Adventures in Eating & Cooking
Yes, I went to Olive Garden for the first time to celebrate Kappi’s birthday. Oh, and what a typical elegant chain restaurant it was! Not that it was bad, but rather a pleasant experience.
Oddly enough, my favorite part of the meal was the giant unlimited salad bowls part of the appetizer. Just some tossed greens, tomatoes, well-seasoned croutons, and a few pepperocini peppers. All this was coated with a delicious olive oil-based dressing, which is probably what made the salad superb. I had expected Ranch or some other fatty mayo dressing from an American chain, but Olive Garden’s salad was a pleasant surprise!
And then there were those infamous bread sticks… Yes they were warm, doughy, bready, yummy but not exactly bursting with flavor. From Italian bread sticks, I always expect oil and a heaping of garlic and herbs (well, mostly garlic). Of course the fluffiness and brilliance of the bread is essential, but the flavor is also very important and I found Olive Garden’s a bit bland. My favorite bread sticks are still Pizza Hut‘s… (Oh those fluffy, warm, GARLICKY, buttery things!)
I thought my entree of Seafood Brodetto was so-so. (I probably should have sucked in the extra 300 calories and stuck with the Shrimp & Crab Tortellini…) Well the toasted ciabatta bread was delicious when dabbed in the soup, but some of the seafood pieces were a bit bland. The description claimed there was white wine sauce used, but I could barely taste it in the tomatoey soup. It did have a nice aroma though.
Finally, I must say the service was terrible as our waiter was prone to skipping certain people at our table. He even got the checks wrong… Funny story actually because I had almost gotten a free meal, except the check was eventually found when the waiter accidentally billed it to my friend’s account. Lovely.
Overall, I would go to Olive Garden again, just because it’s reasonably priced for Italian and I rarely get to eat Italian (so maybe I”m a bit easily impressed). Plus some of the other items on the menu sounded pretty tantalizing.