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Olive Garden: The Cheesy Noodle House (review & giveaway)

When Maggie was 2 years old, she started calling restaurants by the name of whatever food she loved there. The Chicken Nugget House. The Quesadilla House. And she called Olive Garden “The Cheesy Noodle House.” It still cracks us up, and we still sometimes call it that, just for fun. And even though Maggie is the Pickiest Eater That Ever Fought Over A Microscopic Bite Of Carrot, we know she’ll always eat her cheesy noodles (Fettuccine Alfredo, in case you were wondering).

I personally LOVE Olive Garden. Some people may sniff and make a comment about it not being “authentic” Italian food. And that may be true, but I don’t think that’s what they’re about anyway. They’re about fresh, delicious Italian-inspired meals that fill you up and make you happy and don’t cost a bajillion dollars. And dang, those breadsticks ARE AMAZING.

I was lucky enough to be able to take my entire family to Olive Garden last week for dinner. There were 8 of us, including the girls, and the entire experience was great. I love being able to take the kids somewhere that doesn’t have cartoon characters on the walls and feel comfortable, you know? It’s a relaxed atmosphere but still feels like a fancy night out- well, at least as fancy as you can get with a pink plastic sippy cup on the table.

the boys, so serious

Audrey and Grandma

For my meal, I was asked to choose from Olive Garden’s new 3 Course Italian Dinner- 1st course is soup or salad, 2nd course is one of 5 new entrees, 3rd course is one of 5 Dolcini desserts. All of this is only $12.95! Fabulous. Want to see all the delicious options available with Olive Garden’s 3 Course Italian Dinner? Just visit Olivegarden.com/specials. The special is happening now through March 18th!

Normally I get something chicken-y and cheesy and noodle-y (gee, I don’t know WHERE my kid gets it!) but I decided to branch out that night and choose something a little different. I got the Asiago and Roasted Garlic Tortelloni with Grilled Sausage as my entree, plus the salad and breadsticks. The pasta was amazing! I’m not always a big fan of sausage-sometimes it’s too powerful in a pasta dish for me-but this was perfect. And the sauce added a great, light, tomato flavor and of course the cheese-stuffed tortelloni? YUM. I usually have leftovers when we come home from Olive Garden… but not this night :) Maggie of course had a grand time with her cheesy noodles.

CHEEEEEESY NOOOOODLES!

Once all the pasta was gone, I thoroughly enjoyed my dessert: dark chocolate cake with caramel sauce and chocolate mousse…so delicious!

dessert. yes.

The whole night was such a nice break from our usual weeknight routine, getting together with my family for some good food. And what’s the saying? Olive Garden-When you’re here, you’re family┬«? In our case, it was true :)

Check out Olivegarden.com to explore the full menu and find a restaurant near you. They also have a fantastic kid’s menu.

Now for the fun part! Olive Garden and BlogHer are letting me give away a $100 Olive Garden gift card to one of my readers! To enter for a chance to win, tell me your favorite part of a three course meal. The appetizer, dinner, or the dessert?

Rules:

No duplicate comments.

This sweepstakes runs from 2/21/12 – 3/18/12.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment (see question above in bold)
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

Also, visit the Olive Garden page on BlogHer.com to check out the other blogger reviews and more chances to win!

Disclaimer: I was compensated for my time in researching and preparing for this post. But my opinions are my own, and I would never recommend a product I wouldn’t purchase with my own money.

95 Comments


  1. Katrina
    @katrinaRavioli

    I love food, so deciding is difficult. But I’ll go with dessert :-)

    Feb 21 9:04 am


  2. Sunshine
    @littlemisssun

    The dessert, of course! :)

    Feb 21 9:06 am


  3. Donna

    I eat light during the main course to always save room for dessert! That’s the best part!

    Feb 21 9:08 am


  4. Amy Reinhart

    DESSERT!!!!! :)

    Feb 21 9:16 am


  5. Jesabes
    @Jesabesblog

    We went to Olive Garden with the kids this past weekend. I love it, too:)

    Normally, I’d say my favorite part of dinner is appetizers, but I had the Amaretto Tiramisu Dolcini and WOW. I’m drooling now just thinking about it.

    Feb 21 9:18 am


  6. Colleen McGarrity
    @colleen0626

    I would have to say the actual meal is my favorite…although I am a huge fan of the salad and breadsticks.

    Feb 21 9:28 am


  7. Usually I say dessert, but at Olive Garden I can KILL some breadsticks and alfredo sauce, so I’m going with appetizer! :)

    Feb 21 9:31 am


  8. C @ Kid Things
    @kidthingsnet

    The dessert is always my favorite part. Always.

