Olive Garden, the beloved Italian-American restaurant chain, is known for its warm atmosphere, endless breadsticks, and an extensive menu that caters to a variety of tastes. While Olive Garden offers many delicious dishes that are sure to satisfy your cravings for Italian cuisine, not every item on the menu is a guaranteed hit. Join us as we explore the Olive Garden menu and identify a selection of items you can safely skip.
1. Breadsticks and Salad as a Meal
Olive Garden is famous for its complimentary breadsticks and salads, which are typically served before the main course. While they are undeniably delicious, opting for just breadsticks and salad as a meal may leave you longing for a more substantial dish. The menu offers a wide range of enticing pasta, chicken, and seafood options that provide a more fulfilling dining experience.
2. Tour of Italy
The Tour of Italy is a signature dish at Olive Garden, featuring lasagna, chicken Alfredo, and fettuccine Alfredo all on one plate. While it may sound like a feast, the portion sizes can be overwhelming, and the combination of flavors doesn’t always harmonize as expected. Consider ordering a single entrée that you truly desire for a more enjoyable meal.
3. Shrimp Scampi
Shrimp Scampi is a dish that can be hit or miss at Olive Garden. The shrimp may sometimes be overcooked, and the sauce can lack the vibrant lemony and garlicky flavors that you’d hope for. Instead of Shrimp Scampi, try the Shrimp Alfredo or the Seafood Alfredo for a better seafood pasta experience.
4. Eggplant Parmigiana
While Olive Garden offers various delicious vegetarian options, the Eggplant Parmigiana can be a letdown. The breading on the eggplant can sometimes be too thick, and the dish may feel heavy. Opt for the Five Cheese Ziti al Forno or the Spaghetti with Marinara for a lighter and more enjoyable vegetarian choice.
5. Braised Beef & Tortelloni
The Braised Beef & Tortelloni can be underwhelming, and the portion size may not justify the price. The flavors can lack the depth and richness you’d expect from a beef dish. Consider trying the Grilled Chicken Margherita or the Chicken Alfredo instead for a more satisfying experience.
6. Soup and Salad Combo
While Olive Garden’s soups and salads are well-loved, ordering them as a combo might not be the best choice. The portion sizes can be smaller than expected, and the total cost can add up. It’s more cost-effective and satisfying to order a single entrée with soup or salad as a side.
7. Chicken & Gnocchi Soup
The Chicken & Gnocchi Soup is a popular appetizer at Olive Garden, but it might not be to everyone’s taste. The soup can be overly creamy, and the consistency of the gnocchi can vary. For a different soup experience, consider the Pasta e Fagioli or Minestrone.
8. Chicken Alfredo Pizza Bowl
The Chicken Alfredo Pizza Bowl, while creative, may not live up to the expectations. The combination of pizza dough, Alfredo sauce, and toppings can result in a heavy and overly rich dish. Instead, try the Lasagna Classico or the Stuffed Fettuccine Alfredo for a more traditional Italian meal.
9. Herb-Grilled Salmon
The Herb-Grilled Salmon at Olive Garden can sometimes be dry, and the flavor may not be as vibrant as desired. If you’re a seafood lover, the Grilled Shrimp Scampi or the Shrimp Alfredo might be more satisfying choices.
10. Spaghetti with Meatballs
While Spaghetti with Meatballs is a classic Italian dish, Olive Garden’s version may not always meet your expectations. The meatballs can sometimes be dense, and the sauce may lack the robust flavors you desire. If you’re in the mood for pasta, the Five Cheese Ziti al Forno or the Chicken Alfredo are delightful alternatives.
11. Five Cheese Marinara Penne
This pasta dish, while cheesy, can sometimes be overly heavy. The richness of the cheese and the sauce can make the dish feel overwhelming. If you’re a fan of pasta, consider the Fettuccine Alfredo or the Chicken Carbonara for a more balanced flavor profile.
12. Stuffed Mushrooms
Olive Garden’s Stuffed Mushrooms can be hit or miss. The filling may not always have the desired consistency and flavor, and the dish can be overly greasy. Instead of Stuffed Mushrooms, try the Classic Shrimp Scampi Fritta for a tasty start to your meal.
13. Margherita Pizza
While Margherita pizza is a classic Italian favorite, Olive Garden’s version may not always live up to the standard. The pizza can sometimes be underwhelming in terms of flavor and texture. If you’re in the mood for pizza, the Cheese or Pepperoni Pizza might be a safer choice.
14. Asiago Tortelloni Alfredo
The Asiago Tortelloni Alfredo can be overly creamy and rich, making it a heavy choice for a meal. If you’re looking for a satisfying pasta dish, the Spaghetti with Meat Sauce or the Lasagna Classico may be more appealing.
15. Chicken Giardino
The Chicken Giardino can sometimes be a lackluster option. The flavors may not be as vibrant as you’d hope for, and the dish can feel uninspired. For a more flavorful chicken dish, consider the Chicken Alfredo or the Chicken Margherita.
Conclusion: Savor the Best
When dining at Olive Garden, you have the opportunity to explore a diverse range of Italian-inspired dishes. While some menu items are sure to delight your taste buds, others may not deliver the experience you’re looking for.