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Posted: 5/22/2005 8:19:24 AM EDT
Do people really think Olive Garden is the best thing to happen to Italian food? Are they that deluded and their taste buds that dysfunctional? I admit, it's tasty, but if you've ever been to a REAL Italian restaurant, it makes Olive Garden look like McDonalds. In fact, that's how my family refers to it... the McDonalds of Italian food. It's extremely frustrating to see these poor ignorant masses who have no taste for authentic food! AHHH!

[/rant]
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 8:20:41 AM EDT
Ever since I moved to a decent sized city, I pretty much stopped going to chain restaurants.

Too many good independent joints around with competitive prices and better food.

Link Posted: 5/22/2005 8:21:28 AM EDT
I couldn't agree more.

I grew up with real Italian food, and the first time I went to Olive Garden I thought it was terrible.

Since then, I have learned to like it, but I don't consider it a place to go for Italian food.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 8:22:17 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:
Ever since I moved to a decent sized city, I pretty much stopped going to chain restaurants.

Too many good independent joints around with competitive prices and better food.




I'm always the strongest voice in my friends to not go to chains. It really makes me mad when people always choose something like Applebee's as "good food".

Not only do independent joints have better prices and food, they usually have better service.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 8:24:25 AM EDT
I enjoyed my first meal at an Olive Garden.

The second time I ate there my beer goggles had been removed, and I saw the food for its bland mass-produced pedestrian self.

The third time I ate there was not my choice, and I doubt I would ever go there unless my job or some important social event demanded it.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 8:24:28 AM EDT
It'll do, but no, I don't consider it "real" Italian food by any stretch...
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 8:25:05 AM EDT
+1000 on that one. Our city has so many good\cheap\authentic places to eat one would have to be stupid to eat at chain dumps.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 8:25:21 AM EDT
while the food does taste good its nothing compared to a good family owned hole in the wall itallian place
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 8:25:42 AM EDT
Chain food sucks, but where I live, it's just about the only game in town.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 8:27:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FatMan:
Chain food sucks, but where I live, it's just about the only game in town.



I understand this. Meridian has some good local joints, but for the most part, it's ALL chains. It's when people have the option for real authentic food but think the chains are where it is at that bothers me.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 8:27:53 AM EDT
Olive Garden is the epitome of mass produced, portion controlled, charge by the ounce, bland, fast food shit that is killing america. I cannot stand OG. But hey, if you need balongna and hotdog alfredo real bad...it'll do in a pinch!
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 8:28:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By TheRedHorseman:
while the food does taste good its nothing compared to a good family owned hole in the wall itallian place



Where they barely speak English. Best. Food. Ever.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 8:28:32 AM EDT

Originally Posted By TheRedHorseman:
while the food does taste good its nothing compared to a good family owned hole in the wall itallian place



Yes, even hole-in-the-wall "Italian" places run by Iraqis. We have a couple of very good ones in my neighborhood. (Most of the corner mom-and-pop businesses in my area are run by Chaldeans from Iraq.)
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 8:28:59 AM EDT
While I enjoy going out once in a while, frankly (recent chicken soup disaster excluded) I can make a better meal at home...
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 8:36:01 AM EDT
I'm not an Italian food cona.....you know, but they do have cold beer, good salad and bread sticks and the best looking waitresses in any resturant around here. Good looking, must be a prerequiset [sp] for being hired there.


can't spell shiite this morning.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 8:39:41 AM EDT
It's tastes wonderful if all you ever taste is frozen food and stuff from cans like most people.<G>

Dennis Jenkins



Originally Posted By FatMan:
Chain food sucks, but where I live, it's just about the only game in town.

Link Posted: 5/22/2005 8:40:37 AM EDT
Olive Garden is food isn't bad, just far from authentic cuisine.
But their bread sticks and zuppa toscana rocks.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 8:44:06 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Gator:
Olive Garden is food isn't bad, just far from authentic cuisine.
But their bread sticks and zuppa toscana rocks.



