Pros: Good food, outstanding salad and lunch special!
Cons: Entrees are a bit pricey for the quality of food.
I have been to our local Olive Garden several times for both dinner and lunch visits. I enjoy the atmosphere, it's always alive and packed with customers which is annoying when there is so much talking going on that you can't hear others talking at your table. Most of the time you end up waiting for a table because the place is so popular. Olive Garden has lots to offer, the food is decent, some things are better than others, and the service is usually top-notch. All in all it is usually a nice way to have dinner out of the house.
You are usually greeted with a line going through the door at the Baton Rouge, Louisiana location. You will have to mingle your way through the door to see the hostesses and be placed on the wait list.
The bar is to your immediate left as you enter the restaurant. It is a center bar with seating all around it shaped like a square. This area is usually half full due to customers frequenting the bar while waiting on a table.
The dining area is fairly large. It starts on the other side of the wall from the bar to the end of the building and then back to your right all the way to the end of the building. The kitchen is located right behind the hostesses station as you enter the building.
There are both tables and booths at the Olive Garden in our area. There are partial walls with spindles going to the ceiling to separate dining areas. Bottles of wine decorate the walls and make for a nice impression.
Olive Garden is a great family oriented restaurant but equally good for a business lunch and/or dinner or an escape for a night out without the kids.
Olive Garden is famous for it's all you can eat salad and breadsticks at lunch. You also get a bowl of soup with this for only $5.95. This is a very filling meal and healthy too! The salad is quite tasty and includes various vegetables, shredded cheese and croutons.
The menu contains mostly Italian dishes as expected and most are quite satisfying. However, some of the prices attached to the entrees are a bit overboard in my opinion. I don't think their Italian food is anything to write home about. It's good but nothing outstanding.
Entrees served are varied. Even though this is a typical Italian Restaurant, they serve grilled food, chicken, fish, and seafood.
You can expect to see several varieties of Ravioli on the menu as well as, Lasagna, Spaghetti, Eggplant or Chicken Parmigiana, Shrimp Scampi, herb grilled salmon, Tuscon T-Bone, Mixed Grill, Chicken and Seafood Alfredo, and much more! Prices range from $7.75 to $19.95. They have daily specials and also offer a Children's Menu that starts at $3.95 to $4.75.
There are also several dessert items on the menu. They have a classic Italian favorite called Tiramisu which has creamy custard layered with Lady Fingers. It is very rich and so yummy! They also have a limited variety of cheesecakes and other pastries/cakes. Prices range from $4.25 to $5.50 each.
Service has always been very good when I have dined at Olive Garden at either lunch or dinner. The waitresses are all very attentive and knowledgeable about the menu and the wines served. You will find a nice selection of wines here. They have a nice collection of "Signature Wines" as their house wines and are available for $3.95 per glass.
The only complaint in the service department is if you arrive at peak hours and have to wait for a table. This can be annoying but you should know to expect it at any decent restaurant. However, the wait at Olive Garden is frequently up to one hour for a table. When this happens we usually go somewhere else.
Once you are seated, the service is usually outstanding which makes up for a slight delay in waiting for a table.
My Thoughts On Olive Garden
I have tried various things on the menu here. I will say that the soup/salad/breadstick offer is my favorite for lunch. It is quite filling and satisfying and only $5.95. This is what I had on my last visit to Olive Garden this past week. The salad was delicious and contained lettuce, red cabbage, carrot slivers, black olives, banana peppers, onions, and fresh shredded cheese in a light Italian dressing. It was very fresh and appetizing.
I also like the stuffed ravioli's. They are rich and tasty and usually over-filling for me after a dinner salad. The eggplant parmigiana is another one of my favorites. It is also quite tasty and in a rich Italian sauce.
I enjoy dining here on occasion but it is not my favorite place to dine. For the prices paid here, I'd rather get a nice juicy steak or seafood platter most of the time. However, it is a nice change of pace and flavor.
If you are looking for a quiet night out, I would not recommend Olive Garden. Each time I have dined here, it has been extremely noisy at both lunch and dinner times.
I think Olive Garden is an average place to dine. My personal thinking tells me this place is way over-rated. The food is nothing outstanding but good and decent. As for a true Italian meal of outstanding quality we frequent another establishment. On the other hand, good service is something not too common these days, so I'm bumping up the rating a bit here. Average food, great service! I give Olive Garden 4 Stars.
© 2006 Birdfeather