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Olive Garden has been disappointing me quite a bit lately?

My Grandfather has been going there for a while now & perhaps more so now than ever he pretty much chooses to go back there because the name has stuck. That makes it an easier decision as a place to take him rather than just searching all around, ya know? Despite my Grandfather's desire/choice to go there, the service hasn't been all that great. I mean, the people are usually nice, they just seem to be too slow & inattentive, ya know?

Most importantly though, the food just seems to get worse nearly every time we go back there. Gramps was even some what disappointed with the Food &/or service at the Olive Garden as we all were. The breadsticks are of course free, but even the "free" food at a fine/decent Restaurant should be fresh &/or tasty, not too hard & too salty which their breadsticks were/are as well.

The thing that also kind of aggravated me was that they only have Grated Parmesan, yet no other toppings for their food for the most part. I mean, really, do they think that Grated Parmesan will make my Chicken Tenders taste proper/good or something...lol? On top of that, they didn't even have any (even in small packets) Barbecue Sauce! Really! How in the hell could you sell Chicken Tenders as part of a main course in your Restaurant & not have any kind of Barbecue (or similar) Sauce? Ridiculous! Is it just me or doesn't every Restaurant usually have Barbecue Sauce in it whether they sell Chicken Tenders or not? I was practically ready to walk a few blocks down the street to a McDonalds...lol!

Oh well. I don't wanna go on much longer about it. I've said my peace & have been disgusted &/or disappointed with the service &/or Food at the Olive Garden. Next time I'll just ask Gramps if he'd rather go to McDonald's... or the Bonefish Grill... or Burger King... or K.F.C.... or Sonic... or Wendy's... or the Outback... or Subway... or Panera or...? Well, just not the Olive Garden...lol!

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  1. Well, it seems you solved your own problem.

    1. BBQ sauce isn't exactly Italian.

      But neither are chicken tenders,I guess.

      6 Replies
      1. re: sal_acid

        Yeah, plus their "Italian" Food isn't all that good either.

          1. re: wincountrygirl

            They got the "Olive" part in the name right, but that's about it.

            1. re: ShowUsYourRack

              Yeah, but Olives are grown in orchards, not gardens!

              1. re: Tripeler

                See...now I always thought they were grown in an *Olive Grove*

                and there is a Biblical reference to an Garden planted with Olive Trees ...

                1. re: fourunder

                  Olive Garden couldn't stand that tall as far as Food, quality & service goes. Their "tree" gets hacked up by their Cooks all the time…lol.

      2. Olive Garden has always been terrible as are most of the other chain restaurants that you listed above. I've never been to Bonefish Grill so I can't comment on that one.

        Not sure why you would order Chicken Tenders in an Italian restaurant nor why they would offer them.

        2 Replies
          1. re: Njchicaa

            I ordered them because other than the Calamari, nothing else they have is necessarily good. Actually, the Calamari isn't all that good either.

          2. <How in the hell could you sell Chicken Tenders as part of a main course in your Restaurant & not have any kind of Barbecue (or similar) Sauce?>

            I don't know. I have to agree with sal_acid. Barbecue is not very Italian, and I am sure there are hundreds of ways to eat chicken tenders without barbecue sauce, like Chinese sweet and sour sauce or Japanese Kewpie mayo or Thai/Viet Sriracha sauce....etc.

            What about Macaroni Grill?


            2 Replies
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              They don't have any of those sauces either.

              1. re: ShowUsYourRack

                Around here, chicken tenders usually come with bleu cheese dressing or honey mustard. BBQ sounds like a very distant third choice to me.

            2. If you've been going for a while, why not bring your own BBQ sauce. They have a burger now, so they should have more condiments available.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Kalivs

                Well, that's kind of like telling somebody to bring their own Lettuce when they're going to eat a B.L.T. Going to a Restaurant, you'd expect to be able to sit down, relax & let SOMEONE ELSE prepare a meal for you, ya see?

                1. re: ShowUsYourRack

                  Not really...a restaurant isn't devised to have anything a person might want. Olive Garden has an Italianish focus - expecting bbq sauce is unrealistic. If you need that to make your meal more palatable then bring it!

                  I've known people who bring salt-free seasonings, their own low cal salad dressings even someone who brings a diet specific "cheese" to his regular breakfast place to use in his omelet.

                  I would think that Olive Garden would be able to produce a ramekin of marinara sauce for dipping your chicken tenders.

                  1. re: meatn3

                    Thomas Keller carries a salt tin on his person....I have friends who travel with Sriracha....better to be happy than worry about how it should be served, what condiments should be available or be disappointed.

