Taken from website:
Olive Garden’s Culinary Institute of Tuscany, located in the heart of Tuscany, Italy in a restored 11th century village, is where Olive Garden’s chefs learn the secrets of great Italian cooking - like how to combine fresh ingredients - to create authentic Italian dishes that you’ll enjoy sharing with your family and friends.
My gf and I had joked in the past about coming here and recently it turned into reality when she was craving pasta and I was willing to deal with the lineups.
They portray a family oriented position, along the lines of The Pantry and White Spot and very much like what you'd like in the US. The space feels like a large suburban home divided up into different sections and you are surrounded by families and children making for a pretty lively and G rated atmosphere.
Knowing that it came with unlimited salad and breaksticks we passed on starters. The salad was decidely better than you would expect for limitless sides and was much more than just iceberg lettuce with croutons, red onion, olives and even a decent house vinagrette dressing. The breadsticks were fresh and brushed with a little oil, salt and I think garlic powder but I thought they were mediocre at best and wouldn't fill up on it given the menu choices. My gf's braised beef tortelloni was a full on dish. The beef shortribs were tender and was quite good for flavour while the tortelloni had an unexciting asiago filling. The supposed marsala that was used was pretty timid among the cheese, portobello and beef. I ordered the chicken and shrimp carbonara with perfectly cooked plump shrimps and breast meat that was still fork tender. The pancetta, although not cooked to a bacon crisp livened up the parmesan cream sauce making it the best pasta dish of the two. Portions aren't as daunting as I thought but these you really leave packed. We finished off the meal with a couple of mini desserts, a tiramisu and a strawberry shortcake which ended a rather satisfying meal.
Given the reviews I figured the service could be on and off depending on who you got. Luckily for us it was fantastic all round. They gave introductions, ran through the menu, and prompted us ahead of time when another server would take care of us. This along with timely checkups and some small banter without going over the top was a welcomed and somewhat unusual find these days. Looking at the other tables around us the service looked to be much of the same as well.
We weren't expecting to be wowed with the food but I can see why it's such a popular place. It really is that family friendly restaurant.
We have been to the Olive Garden many times and have taken many people there. We have never been disappointed. The service is always great even though the place is always busy. Everyone there is very friendly and the manger is on the ball. We have nothing negative to say about this place.
If all you want is soup and salad for $9.99 then this is the place. However I wanted pasta and my spouce wanted lasagne. We waited a really long time for our entrees. And when they came they were dried out from sitting under the heat lamp. It was obvious! I complained and when the manager came he told me I was wrong. When I pointed out the dried out top of the lasagne, he gave me some bs and told me I was wrong! He never even apologized! So basically, they slapped a chunk of lasagne on a plate stuck it under the heat lamp and because of the shift change forgot about us. We paid $70 for lunch and it was not worth it.
This place has carpet on the floor with ground in food, noisy bus boys clanging dishes and silverware, staff pushing chairs past our table, and gathering in groups to discuss seating assignments. It's very noisy and busy and when I eat I like a little peace. You won't get it here.
Had a great experience here! Wish the place was bigger, because it's SO busy! There were a lot of people getting take out (we were seated, right across from the take out area) which makes me think it's good! We got seated promptly as we arrived pretty early in the evening. The soup was AMAZING!
I enjoyed the whole experience.
Everytime we drive past Langley, my wife insists on dining at Olive Garden.
I am no fan of the place (I prefer Montana's across the parking lot), especially when the average wait time is 30 minutes for both lunch and dinner. Once, we called ahead to reserve a table, but we still had to wait for about 15 minutes when we arrived.
The bottomless bread and soup/salad are marvelous. The entrees are generally good. Dessert? Frankly, we have never tried it because after the entree, we are always stuffed!!!
Service is always good, friendly and efficient.
Ambience - well it is ..... comfortable (???). I think they try to make you feel like you are in a small Tuscany village.
Return? Definitely - but it will be because my wife wants to. The food and service are all pretty good, but the queue for table ...
Olive Garden has always been a hit with me. I've dined there several times but wanted to have a more recent experience before reviewing it.
Food: I have to admit, the quality has gone down a bit, especially with their sign. Zuppa Toscana soup, but it's still pretty good. The best thing about this place is that you get unlimited breadsticks and soup/salad with your meal. An average entree costs about $15-18, but if you load up on the unlimited sides and pack up your unfinished entree, it's like dining 2 meals for the price of 1. My sister got the soup and salad lunch deal. All you can stuff for only $8.95 at lunch time. You also get yummy Andes mint chocolate with your bill at the end of your meal.
