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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
We've gone to the Olive Garden in Seattle and wasn't impressed, but we received a gift card so decided to give it a shot.
I really don't see why there's always a line up. First of all, the people there seem fakely friendly, from the host to the bartender to the staff. If they aren't happy, that really says something about the restaurant! The host informed us our wait would be 65 minutes, so we grabbed a seat at the bar but it was actually more like 30 minutes. I've never seen timing that off before. I'm a total garlic lover, so I ordered my pasta with extra garlic and inquired to what kind of garlic they use (roasted or raw). The server just replied "i don't know" and didn't bother to find out, even though I asked twice. No refills on breadsticks or soup, and holy crap they really need a lesson in marketting their product.
Food: Good for a family, but pasta wasn't as al dente as I like and food has SOME flavour but i've definitely had better (Marchello's on Commercial!!)
Ambience: We were seated near the fireplace so that was nice
Service: What fakeness, no one seemed genuinely to give a damn, just to do the minimal and get the day / service over with.
Maybe i'm harsh, I love cooking and I used to serve so I have some sort of expectation with both, but definitely NOT worth my money and not coming back again if I have any say in it!!!
I eat here regularly and have never had a bad experience. The line-ups, however, are insane, so it's best to go in the afternoon. The first time I took my husband he couldn't understand why we had to go at 3:00, but he soon found out as we still had to wait about 15-20 minutes, LOL. The staff is organized, so the waiting is not too painful though. I was reluctant to take my husband there as he is really nitpicky about his pasta, but he thoroughly enjoyed his meal, as well as the complimentary salad and bread. He actually had to have part of his meal packed up he was so full, and he is usually a bottomless pit! Our server was also really friendly and attentive (without being annoying).
I recently went to the Olive Garden for the first time with a friend of mine for lunch. We were very impressed. The service was excellent, and the bread sticks and soup were great. I was so happy about my previous experience that I decided to take my boyfriend there for dinner. We had to wait an hour for our table. Then had to wait another 10 minutes for out waiter. The waiter seemed in a rush and frazzled. We are then informed that they are out of breadsticks!! Well this was by biggest disappointment of the night because their breadsticks were the main reason we travelled from Abbotsfrod to Langley. We waited for what seemed like hours. The waiter finally came to refill our Iced teas and took our glasses with a promise he would be right back with our refills. He returned 20 minutes later with our food.. and no drinks. 5 Minutes later we had our drinks. Our chicken alfredo was good except the chicken was burnt.. at this point in the night I was hungry and not about to send it back. So we were there a total of 2 and a half hours and all we got was some burnt chicken alfredo and a 55 dollar bill to pay. I won't be returning there ever again at dinner time. We will give Olive Garden one more chance and go for lunch one day. Ill write a review when that day comes!!
The good: Their Italian sausage and potato soup is really rather tasty. Also, I like that their soup and salad is "bottomless".
The bad: The wait is always too long.
The ugly: Really mediocre Italian food. Why would you come here when you could get delicious, home-cooked-by-mamma Italian food at many other places? I guess their advertising and their big name is a draw. I only go there when I'm nearby, having shopped-til-I-dropped and wanted a meal without expending too much effort.
They have locations all across North America and all the places I went are always busy.
So we always make reservations ahead of time and never had a problem getting the table. Love their all-you-can eat salad deal, well, for me, veggie can never be enough.