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Making Dallas Even Better

Restaurant Review: Kenny’s Italian Kitchen in North Dallas

Kenny's Fair Fare: Kenny’s chicken and artichoke pizza, and clam and mussel linguini. (Photography by Kevin Marple)

You’d be surprised to learn how hard it can be for dining critics to find volunteers to join them on a review. So imagine my joy when, after inviting friends and family to join me at Kenny’s Italian Kitchen, I was flooded with gushing replies. “Oh, please,” my sister-in-law said. “I’m dying to go there.” We sashayed up to the hostess stand on a stormy Monday night around 6:30 and were placed on a 30-minute waitlist. The bar was three deep, and the dining room was jammed. Two hours later, I left confused. There is nothing special about the food at Kenny’s. It’s basically enormous portions of familiar red-sauce-Italian fare served in a Godfather-meets-Sopranos setting complete with stereotypical red-and-white checkered tablecloths anchored with straw-wrapped Chianti bottles.

Stay with me, now.

  • Beda

    I’ll volunteer!

  • Erin Ahlfinger

    This place is walking distance from my house, and I’d been curious about it for a while. I won’t even bother. Thanks for saving me the trouble, and the cramps.

  • Jed


    I really like Kenny’s. My wife does as well. We have been a dozen times since its been open and the service is excellent. Love the wait staff.

    Their seafood is really good. We went Sunday night and their Sea Bass special with greens was spot on. Another in our group got the Salmon and said she really liked it.

    I think people in N. Dallas like Kenny’s because of its homestyle “Red Sauced Italian Fare.” Were in the land of chains, and its nice to have a neighborhood style place to go and chow down. I agree they can over cook the pasta and they have seasoning issues at times. But this is the first place we think of when we think italian. The Chicken Picatta and Parm are both really good. The midnight meatballs with marinara are always delicious and flavorful. I had some of the Bone-in Veal Parm and it was a solid veal parm. Their salads are great too.

    You have to take Kenny’s for what it is. It is tounge and cheek italian. It has a neon “Bada Bing” sign over the kitchen door for god sake.

  • John

    My wife and I have been to Kenny’s Italian twice. Both times the food and service were great.
    The bone in veal was awesome.

  • John

    My wife and I have been to Kenny’s Italian, twice. Both times the food and service were great.
    My bone in veal was awesome.

  • Kim

    I agree with Nancy on this one. I had lunch at Kenny’s Italian when it first opened. Average at best, I have not returned. I LOVE Kenny’s other restaurants!

  • TheStolenOlive

    Kenny’s Italian is the only place in the area I will even eat Italian food. There is nothing better than their Veal Oso Bucco on Saffron Risotto.

    I have taken at least 20 people there and every single one of them have loved and and gone back on their own.

    Nice slam of a restaurant that is obviously way above your comprehension.

  • TheStolenOlive

    And I don’t even eat “red sauce”…. so again… Nice Try.

  • Harold Elias-Perciful

    My wife and I love Kenny’s Italian. The cheese sauses are rich; their supposed to be. The Gnocchi was incredible but you could oonly eat a few bites, we took the rest home. That is the theme of Kenny’s we ate well and leftovers for another meal. The veal marsala was perfect.

  • Krista

    I Love Kenny’s! I have been there many times. I always have great service an amazing dinner! I do think they need a larger place so the wait time is better. But that just shows how good it is. There is always a wait.

  • TheStolenOlive

    If you went to a very popular restaurant without reservations, then you are an idiot.

  • Liz G.

    I’m happy to join you whenever! :) (I’m sure I’m not the only person who volunteers!)

  • Vicki

    I love Kenny’s Italian! The food is great. I have been there many times and looking forward to the next. The service is awesome and the food is great – oh, I already said that. The service has always been impeccable – they go the extra step to please the customer. Want something that is not available at this location – they have gone to pick it up from their other restaurant and serve it to you just to make sure you leave satisfied, full, happy & content. Can’t say this about many places. I always have a hard time deciding what to eat when I get there because I have so many favorites. Always end up ordering a couple appetizers; garlic cheese bread is a must, meatballs are a must and then it’s so hard to leave out the bruschetta as the flavors uplift the taste buds in such a good way. I do order an entree (most of which ends up going home with me – I love Kenny’s Italian left over too!) and am not sure what my favorite is, hmmm maybe the mushroom ravioli. But their specials such as the chicken or shrimp pesto tortellini are irresistible. If not planning on going that night & find out its the special I just have to go by and get it as take out. Sundays – meatball madness – yummm! So Erin, the person who made the comment that they live in the area and isn’t going to bother trying this place out – you are really doing a disservice to yourself – denying your taste buds such a pleasurable experience. As for the reviewer, everybody is entitled to their own opinion. But it is a shame that your opinion may prevent others from enjoying this fine restaurant.

  • Shauna in Dallas

    Having been to this restaurant many times I have to say that I and several friends of mine have enjoyed the food each and every time we’ve gone. Having been to Italy and had the pleasure of eating authentic Italian food…it is no comparison. If you take Kenny’s Italian for what it is which is a kitschy type of American Italian interpretation then you will be pleased! I always get the Eggplant Parmesan and my husband the Bone in Veal. I tried the gnocchi recently and did find it to be overcooked. As with any restaurant though, even the most top notch in the city, there will always be problems with the cooks in the kitchen. This isn’t fine dining, take it or leave it! I love it myself!

  • Tim Permenter

    I hope you are doing well, it’s been too long.
    I too love Kenny’s Italian but I do not have a sophisticated palate as you and am probably much easier to please. I love their Midnight Meatballs and their garlic cheese bread along with the Layer Cake Primitivo. Very simple but very hard to beat. (It’s meat, cheese & bread, like a cheeseburger, a beef burrito, lasagna, pizza, etc.) I have taken over a dozen people since it has opened and everyone has been very pleased with their meals. The Veal and Chicken Picatta dishes are outstanding. I admit I have not had any of their seafood but I would venture across the street to our friend’s place if I wanted fish.
    I hope our paths cross soon!

  • JG

    So are the above comments you get when you pay for “online reputation” corrective services?

    Seems to be money well spent. *makes note for future*

  • PWH

    When I first read this review in D Magazine, the first comment to my spouse was “this review sounds almost personal” as it was so scathing. We have been to this restaurant many, many times – from the early days (which needed work – pasta, meatballs and dessert) to now every Friday for our perfect date night. Kenny and his management staff took early customer comments to heart and vowed to keep improving so that all customers enjoy the food, the service and the wine everytime. As another commenter mentioned – we too have been to Italy and eaten authentic Italian food…and we agree, it is no comparison. But Kenny’s Italian is “americanized” Italian which appeals to most all walks of life… as long as you are not expecting authentic gourmet Italian – at a Kenny’s economically reasonable prices!!! And as commented abovet and I cannot say it better: “This isn’t fine dining, take it or leave it! WE LOVE IT!

  • Paul

    Being a New England transplant I’ve forever searched for an Italian restaurant in the area I like. Because I love Kenny’s other restaurants I had such high hopes for the Italian Kitchen and couldn’t have been more disappointed. I’ve been three times now only because I love the Burger Joint and Wood Fired Grill so much I felt I had to give them a chance. Never again. The meatballs somehow got smaller and more bland each time.

    I still have a gift card I was given after my last disappointing visit that will go unused.