No offense, but anyone that spring loads to "bread sticks" when Olive Garden is mentioned, their culinary tastes are extremely suspect with me.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 9:38:58 AM EDT
I've only had real Italian food in Italy and it really didn't do much for me. Just not my thing. The only time I've been to Olive Garden I had the Tuscan Steak. I'm more of a meat kind of guy.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 9:41:43 AM EDT
Olive Garden is to Italian food as Taco Bell is to Mexican food.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 9:46:36 AM EDT
My friends and I used to go to Olive Garden all the time in high school. The only food that is anything special is their zuppa tuscana. Everything else is just semi-tasty. The other good thing was I had friends who worked at Red Lobster, so every time we went to OG with one of them we got a 25% discount.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 9:48:43 AM EDT
I could eat my weight in Olive Garden breadsticks
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 9:50:37 AM EDT
James Lileks had a good article on Olive Garden. I'll try to see if I can find it and post the link.

I've only eaten there once. I love Italian food (almost all Italian food, not just southern Italian/Sicilian). Olive Garden, however, does not fit into that category.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 9:52:54 AM EDT
The breadsticks and salad used to be great. Now just mediocre at my location.

M4-AK
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 9:53:41 AM EDT
I like Olive Garden but I like the local Mediterranean place better. Independant restaurants always have the best foods.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 9:54:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Fly-Navy:
Do people really think Olive Garden is the best thing to happen to Italian food? Are they that deluded and their taste buds that dysfunctional? I admit, it's tasty, but if you've ever been to a REAL Italian restaurant, it makes Olive Garden look like McDonalds. In fact, that's how my family refers to it... the McDonalds of Italian food. It's extremely frustrating to see these poor ignorant masses who have no taste for authentic food! AHHH!

[/rant]



A person hasn't had Italian food until they've eaten in a New York City Italian restaurant.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 9:55:05 AM EDT
Chef Boyardee is closer to the real thing than Olive Garden is.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 10:03:26 AM EDT
OG can be good or terrible depending on the location...like any chain. DUH.....


But, hey people would freak out if they actually went to Italy and ordered a pizza.

BTW, the best Italian food to be found in the southern half of NM is made by a Mexican family in a small one-room joint. No shit......
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 10:06:49 AM EDT
Having actually had REAL Italian food while vacationing in Italy, I can say it is far different than what any of the places I been to in the States serve. What we mostly have here at home is "americanized" dishes. There is a world of difference between the 2.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 10:07:09 AM EDT
I grew up near The Hill in St. Louis.

'Nuff said.

OG is OK, once in a while.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 10:07:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/22/2005 10:09:34 AM EDT by NYPatriot]

Originally Posted By FatMan:
Chain food sucks, but where I live, it's just about the only game in town.



I agree, but with two exceptions... P.F. Chang's & Ruth's Chris Steak House.

I've never had a bad meal at either.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 10:39:24 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jkstexas2001:
A person hasn't had Italian food until they've eaten in a New York City Italian restaurant.



If that's not possible, then hit Boston's North End. It's where all of them live.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 10:39:55 AM EDT

Originally Posted By BigWorm55:
My friends and I used to go to Olive Garden all the time in high school. The only food that is anything special is their zuppa tuscana. Everything else is just semi-tasty. The other good thing was I had friends who worked at Red Lobster, so every time we went to OG with one of them we got a 25% discount.



Do NOT get me started on Red Lobster.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 10:43:45 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FatMan:
Chain food sucks, but where I live, it's just about the only game in town.



Have you ever been the The Cellar? My girlfriend and I eat there all the time. You usually have to wait a while for the food but it is damn good. They also have an excellent selection of beers.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 10:44:05 AM EDT
I dont ever recall eating at an OG in my life.

I have one friend who owns an Italian resturant (Best pizzas in Seattle!) and there is another good one downtown.

Link Posted: 5/22/2005 10:44:31 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Fly-Navy:

Originally Posted By BigWorm55:
My friends and I used to go to Olive Garden all the time in high school. The only food that is anything special is their zuppa tuscana. Everything else is just semi-tasty. The other good thing was I had friends who worked at Red Lobster, so every time we went to OG with one of them we got a 25% discount.



Do NOT get me started on Red Lobster.



I like Red Lobster.......chedder bay biscuits and shrimp alfredo. MMMMMM
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 10:46:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:
I like Red Lobster.......chedder bay biscuits and shrimp alfredo. MMMMMM



I see you're from VA. Are you on the coast? If you are, and you're eating at Red Lobster, you need a smack.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 10:51:55 AM EDT
Olive Garden SUCKS.