    Feb 21 9:54 am


  9. AKuipers
    @akuipers

    I actually thought this deal was a good one because who actually ever has room for dessert? But, this forces you to eat it. I go with the dessert!

    Feb 21 10:16 am


  10. Jen

    Appetizer, today anyway, only because I only can pick one! (usually I would say dessert!)

    Feb 21 10:23 am


  11. Lea

    So maybe it sounds ridiculous, but I just LOVE a good salad as an appetizer, and knowing that a yummy entree is following makes it taste all the better. And I do love Olive Garden’s salad!

    Feb 21 10:43 am


  12. Michelle :)

    I am always a huge fan of the appetizer list. I’d say dessert, but I’m usually way too stuffed after eating yummy appetizers and dinners to have room!

    Feb 21 11:55 am


  13. Michelle :)


  14. K
    @twoadults

    Holy moses do I love an appetizer. That’s always my most favorite part.

    We’ve yet to take the kids to Olive Garden but we should and soon. Ezra is very PRO-cheesy noodle. :)

    Feb 21 11:57 am


  15. Dave (Scrumpy Daddy)
    @scrumpydaddy

    For me, it’s all about the entree. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE OG’s breadsticks, and I’ll take dessert any day, but the reason I am there is the main dish, and that’s what I focus on. :-)

    Feb 21 12:43 pm


  16. Tracy
    @overmom

    I love the entree! I rarely ever have room for dessert :)

    Feb 21 12:51 pm


  17. I like the appetizers best! Last time I was at Olive Garden was 6 years ago – Boy Child had a usual fit and husband sat in the car for an hour while we finished our dinner with my dad for his 70th birthday. Yikes!

    Feb 21 1:15 pm


  18. Jane
    @seejane

    Totally need to try Olive Garden with the 2 kids. I bet they would both love it!! I am all about the dessert! Cheesecake. YUMMM! Cake. YUMMM! All good stuff!

    Feb 21 1:51 pm


  19. Mami2jcn

    At Olive Garden my favorite part is the salad and breadsticks.

    Feb 21 2:12 pm


  20. Mami2jcn

    tweet–https://twitter.com/#!/mami2jcn/status/172035808604332035

    Feb 21 2:12 pm


  21. Elena

    I love their salad and breadsticks

    Feb 21 2:19 pm


  22. Amanda Sakovitz

    I love the entree

    Feb 21 2:23 pm


  23. courtney b

    we like the dessert!

    Feb 21 2:46 pm


  24. Julie
    @julaver

    I would be suspicious of anyone who doesn’t say dessert.

    Feb 21 2:53 pm


  25. I love love the five cheese ziti al forno soooo probably the main course but I love their (secret) chocolate lasagna cake…it’s their “bday” cake but you can get it for about 8 dollars…amazing

    Feb 21 3:37 pm


  26. dessert!! save the best for last :)

    Feb 21 3:44 pm


  27. The dinner/entree is my favorite…as much as I love those breadsticks and salad!

    Feb 21 3:59 pm


  28. kallie

    the meal itself: steak gorgonzola alfredo. oooo la la.

    Feb 21 4:06 pm


  29. Melissa
    @sempremelissa

    My favorite part of any meal is always the salad. It’s ok, I know I’m a loser. :)

    Feb 21 4:13 pm


  30. Katie

    The entree! I’m a hopeless carb lover, and Olive Garden’s pastas are super delicious.

    Feb 21 6:16 pm


  31. I love their salad. I also eat a lot of that and then take half of my entree home to eat for lunch the next day.

    Feb 21 6:56 pm


  32. I love the appetizers.

    Feb 21 8:38 pm


  33. I freaking love Olive Garden. “Authentic” or not, all of their food is delicious! My fav food is their salads, nom nom nom.

    Feb 21 10:37 pm


  34. Solducky

    Appetizer for sure! A great way to get started on the meal.
    soluckyducky at gmail dot com

    Feb 21 11:26 pm


  35. Amy Rouse

    tell me your favorite part of a three course meal

    dinner

    not a dessert person at all

    Feb 22 11:24 am


  36. kallie

    totally the steak gorgonzola alfredo- dinner!!!!

    Feb 22 1:25 pm


  37. I would probably say the entree! I inhale the appetizer and am usually too full for dessert (thanks bread sticks!). :)

    Feb 22 10:23 pm


  38. Jessie C.

    Salad and breadsticks of Olive Garden are our favorite.
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

    Feb 23 1:58 am


  39. Dana Cockerham

    My favorite part of Olive Garden’s 3 course meal will always always be the appetizer. Whether it be the soup or the salad, you just can’t go wrong ;-)

    Feb 23 10:26 am