                    1. re: fourunder

                      Years ago, my wife and I went out to dinner with my cousin and his wife. It was Old Spaghetti Factory. My cousin pulls out a bottle of garlic salt, that he had brought from home, and sets it on the table. At that point, I wanted to crawl under the table.

                      1. re: Antilope

                        I can recall the the Old Spaghetti Factory had a location is Tucson when I went to college way back in the 70's....never made it there....I recall an episode of Ming Tsai's East Meets West show and he had a buddy that applied for a job at Olive Garden and they specifically told him they used a very limited amount of Garlic in their dishes....although it was Italian inspired cooking....unlike the restaurant in Boston...which happened to be the same buddy's family restaurant....

                        1. re: Antilope

                          I think the garlic salt would be a pass, and nothing to worry about. My husband likes Red Lobster, and I'm not really a fan. If we go, I usually will order fried shrimp (not hard to mess it up.) However, I hate their tarter sauce. I love my own, though, so I bring a small plastic container of it with me. My husband just smiles (and then asks me if he can use it too!)

                          I really don't care what the waitstaff will think, so it's a win-win for me.

                2. We went to Olive Garden recently to use up a gift card we were given. The bread sticks were like leather because someone had re-heated them in a microwave. People at other tables were also complaining about the bread sticks. Replacements were brought, but they had received the same microwave treatment. Next time we will just re-gift any gift cards and go somewhere else.
                  At any chain restaurant now days you are served a form of expensive TV dinner, re-heated from a frozen meal made at a food service factory. Yum. <sarcasm>

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Antilope

                    Not sure that's true of Cheesecake Factory. I saw a TV thing where they seemed to cook most stuff to order.

                    1. re: sal_acid

                      Well it's definitely not true at Red Lobster, and they are the same company. Everything is cooked to order, separately, from a non-frozen state.

                  2. You could always order a side of salad dressing- blue cheese, ranch, honey mustard, thousand island, etc to dip your tenders in. Sometimes with "fast food" type meals, you can add flavor with a dressing.
                    I like Olive Garden salads and soups. They are typically just fine, a bit healthier than the other offerings and tasty. The salads are romaine, olives, tomato, pepperoncini and cheese with an olive oil/vinegar dressing. Simple and very nice.

                    The breadsticks are a hit or miss. Kind of reminds me of subway "stinky" bread. I don't know what that is exactly, but it is a bit chemically tasting sometimes. Other times, the bread has been fine.

                    1. I agree that the food and wine quality, and service have gone way down so we stopped going there long ago. In fact we've pretty much given up entirely on chains. I'd rather spend a bit more on a proper meal from folks who are happy to have my business, and of course chef food when we can afford it (which is now a thing of the past since the government has destroyed the economy).

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: coakes

                        I'm always happy to notice that the Restaurant owner is happy to know/have you there. It's much better than being in a place that doesn't care who you are & has a "get in, get out" type of attitude. Usually a Restaurant with good, friendly service will have good Food, ya know?

                      2. Lately? I never found anything to like about Olive Garden. Bonefish is new around here... I haven't checked them out. Panera is good for soup/sandwich. Outback is a like eating a deer salt lick and everything ends up tasting like their seasoning coating. Kind of one sided. The rest don't need a comment but if chicken tenders are something you crave then they are fair game. I personally find them a calorie laden fat and trans-fat delivery system.

                        1. i'm just trying to figure out the point of this post. You're visiting a not-that-great Italian chain restaurant, ordering a dish that isn't even close to Italian and complaining about the absence of even-less-Italian barbecue sauce?

                          That would be like complaining that Panda Express' onion rings aren't any good.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ferret

                            Panda Express's probably can make better onion rings than Chinese foods. :D

                          2. Olive Garden has definitely slipped in quality over the last five or six years. I remember going there several years ago for a family get-together and thinking, gee, this stuff isn't that bad, surprisingly, and it's sort of charming here, for a chain. My last two visits (for various birthdays) have been truly poor: bad service, ridiculously overpriced food, and an ugly environment.

                            All that said, I would never expect Olive Garden to offer BBQ sauce for chicken tenders. BBQ sauce isn't any sort of a 'standard sauce' for them, especially at an Italian place. 99% of kids, I'm guessing, use ketchup.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Boston_Otter

                              and what could be more Italian than chicken tenders with ketchup?

                              Sounds like a traditional OG item, direct from their Tuscany roots.

                              1. re: Clams047

                                I know you're being snarky, but to be honest, I've seen chicken tenders on kids' menus at virtually any ethnic restaurant you can name, either chain or mom and pop. They know that's what kids eat these days unless wiser parents intervene.