If you gotta go with a chain I rank them as follows:

Buca De Beppo
Carrabbas
Macaroni Grill
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 11:09:17 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Fly-Navy:

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:
I like Red Lobster.......chedder bay biscuits and shrimp alfredo. MMMMMM



I see you're from VA. Are you on the coast? If you are, and you're eating at Red Lobster, you need a smack.



Nope, I am in the Southwest mountains.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 11:12:44 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/22/2005 11:13:23 AM EDT by Fly-Navy]

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:

Originally Posted By Fly-Navy:

Originally Posted By VTHOKIESHOOTER:
I like Red Lobster.......chedder bay biscuits and shrimp alfredo. MMMMMM



I see you're from VA. Are you on the coast? If you are, and you're eating at Red Lobster, you need a smack.



Nope, I am in the Southwest mountains.



Ok, you MIGHT have an excuse then.....

It really really really bothers me when people are in a coastal area with great seafood.... say Florida, New England, California..... and they eat at Red Lobster.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 11:14:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/22/2005 11:15:50 AM EDT by H46Driver]

Originally Posted By jkstexas2001:

A person hasn't had Italian food until they've eaten in a New York City Italian restaurant.



A person hasn't had real Italian food until they have been to the country. I've been to NYC Italian places, Federal Hill in Providence, and little Italy in Boston and had some pretty good chow, but the best meals at those places barely equal a run of the mill small town trattoria in southern Italy, especially in Campania or Lazio in the summer when you can get a nice Caprese salad with fresh tomatoes and real buffalo milk mozzarella and spaghetti with mussels and clams.

2 years living there ruined me. I won't ever eat as good again as long as I live. At least ini NYC, Providence, and Boston they get pretty close. Here in Norfolk the best Italian in town (that I have eaten at least) comes from my kitchen.

ETA - Olive Garden is beneath mentioning. The White Zinfandel of Italian eateries.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 11:15:09 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jkstexas2001:

Originally Posted By Fly-Navy:
Do people really think Olive Garden is the best thing to happen to Italian food? Are they that deluded and their taste buds that dysfunctional? I admit, it's tasty, but if you've ever been to a REAL Italian restaurant, it makes Olive Garden look like McDonalds. In fact, that's how my family refers to it... the McDonalds of Italian food. It's extremely frustrating to see these poor ignorant masses who have no taste for authentic food! AHHH!

[/rant]



A person hasn't had Italian food until they've eaten in a New York City Italian restaurant.



i guess the dagos on the left coast are out of luck then .....
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 11:23:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SteyrAUG:
Olive Garden SUCKS.

If you gotta go with a chain I rank them as follows:

Buca De Beppo
Carrabbas
Macaroni Grill



+1 The Macaroni grill in town is packed at all hours. Great food, even Arnold showed up once.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 11:26:04 AM EDT

Originally Posted By dano1:
i guess the dagos on the left coast are out of luck then .....



Ask yourself this: When people think Italian food in America, do they think about California? No, not one bit.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 11:28:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/22/2005 11:30:27 AM EDT by frtloop85]
I've never really liked Olive Garden. As a matter of fact, I have never been to a GREAT Italian restaurant. All the places I have been to have tasted the same.

ETA: I take that back....there is one place here called Carrabas...that place is good.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 11:50:04 AM EDT


I married an Italian. I suffer from tomato sauce poisoning.

Never been to Olive Garden
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 11:50:40 AM EDT

Chef Boyardee is closer to the real thing than Olive Garden is.




The Olive Garden pepperoni pizza IS a Chef Boyardee pizza. I've eaten enough of that sugary tomato paste to know they are one in the same.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 12:04:38 PM EDT
I can always tell if I'm in a good Italian restaurant as soon as I see the waitress. If she's got more hair on her arms than I do, it's gonna be a great meal.
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 12:10:09 PM EDT
Yeah Olive Garden's Italian food sucks compared to real Italian like Fazolis... (JUST PLAYIN LAY OFF!!)
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 12:21:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/22/2005 12:24:06 PM EDT by sharky30]
I like olive garden food, but I will never claim it is better than some locally owned, by first or second generation Americans of Italian decent, restaurant
the never ending pasta bowl is a good deal when they have it
Link Posted: 5/22/2005 12:24:58 PM EDT
The best authentic Italian restaurants I've been to have been holes in the wall....not an overcrowded, overhyped, overpriced chain. Olive Garden is not all that in my book. Their eggplant parmesan sucks.
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