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Olive Garden - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Dining

The Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant chain which has branches all over Orlando and the surrounding areas. It’s building is very Italian with plates on the walls, vast selections of wines and pictures and murals of Italy on all the walls. Even the tiles on the floor are Italian.

On arriving at your table, the waiting staff bring a sample bottle of wine for you to taste and then (hopefully) buy. Do check, however, how much the bottle or glass will be as they sometimes push the dearest wines, not always though, I was offered a very inexpensive Lambrussco to try – very pleasant if you like sparkling light wines. They sell wine by the glass in 2 sizes, 6oz or 9 oz. or in bottles.

The menu is huge and features all the usual Italian favourites such as Chicken Parmigiana with pasta in tomato sauce (my particular favourite) plus more than a few American additions, such as spaghetti with meat balls and pasta AlFredo (who I believe was an Italian immigrant restaurateur). They are served up with the option of fresh parmesan cheese which is added straight from a cheese grater.

All meals come with as much salad and hot garlic rolls as you like. My problem is the salad, with its own unique dressing, and the rolls are so good, I hardly have any room left for the main course. Of course like all American restaurants, they serve far more than anyone can eat so taking home left overs is not a problem. In Italy or the UK the Chicken Parmigiana would be one piece of chicken not two! One day I will ask for more salad and rolls and have them serve my main course directly into a take away box!

The desserts look absolutely magnificent, but I can not describe them to you as I have never been able to save enough room to eat one! There is Tirimasu (of course) plus cheesecakes and chocolate puddings and cakes or you could try their trio of desserts which are smaller sizes of their most popular desserts.

These restaurants seem to be more leisurely as well, more European, without the frantic rush to serve, that most of the steak restaurants specialise in. They also offer coffee after the meal which never happens in American restaurants.

When the bill is presented, it comes with two after dinner chocolates each which makes a lovely end to a very special dining experience.

Do try it, you will not be disappointed.

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