I love to eat out whenever I get the chance. I specifically love Italian food. When given the chance to dine at Italian restaurants, I rarely turn down the opportunity. Olive Garden has been on the list of my restaurants for a while. I’ve eaten at Olive Garden many times; however, I rarely get anything different each time I visit. But the one thing I can’t stand about Olive Garden is the amount of time you spend consuming your food. For me and my wife, it’s less than an hour. This has a lot to do with the atmosphere we live in. The idea of “modernized Italian food” for the American consumer is about as ridiculous as Taco Bell trying to replicate Tex-Mex. The world “Italian” symbolizes family, food, and time. Olive Garden fails in this aspect. Whenever I go to Olive Garden, people are sitting, eating, leaving. It seems like people only go to the restaurant to eat and leave. I’m sorry; this isn’t a place on filling you up as fast as it can. Relax, don’t rush. If you’re in a hurry, go grab some McDonald’s. What ever happened to relaxation?
As far as the food, some of it is good, other dishes could be a lot better. Example, the “Tour of Italy” is less a tour and more of a fly-by landing in Venice. It should be a truly divine dish, several courses, and an example of the elegance of Italian culture. From the wine at the beginning to the coffee at the end, it’s supposed to be beauty at it’s finest. You receive everything on one plate, crammed together, with no presentation. Dining shouldn’t just be about the taste of the food, but the display of it. To feed ones eyes, to put it in a better expression. However, in this case, it’s a mockery.
The “Chicken Parmigiana” is another example of two cultures clashing. The results are 2 rectangular shaped, 1 inch chicken patties, lightly breaded, with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, with a side of angel hair pasta. Aside from the appearance, the taste isn’t the greatest thing in the world Dried out patties with a complete slap in the face side of pasta, did I order from the kid’s menu?
But enough of the negativity surrounding the amount of food and taste, I said there’s only a couple of things I get when I go to Olive Garden. The salad and bread sticks. The one thing I have to give to Olive Garden is the taste of their salads and the tender, warmth of their bread sticks. The salad dressing used is a nice Italian with not a lot of over powering taste. And the bread sticks with the marinara sauce are out of this world. This is probably the reason why I keep coming back, and forgetting the little things in life. If you want a quick lunch, go there for those two things. Throw the menu away, just get the salad and bread sticks. I would never consider Olive Garden a “true” Italian restaurant. But more so, an Americanized attempt at replicating something that we’ve failed at horribly.