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Actually found our Olive Garden lunch to be good inexpensive veggie option

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Avoided trying this place for years but we gave it a chance lunch was actually cheap and good, at least for veggies.. cant vouch for meat dishes. We got a calzone.. Create a calzone which is in the computer but not on the menu. Got shrooms, onion, spinach and this way it is fresh made, not pre=prepared and good fresh crust. Also we had eggplant parm which was nice and crispy outside with nice creaminess inside. Came with the unlimited soup or salad, so we had both to share. The minestrone tastes fresh with kidney and white beans, cabbage, spinach, pasta,tomatoes etc. We added some croutons, bread stick and butter to richen it up. Cost 18 minus our 3 coupon you get if you join online for a pigout of enuf vegetables for a week. Waitstaff was very good, jazz standards were pleasant background, comfy window booths.. We would do it again.. certainly not as bad as we have heard, at least for this meal.. I just don't like the marinara, way too spicy for me..This OG was a fairly new one in Danvers MA,maybe that makes a difference.

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  1. I would double check with them on their minestrone, but it's typically made with meat stock.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Atomic76

      Olive garden uses vegetable stock for their minestrone. It's completely vegetarian.

    2. Thanks for posting chompie. My friend and I went to our local OG a coupla months ago and shared the soup and salad along with some ok entrees. It was relaxing and pleasant. We ate a lot of bread sticks. My friend is always looking for veggie options so I will mention the calzone to him.

      4 Replies
      1. re: givemecarbs

        We actually went again and had an even better meal.. The 12.95 3 course meal, plus if you join their email you get $5 off 2 dinners, so for about 10 bucks each we had minestrone, salad, breadsticks. shrimp penne and ravioli and choc mousse cake and strawberry white choc cake. I don't like their tomato sauce.. too heavily spiced, so the above meals were better than our last. We got angel hair instead of penne in a very very light coating of cream sauce with a garlic flavor and parm panko crumbs and about 14 med/small tender shrimp. The raviolis were small square and tender, as opposed to big overstuffed chewy ones, and it was a coating of a mild herb cream sauce topped with marinated tomatoes and basil.. pretty much bruschetta toppiong on raviolis. The strawberry cake was light and moist and the chocolate mousse was a light brownie/cake with a rich mousse. We were pleasantly surprised. Plus the waitstaff is very accommodating. usually these specials are not changeable so I was surprised they were easy about changing the pasta and and the cake choice. We avoided this place for its first year open, prejudging that it would be horrible, but I think if you pick the right choices, it can be a fairly light and very tasty and cheap meal, plus we like the mix of jazz and Italian music and the comfy atmosphere

        1. re: chompie

          Just like many other chains, so much depends on what location you're visiting. I've been to Olive Gardens that felt almost elegant, with a bright and quiet atmosphere and soft classy music, friendly and helpful service, and a simple, solid meal. Others have been the stereotypical "chain restaurant from hell", with inedible food, rude and inattentive service, screaming kids running around, food on the floor, and charges for food I didn't order. I'm glad you had a good experience :)

          1. re: Boston_Otter

            wow, didn't know there was so much variation in chains! yeah, ours fits your first description..Maybe cuz its pretty new. Its in Peabody Ma. By your name, have the ones you described been in MA? Btw, we did get a charge for something we didn't order, but it was choc milk instead of coke, which is cheaper anyways and the waiter told us that the choc milk button is next to soda and it happens constantly all day long. we were entertained by the story....cuz we couldn't figure out why choc milk came our way..

            1. re: chompie

              I haven't been to the one in Peabody, but I've been to locations in various parts of the state as well as the Midwest that've been pretty decent. But AVOID the one in Dorchester; that was one of the worst I've ever seen.