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.


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?


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.


  1. Katrina

    February 21, 2012 9:04 am

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

  2. Sunshine

    February 21, 2012 9:06 am

    The dessert, of course! :)

  3. Donna

    February 21, 2012 9:08 am

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

  4. Amy Reinhart

    February 21, 2012 9:16 am

    DESSERT!!!!! :)

  5. Jesabes

    February 21, 2012 9:18 am

    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.

  6. Colleen McGarrity

    February 21, 2012 9:28 am

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

  7. Lacey

    February 21, 2012 9:31 am

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

  8. C @ Kid Things

    February 21, 2012 9:54 am

    The dessert is always my favorite part. Always.

  9. AKuipers

    February 21, 2012 10:16 am

    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!

  10. Jen

    February 21, 2012 10:23 am

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

  11. Lea

    February 21, 2012 10:43 am

    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!

  12. Michelle :)

    February 21, 2012 11:55 am

    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!

  13. K

    February 21, 2012 11:57 am

    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. :)

  14. Dave (Scrumpy Daddy)

    February 21, 2012 12:43 pm

    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. :-)

  15. Tracy

    February 21, 2012 12:51 pm

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

  16. Mia @ 1MomJustSaying

    February 21, 2012 1:15 pm

    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!

  17. Jane

    February 21, 2012 1:51 pm

    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!

  18. Mami2jcn

    February 21, 2012 2:12 pm

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

  19. Mami2jcn

    February 21, 2012 2:12 pm


  20. Elena

    February 21, 2012 2:19 pm

    I love their salad and breadsticks

  21. Amanda Sakovitz

    February 21, 2012 2:23 pm

    I love the entree

  22. courtney b

    February 21, 2012 2:46 pm

    we like the dessert!

  23. Julie

    February 21, 2012 2:53 pm

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

  24. Kelly Elizabeth

    February 21, 2012 3:37 pm

    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

  25. stevie sowell

    February 21, 2012 3:44 pm

    dessert!! save the best for last :)

  26. Amy J

    February 21, 2012 3:59 pm

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

  27. kallie

    February 21, 2012 4:06 pm

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

  28. Melissa

    February 21, 2012 4:13 pm

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

  29. Katie

    February 21, 2012 6:16 pm

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

  30. Brenda

    February 21, 2012 6:56 pm

    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.

  31. Ashley H.

    February 21, 2012 8:38 pm

    I love the appetizers.

  32. Jenn

    February 21, 2012 10:37 pm

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

  33. Solducky

    February 21, 2012 11:26 pm

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

  34. Amy Rouse

    February 22, 2012 11:24 am

    tell me your favorite part of a three course meal


    not a dessert person at all

  35. kallie

    February 22, 2012 1:25 pm

    totally the steak gorgonzola alfredo- dinner!!!!

  36. Jennifer

    February 22, 2012 10:23 pm

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

  37. Jessie C.

    February 23, 2012 1:58 am

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

  38. Dana Cockerham

    February 23, 2012 10:26 am

    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 ;-)

  39. Kae

    February 23, 2012 10:26 am

    Well, if I could ever make it to the dessert, I would say the dessert. Since that so rarely happens, I have to say the appetizers.

  40. Misty Campbell

    February 23, 2012 12:24 pm


  41. Logan Campbell

    February 23, 2012 12:24 pm


  42. Jenna

    February 23, 2012 3:32 pm

    Dessert, of course! I have such a bad sweet tooth.

  43. Stefanie

    February 23, 2012 5:26 pm

    My favorite part of the meal is dessert!

  44. chalica

    February 23, 2012 8:01 pm

    From Olive Garden, my favorite course is the salad and breadsticks! I could eat a dozen of those!

  45. Myne Whitman

    February 23, 2012 8:57 pm

    Definitely the dessert! :)

  46. Bonnie Kraus

    February 24, 2012 12:12 pm

    The Zuppa Tuscana Soup….I want to swim in a vat of it!!!!! Delicious

  47. Meryl

    February 24, 2012 4:41 pm

    The dessert, especially if it’s chocolate!

