Olive Garden in Tyler Texas

by admin on March 24, 2010

in Italian

The Olive Garden is a chain of restaurants serving Italian style food. It is more upmarket than other American Italian eateries in Tyler and the prices reflect this, but the quality of food and service are superior to say – Carinos or Little Italy.

The Olive Garden is quite large and has several rooms and corners. The central bar area is light and airy with little round tables and quiet music playing – perfect for a daytime lunch or evening drinks. In the other areas there are tables which can seat larger parties. Some of the booths are very cozy with low level lighting. I really like the use of lighting in the Olive Garden in Tyler. It is also spotlessly clean with nice décor including healthy real plants and bottles of Italian wine on display.

We went with our family one Sunday lunchtime. It was busy, but not noisy and although it was nearly full, it didn’t appear crowded. We were greeted and seated rapidly at a table by the window. Our server instantly appeared bringing us menus and drinks, and offered us salad and bread. The salad came in a huge glass bowl and 4 Italian style pottery side plates. The bread sticks were warm and fresh – more like rolls than ‘sticks’ as we would know them in Europe. The salad and bread are included with the price of the meal but you can pay extra for a dipping sauce for the bread if you want, or choose from many of the different appetizers.

The menu is clear and there is an additional picture menu of the ‘special dishes’ The problem is, as my husband, commented, that the dishes never look as good in real life as they do on the pictures! A children’s menu occupied our kids with coloring and puzzles. There are 7 meal choices for the under 12 which include grilled cheese and macaroni but also mini grown up meals like fetticine and ravioli. My daughter had filled ravioli which was undoubtedly made from fresh pasta. I was impressed to see that broccoli featured on a kid’s menu in Texas. My son had chicken and broccoli and it was really nicely cooked – not mushy! Meals were $5.99 and included a drink which could be juice or milk, instead of the usual fountain drinks.

On the main menu the entrees are divided into meat, fish and … There are healthy options available – look for the picture of the Olive leaf to find low fat choices.

The desserts are extremely tempting. We chose a Tiramisu and heavenly chocolate mousse cake. The kids had huge bowls of the best chocolate ice-cream I have tasted. Sadly the cream topping was synthetic. It seemed odd to me that the chefs would cut corners in this way when everything else was fresh and authentic.

Finally, the wine list is impressive. The house Chianti comes highly recommended.

I would say that eating at the Olive Garden was a pleasant surprise. For a chain of American restaurants, it has a nice atmosphere and the food is good. I think it would be a great venue for a party or a family get together.

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