Service: A little bit lacking in service from our Lindsay Lohan look-a-like server, but we still got minimal attitude. Service could be improved.
Ambiance: The restaurant is like you're inside an Italian villa. I think the decor is awesome.
Just go for soup and salad during the day (at night it costs a lot more). The service is excellent and they are very organized about the wait time - even a pager so you can shop till your turn comes up. The salad is excellent and the soups are wonderful. But the huge entres are bland and boring. Quality over quantity is a problem here. You almost have to leave with a doggie bag as the portions are enormous. I can never understand why it is so busy. The food is just not that good.
OK I'll say I'm mostly just a sucker for the non-stop salad (and bread sticks to a lesser degree). I find the salad very tasty, I like how it's all chilled and there is a Jalapeno in there. The pop is refillable which is a big plus for me.
The entrees themselves are not all so hot. Some are fairly tasty while some of their plain pasta is just not very good at all. It's nothing close to Anton's.
They seem to take their service fairly serious here. No real complaints here.
I like the building this place is in.
It's too bad there is only one and it's all the way out in Langley or we would go more often. Before the Langley location, we used to actually cross the border and drive to Bellingham the odd time to get our fix. Looking back that just seems retarded as the place isn't THAT good.
It's cheap and they refill soup and bread for free.
Pizza - $12.99
This giant slice of pizza was so big that the server had to cut it in half. We chose the meat lovers pizza which had pepperoni and sausage in it. The crust was surprisingly delicious and we both enjoyed this pizza.
Our family with Grands, Parents and kids (toddler too), all showed up for supper. It was really busy (sign of a great place!) and there was an hour wait. We were treated to bread and dip while waiting in the beautiful sunshine.
Bobbi, our server, was really friendly and energetic. While she apologized for how busy it was, she still managed to serve us as if we were her only diners. She had some great suggestions and happily refilled glasses and bowls of soup. She treated my children as people and not a torture. While it helped that my children happen to use their Ps and Qs, the equality was appreciated. Her small note to my In-Laws was sweet and personalized. She's definitely a keeper for this restaurant.
The wine suggestion was happily received, loved that a taste was offered before we decided on a wine. The Zuppa Toscana is delish and the Seafood Brodetto was exactly what I needed as I had been feeling slightly under the weather. Everyone raved about their food and we are definitely going to go back. For the quality and quantity of food and service, the price is not undeserved.
The only real downer was just how busy it was and how long we had to wait. As pretty as the place was, it was as crowded as a mall. I strongly suggest reservations if you don't want to wait the hour or so.
There is a romantic feel from the moment you walk in, with strings of little lights and a Tuscan decor. Absolutely outstanding service, offered a wine tasting as soon as you sit down, and unlimited bread sticks/soup/salad with every entree!
A couple of times we have ordered the trio appetizer platter, which we have stopped getting because nearly all of the options are deep fried and come out a little dry. The ziti four-cheese pasta is delicious! Italian sodas are a nice treat to have in lieu of dessert. Also very nice to see the managers walking around and interacting with the tables. They charm us every time. I am sure we will be back many more times.
Stopped in for an early dinner - we were seated right away.
The meal was delicious. The salads were huge, crisp and fresh I agree with another reviewer to have the hot peppers removed, no one eats them. We shared an appetizer - scampi on toast with a really nice sauce. Then we each had a pasta dish, the servings were huge with lots of seafood. Not the quickest wait staff, but polite and helpful. I'm looking forward to another visit.
We made a reservation at Olive Garden Langley, were told the table would be available at 7pm, as we had out of town family coming in we wanted to make sure a table would be available for our party. We still waited over 40 minutes (past our 7pm reservation time.) The salad and breadsticks were great as usual, food was decent, I wouldn't say great, but decent. I have definatly had better Italian. Our server was okay, not the most attentive, but ok. Not sure the chaos, noise and wait times are worth the visit. An average experience.
I went here with my now fiancé, and it's nothing but amazing.
the décor, was great and romantic; I love how busy it is! wonderful atmosphere.
we will return again.
there was wine tasting, waiter was on the ball, we felt so happy with the service that we are definitely returning.
the tuscan Italian feel was very unique & romantic - I loved every moment of it
I'm glad my fiancé has great taste.
One of the best in Langley.
Went to try this busy place out, and see what the fuss was, well the salad is nice, and a couple bread sticks, was tasty, but the meal was very cheap and small considering it was pretty expensive. Almost 20 dollars for a small plate of pasta with chopped tomatoes, and tiny piece of chicken on top, which is so small I barely could tell chicken was there, they had so many tomatoes on it. The old spa factory is a much better deal for about the same food. I was disappointed that this meal was so cheap, and yet cost so much on their menu. I went there to order veggie lasagna because I dont eat beef, well they didnt have veggie, which was also strange, even the waiter said how strange, can just take out the beef. Well I will not go there again, too much for they hype, and not worth the actual meal they give you.
