Lots of people have different reasons to go to Olive Garden. For many, it’s the excellent breadsticks, which is just so good you have to try it to create a sandwich. Others go for the salads, so as to enjoy outdoor dining without totally ruining their diet plans.
But we’re now facing a better time with the worst of the pandemic behind us. Shouldn’t we at least try new menu items, even as we go back to Olive Garden for the comfort it brings? If you’re visiting Olive Garden anytime soon, you should perhaps try some of these oft-overlooked dishes from the menu:
Family-Style Lasagna Classico Bundle
This can serve up to 8 people, which means the $52 price tag is more than reasonable. It’s a downright bargain, as you’re spending just $6.50 per person.
The bundle includes the Lasagna Classico, along with the Famous House Salad plus a dozen of their fabled breadsticks. You also get a 2-liter bottle of Coke (though you can also go with either Diet Coke or Sprite).
The Lasagna Classico often gets overlooked, but you really should give it a try. It’s good enough that it may well be part of your go-to dishes whenever you visit Olive Garden. It’s always prepared fresh each day, and the meat sauce is made with pan-seared beef and Italian sausage.
You have so many different layers here, with the parmesan, mozzarella, and pecorino romano, and these cheeses literally melt in your mouth as their tastes go nicely with the meat sauce.
Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara
This is also available in Family-Size Pans that serve 4 to 6 folks, with a price of just $60.50 on average. You get sautéed seasoned chicken, shrimp and spaghetti tossed in a creamy sauce with bacon and roasted red peppers.
Even as a single dish, it’s among the pricier options (at about $20.80). Yet you won’t feel shortchanged. That carbonara sauce they use is just divine, and many people consider it as the best of the Olive Garden sauces. If you’re a fan of Italian fare, then you probably have a craving for garlic, and this sauce definitely brings the garlic taste.
It also contains roasted red peppers, and this ingredient really stands out as well. With the chicken going hand in hand with the shrimp, and the spaghetti that goes with the duo isn’t as filling. That means the pasta wasn’t overpowering the taste of the rest of the meal.
Asiago Tortelloni Alfredo with Grilled Chicken
This is listed under the entrees, but it works as a light meal. A few bites of this should get rid of any hunger pangs, and finishing this dish should leave you nicely satisfied.
You get your protein with the tasty chicken, the sauce is nice and solid, and the Asiago cheese makes an excellent filling for the pasta. This Asiago cheese enhances the sharpness of the dish, which makes the other Olive Garden pasta dishes seem a bit duller in comparison.
The Chicken Alfredo
Sure, there are other Alfredos out there, and plenty of fans wax poetic about the Shrimp, Seafood, and Fettucine Alfredo. Even the Steak Alfredo may strike your fancy, leaving the humble chicken Alfredo ignored.
But you should try this the next time you visit Olive Garden, because it shouldn’t be ignored for too long. They’ve prepared the grilled chicken just right, with its great seasoning of pepper with some other spices. This chicken pairs extremely well with both the pasta and the sauce. The fettucine was also nice and soft.
All in all, it’s a heavy meal that should keep the hunger pangs at bay.
The Shrimp Scampi or Shrimp Alfredo
This Shrimp Scampi is also available in Family-Sized Pans, which serves 4 to 6 diners. It’s Olive Garden’s lighter version of the classic dish, featuring shrimp sautéed in a garlic sauce, tossed with asparagus, tomatoes, and angel hair.
Basically, if you want some pasta but you don’t want to feel too heavy afterwards, then this is the dish you order. It’s great for lunch, as you shouldn’t feel like you need a nap afterwards. But a nice cup of coffee after this dish should still be nice.
The Shrimp Alfredo is also something you have to try, if you haven’t tried it yet. The shrimp is unseasoned, but the natural taste of the shrimp is perfect with the creamy sauce and the pasta. It’s tasty, and it’s a classic for just this reason. When you’re craving something simple, then just go with this to remind yourself why you like shrimp in the first place!