just the right amount of salt and topped with the perfect amount of cheese.

My husband ordered a gigantic rib-eye steak.

Ribeye steak on a black plate with juices leaking out at Outback Steakhouse
My husband was pleased with his rib eye at Outback.Terri Peters

My husband ordered Outback's signature 18-ounce bone-in rib eye for $31.

It was the most expensive thing on the check at the end of the night, but he wasn't disappointed by the steak's doneness, juiciness, or flavor.

Like me, he took home leftovers, which were delicious the following day. After all, we'd already eaten our way through a loaf of bread, a Bloomin' Onion, a side salad, and soup by the time the steaks arrived at our table.

For dessert, we tried something classic and something seasonal.

two plates, one with ice cream and chocolate shards and other with a chocolate dessert
We enjoyed the Chocolate Thunder From Down Under and the Tim Tam Brownie Cake.Terri Peters

For dessert, we ordered the iconic Chocolate Thunder From Down Under ($10), a pecan brownie topped with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, chocolate shavings, and whipped cream. We also got the seasonal Tim Tam Brownie Cake ($10.50), which consisted of layers of brownie, peanut butter, and chocolate mousse topped with caramel sauce and Australian Tim Tam cookies.

We enjoyed both desserts but preferred the Chocolate Thunder From Down Under. We loved the crunch of the pecan brownie and the decadent chocolate sauce on top. The vanilla ice cream and whipped cream perfectly balanced out the heavy chocolate, leaving us satisfied and happy at the end of our meal.

Overall, we spent about $20 on dessert.

We would definitely eat at Outback Steakhouse again after such a great experience.

Outback menus on wood table
Our meal at Outback Steakhouse felt like a great deal.Terri Peters

Outback Steakhouse was the first chain restaurant we've visited where we talked about returning while we were still seated in the booth.

I definitely see us returning to Outback for Bloomin' Onion happy hours and soup-and-salad lunches to take advantage of the chain's affordability and deliciousness.

At $165 for my family of four before tip, the check worked out to about $41 per person. Though a large-scale family dinner in that price range isn't something we'd do every single weekend, Outback felt like enough of a splurge that we'd definitely return for a special dinner together.

Read the original article on Insider