  48. Louis

    February 24, 2012 4:42 pm

    The main course.

  49. Ashley H.

    February 24, 2012 5:16 pm

    I love the appetizers!

  50. Erica Best

    February 24, 2012 5:53 pm

    I think the most important character trait is caring and understand. I have dated alot of guys in the past who never show that to me.

    purple_lover_04 at msn dot com

  51. claudia davis

    February 24, 2012 6:58 pm

    My fav part is always the appetizer. Great way to start off a meal!

  52. Mary

    February 25, 2012 10:07 am

    I love the salad and bread sticks for sure.

    marybug2 @ yahoo . com

  53. Maddie

    February 25, 2012 11:04 am

    My favorite is dessert! Isn’t that everyone’s favorite? :-D

  54. Janice Cooper

    February 25, 2012 11:26 am

    I love the dinner along with the breadsticks

  55. Lisa

    February 25, 2012 4:12 pm

    I like each in their own turn…but dessert would be my favorite, since I usually only have it when I am out and it’s a special occasion.

  56. Sharon Harris

    February 25, 2012 4:38 pm

    I love their Alfredo sauce! I’ll actually order some on the side to dip the breadsticks in when I feel like really splurging

  57. Lauren

    February 25, 2012 6:08 pm

    probably their breadsticks and salad. :)

  58. nichole

    February 25, 2012 9:49 pm

    we love to get the soup, salad, and bread sticks and then dessert!!!

  59. Kelley

    February 26, 2012 9:30 am

    The main dish is ALWAYS my favorite!!

  60. Ashley Hatten

    February 26, 2012 1:41 pm

    Of course the dessert is my favorite! thank you!

  61. Ashley Hatten

    February 26, 2012 1:42 pm

    shared on twitter

  62. Erin

    February 26, 2012 3:19 pm

    Yum! I have to go with the entree. I prefer to make my own sweets :)

  63. Shari

    February 27, 2012 8:21 am

    I totally enjoy the entrees the best!

  64. Diane

    February 27, 2012 9:02 am

    I think the appetizer is usually the part I’m most excited about. I’m not sure why … probably it’s that I really like dipping things.

  65. Gina

    February 27, 2012 9:02 am

    Usually I am an entree person, because I love pasta, but I have an addiction to Olive Garden’s chicken & gnocchi soup.

  66. Andrea

    February 27, 2012 9:23 am

    I know this is strange, but their Peach Iced Tea… LOVE that stuff! (I’ve seriously thought about ordering just a tea for To Go while we’re on our way to The Other Chicken restaurant that’s in the same plaza…) :)

  67. Chad Clark

    February 27, 2012 9:58 am

    I never have room for dessert after my favorite of the all you can eat salad and bread sticks dipped in cheesy alfredo sauce!!…MMMMMM!!

  68. Ashley // Our Little Apartment

    February 27, 2012 10:54 am

    Mike and I used to go ALL THE TIME in college. We’d get some cheese fonduta and share some pasta. Ahhh, memories.

    We actually haven’t been in years – I don’t even know where the nearest Olive Garden is…

  69. Kesha

    February 27, 2012 3:42 pm

    Wow! That’s a hard decision. I love the salad and breadsticks, pasta and dessert! I probably would have to go with the appetizer salad and breadsticks for my favorite! The dressing makes it wonderful!

  70. Samantha Jo campen

    February 27, 2012 6:50 pm

    Um, I love it all? But the main course I think :-)

  71. Mandy

    February 27, 2012 7:05 pm

    It would have to be dessert!

  72. tyler aiken

    February 27, 2012 7:11 pm

    I love the part where you just get up enough courage to pop one of those juicy hot peppercinis into your mouth and then kill the heat by wiping up the last of the italian dressing with buttery breadstick and devouring it!

  73. Melanie

    February 28, 2012 5:10 pm


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