Food related expectations, whether it be in health related matters or palate and flavours, have certainly changed dramatically in the past few years. One of our local restaurants, Olive Garden, has taken this challenge head on and recently unveiled a new menu that provides diners with greater options in both variety and flavour, enchancing both lunch and dinner experiences. This menu change is the biggest change to come about in the history of the establishment.
As much as a mexican person would argue that tex-mex is not real mexican food (And no! It is not!), most Italian people I know will say the food at Olive Garden is not 100% Italian either. In some ways it is true, but what it sometimes lacks in authenticity it makes up by giving the customer what they enjoy: a good variety of Italian-american food.
The new menu strives to present some newer items that are more genuine, while keeping some american favourites, too.
Here are some of the changes made worth discussing:
Polenta Shrimp alla Greca – Sautéed shrimp served on creamy polenta and topped with a fresh blend of olives, capers and tomato sauce. Anything with olives and capers is always a great representation of Italian cuisine!
Parmesan Olive Fritta – Blend of olives and Italian cheeses rolled together and served with a choice of citrus aïoli or gorgonzola cream dipping sauce. This is perhaps one of the most interesting and flavourful additions to the menu. Definitely worth trying as an appetizer to share.
Spicy Calabrian Wings (appetizer) – Chicken wings tossed with garlic and chili peppers from the Italian region of Calabria, served with gorgonzola dipping sauce. Increase the heat by adding their signature Calabrian chili paste. This item is available for a limited time only. A new twist on the american wing concept, the chili paste gives a spurt of flavour and heat that is unparallel
Smashed Chicken Meatball Sandwich – Nothing says hearty american cuisine like meatballs. These are chicken meatballs with roasted bell peppers and mozzarella on a focaccia bun.
Pappardelle Pescatore (Olive Garden Specialty) – Sautéed shrimp, bay scallops and clams tossed with pappardelle pasta, fresh asparagus and tomatoes in a creamy red pepper seafood sauce. This pasta is airy, light and spicy all at the same time. Reminiscent of southern Italian cooking.
Chicken Abruzzi – Grilled chicken breast in a savory broth simmered with cannellini beans, kale and garden vegetables. The simplicity (and health oriented (under 575 cals)) of this dish makes it one of the best new additions to the menu. No thick sauces, no heavy tomato flavour, just a great symphony of fresh ingredients.
And for the sweet tooth? Wild Berry Layer Cake – Layers of moist vanilla cake and Italian cream topped with seasonal berries and white chocolate shavings. Absolutely delicious!!!!
So whether you are a fan of Italian american food or a skeptic italian food lover, go ahead and try some of these new options, you might find yourself being surprised.