Florida Guide > Dining
Olive Garden - Casual Family Italian Dining
A visit to an Olive Garden restaurant is always a must for our family during a visit to Florida. There are several locations for these restaurants, which are part of the Darden restaurant group, and we always have a pleasant dining experience whenever we visit the Olive Garden.
With an Italian theme for the restaurant, you can be sure of an excellent meal whenever you visit. We have always found the portions at Olive Gardens such that we can manage a main course and nothing else! Usually the meal starts with some warm garlic bread sticks and a choice of either soup or salad, both of which are unlimited. We usually choose the salad and it comes lightly dressed. Everyone in the family loves this garden salad, although some will leave out one item or another, but the bowl is quickly emptied! It is tempting to fill up at this point on the bread sticks and the salad as they are both very tasty, however, you really must resist as you will want to have room for the main course!
There is an extensive selection of items on the menu to choose from, all with an Italian heritage. The menu features different sections with offerings of pizza or pasta as well as other offerings. There are classic dishes which always feature, for example lasagna or fettuccine alfredo. The menu is also varied with specials being added seasonally. The specials are always worth checking before ordering as often we have found them to be very tempting!
Although the Italian influence is present throughout the menu, there are alternatives from pasta and pizza for those who don' t want a dish which is heavy in carbs. As you would expect, the seafood and fish section of the menu offers many excellent choices.
I would love to go on and talk about the desert menu and while I am aware of it . . . I couldn' t possibly comment on any of the dishes! We' ve never made it that far! The desert choices do look very tempting, though, with classics like Tiramisu and Zeppoli, which are traditional Italian doughnuts served with a chocolate dipping sauce. I am sure they are all delicious and I really must try harder in the future!
With a strong Italian theme throughout it is nice to know that the Olive Garden actually does place an importance on the Italian connection. In Tuscany they have their own culinary institute where chefs and managers can go to receive training and inspiration for the restaurants.
We have always found the service to be prompt and polite at Olive Gardens. Sometimes there can be a wait for a table, so you may want to plan ahead a little for dining there, especially if your group involves young children. As a family orientated restaurant, the Olive Garden caters well for the young children with a separate menu with an excellent selection. All in all, the Olive Garden is definitely a favourite choice for us.
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