Monday, April 25, 2011

The Olive Garden Review

I've done a few restaurant reviews now but this will be the first US restaurant. The Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant and it strives to please every guest with a very simple Italian flare. I must say before I continue that British Columbia only has one Olive Garden and I have no idea if the Olive Garden restaurants in the US (or other provinces) operate the same way. I'm going to judge the Olive Garden based off of what I know. 

So I've been to the Langley, BC Olive Garden twice, and both times there was a 45 minute wait to get a table. I'm not really too fond of waiting but usually when you have to wait for something, it's good. The unfortunate side to the wait is that you aren't able to make reservations, so you have to actually show up and wait through the crowd. Luckily they have wireless receivers that tell you when your table is ready. The wife and I took advantage of the receiver and "waited" in the car for our table. I would probably dock a point for the wait, but the wireless receiver makes it bearable.

Once your wireless receiver flashes and vibrates you head to the host stand and you are greeted and escorted to your table. I found that the hostess was friendly and tried her hardest to act like she wanted to be there. She led us through multiple rooms that made it seem like the restaurant was never ending. I was amazed that the restaurant was so big. Now because there was multiple smaller rooms, the dining experience felt like you were in a smaller place, which I enjoyed! I hate it when you are led into a massive stadium of a restaurant and it's so loud and everyone is looking over at you. Ian awards 1 point for dining experience and restaurant styling.

After sitting down, I looked through the menu and picked what I wanted. When you order you also need to pick an appetizer, because they're free. Woah, back the truck up... did I say free? Yes, when you order an entree you pick one of the soups or salads and it doesn't cost you anything more. Oh and the appetizers are unlimited. Woah, back up again... did I s unlay unlimited? Yes, appetizers are free and unlimited. Also, before you even order, you get free unlimited bread sticks. Ian awards 1 point for free bread sticks and appetizers and another 1 point for making both items unlimited.

So for my meals I tend to gravitate to similar dishes every time. This time I got the Spaghetti and Meatballs but I substituted the Meatballs for Italian Sausage. I have been to the Olive Garden twice now, and I honestly can't tell you how long the wait time is on the main course. I'm confident that the reason is that they distract you with drinks, unlimited bread and appetizers so you don't even notice the time go by. If I had to guess though, I would say that the food comes faster than average. So my Spaghetti arrives and it looks great. The Olive Garden opted to give full size sausages instead of pre-cut chunks, which is fine by me as I know how to use a knife. I ate the whole thing and found the portion size to be about average and the taste to be, a fraction below what I would expect. I'm not sure if it's because I was so gorged on bread and appetizer that I just wasn't as interested, but the main course wasn't great. Like I said before, I've been twice and this was the case in both instances, even though I ordered different food. Ian subtracts 1 point for a disappointing main course.

I felt bad for the subtraction so I thought of a reason to add a point. I really, really like the overall eating experience at the Olive Garden. I like the restaurant, the service, the servers, the bread, the appetizers and kinda the diner. I love the fact that when you go to the Olive Garden, you leave happy and full. Everyone has a great time because everyone is laughing at how everything is unlimited. It sounds corny, but nothing makes a person happier than getting their moneys worth. Ian awards 1 point for the customer getting every penny's worth at the Olive Garden.

If you haven't been keeping track, we've hit 4 points total. That puts the Olive Garden on par with Anton's Itallian Restaurant. If I were you, I'd rally up a few friends and head down there for dinner as once your past the line up, your guaranteed to have a good time and leave on a full stomach. Eat there!


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