Been here on several occasions for lunch. I'm a sucker for their unlimited salad/breadsticks concept as other reviewers have commented. I find the pasta dishes to be quite tasty, but the best deal is the unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks for $8.50. They let you try all four types of their soups if you want - perfect on a wet winter day. The service is usually good, but this last time takes the cake. Our server seemed somewhat forgetful, having forgotten the cheese one time and messing up our soup orders, but she apologized a couple times and was very personable so the mistakes weren't a big deal.
The only bad thing is that the food is a bit on the salty side. Oh, and if you order the refillable drinks be sure to get a refill. Paying $3 for one glass of iced tea was a bit of a rip off.
- The salad and soup along with the breadsticks are great.
- The salad is really some things thrown together; the ice berg lettuce sometimes isnt even broken up properly but it is always fresh.
- All 3 choice of soups are great and the breadsticks are amazing with or without the dipping sauces.
- The Chicken Marsala is amazing - must have!
- We went on a Tuesday night so it wasnt busy - no complaints.
- I guess we need to go back on a Saturday to see what its all about.
- This place looks amazing. Rustic kind of look.
- Super clean and great standards.
Everything in perspective this place is a little over-priced. I guess the free appy food makes up for that...?
My boyfriend and I are expecting a baby, so instead of going out partying on NYE he asked me where I would like to eat, and I chose Olive Garden. We expected upwards of an hour to wait, but when we arrived we were pleased to hear that it would only be about 20 minutes. They gave us a pager and offered us seats at the bar. My boyfriend ordered a double Caesar, and I watched the bartender put more than two shots in it, and he garnished it beautifully with olives, spicy pepperoni, and onions. Best looking Caesar I ever saw!!
Promptly 20 minutes later we were seated, and our server at once seemed very friendly and up beat. We chatted with him a bit as we looked over our menus, and he offered me a taste of red wine they had on special. My boyfriend ordered the stuffed mushrooms as an appy, and I ordered the spinach and artichoke dip. When they arrived, my boyfriend was less than impressed with the mushrooms and felt he had made the wrong choice. He wasn't too shy to tell the waiter either, who comped that appetizer and offered to bring him a new one. My appetizer was excellent. For dinner, we ordered the Italian Feast which is three different small portions of the pasta dishes off of their Classic Recipes menu. I had the fettuccine, cheese ravioli, and chicken parm and bf had the same except marinated grilled chicken instead of chicken parm. All was good except the chicken parm, which I didn't end up eating. I found it a bit rubbery (I am pregnant though and wary about eating anything that might make me feel sick).
Oh I should also mention that the breadsticks and salad were both excellent, and bf had the minestrone soup which he said was excellent. No complaints.
Near the end of our meal, while trying to remove a few of the many plates that had piled up over the course of an hour on our table, our server accidentally knocked over the last half of bf's Caesar. He offered to bring him a new one, but he declined as he still had to drive us home. The waiter said he would comp us, but unfortunately we had already paid for the drink at the bar, so this never happened. Not a big deal.
The manager came by to talk to us about the appetizer bf had ordered that he had sent back, and said it wasn't a problem and that it would be removed from our bill. He then offered us both $5.00 gift certificates for our next visit. He was a very personable and pleasant man.
Our leftovers were packed up neatly by our server on a tray at our table, and hung neatly on the back of my chair. We left a very nice tip and told the manager we would be back again. I may order something different next time, but my overall experience was very good and I would recommend this restaurant to anyone who is sick of the usual White Spot/Red Robin/Earls atmosphere.
If you don't mind waiting a lot and you enjoy flavourless food where kids roll in the aisles, this is the place for you! The service and food were awful. I'll never go to a Olive Garden again. I went after having not been to one in a few years. They should never have changed it- their attempt to be classier has just led to extraordinarily poor quality food and disorganized service. It wasn't even busy!
A fantastic restaurant. The service was top-notch. The waitress (blonde and long) was incredibly knowledgeable and was a wealth of information when questioned. She was attentive to our every need and ended up making for what has got to be a world-class experience. I was paying $40 for two and still having greatest time and so was my girl. The food was fantastic and full of taste in both pasta and the waitress even shared a complimentary soup with our table... again, it was fantastic! Thanks for your attention to detail and for the great ambience!