A bad experience at this chain’s branch in Boldon, in which I waited almost an hour for a meal, had put me off returning.
But on a recent trip to the Empire cinema, Frankie and Benny’s was the most convenient venue for a pre-flick food pit stop.
Though the food here is nothing fancy, it’s great for simple meals in a relaxed setting. Which is probably why it’s managed to survive in a corner of the city where its neighbours have come and gone.
In contrast to my last Frankie’s experience, service at the Sunderland branch was friendly and fast.
We told the waitress what time our film was due to start and she assured us our meals would arrive with plenty of time to spare – perfect.
The menu is vast and though you have to wade through umpteen options of pizza, pasta, salads and American-Italian-inspired grub, it pretty much has something for everyone.
I went with one of the hot wraps – goats cheese and caramelised onion for £9.95.
It’s perhaps a little over-priced for a wrap but you get a hearty portion for your pennies with a side of coleslaw, choice of house fries, salad or a jacket potato. It was an uncomplicated dish, but it hit the spot and I had no complaints taste-wise.
Though most of the dishes on offer come with lashings of cheese, sauce and other ingredients which laugh in the face of a svelte silhouette, there’s also a range of lighter bites for the more waistline-conscious featuring dishes such as crab salad and low-fat pizzas.
With drinks, our bill came to £30 but we were able to shave £10 off that thanks to a voucher code.
Google the name of the restaurant along with the word voucher and there’s plenty to be found.