Saturday, April 26, 2014

Review: Olive Garden

I loved Olive Garden as a child (and still to this day!) - I mean, who doesn't enjoy the breadsticks, the raspberry lemonade, the spaghetti, and the mint chocolates at the end of the meal? At one time I was so picky I didn't even eat the salad, but I've grown to love the salad and breadsticks and I'm proud to say it's my favorite part of the Olive Garden experience.

I'm sure many of you have gone to Olive Garden and tried the foods I ate when I was there this past Thursday, however I'd like to provide my commentary so you know exactly what goes through my head as I'm chowing down on that one last breadstick, or forkful of salad, or spoonful of pasta.

To start with the salad - always order the classic garden fresh salad with the Italian dressing, and ask your waitress to put freshly grated cheese on top of the salad. It's Olive Garden's Italian salad dressing, which I am sure is not in the least bit healthy, that really makes the salad an Olive Garden salad.

Since the breadsticks come out with the salad, I recommend having 1 breadstick with the salad, and then waiting to have a second or third breadstick once your entree comes (hopefully you order an entree with a tomato or cheese sauce). Because guess what. Dipping the breadstick in your pasta's sauce is the best thing EVER!

For the main dish I decided to try something I'd never tried before - and I chose the Tour of Italy. For a little over $17.00, I got myself a portion of lasagna, fettuccine alfredo, and chicken parmesan. The lasagna had what I thought was ricotta cheese in it (or whatever cheese it was, I definitely liked it!) and the portion of fettuccine alfredo was the perfect size for 1 person. Unfortunately I've seen others struggle to eat an entire entree of fettuccine alfredo themselves, and it hasn't ended well and sadly fettuccine alfredo doesn't keep well as leftovers. The most disappointing part of the Tour was the chicken parmesan. It was a thinly breaded chicken breast that didn't have much flavor. The majority of the flavor came from the tomato sauce and cheese that covered the top of the chicken. I would have been so sad if I'd just ordered chicken parmesan as my entree, so be warned if you are a chicken fan.

Olive Garden did have some newer menu options this time around. They had small plate appetizers if you want a starter but not a ton of food. They also offer a build-your-own pasta option, where you choose the noodles and sauce for your entree, as well as any extras like meatballs. Olive Garden also offers lower calorie entrees, as well as gluten free pasta if that's up your alley!

  • Always order salad and breadsticks
  • Don't order the chicken parmesan under any circumstances

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