Gonzo Food Critics Review: The Olive Garden

The Olive Garden

By Grace O'Laochdha
Pearls: 3 out of 5

OK, this is a big chain and I've only been to two of their establishments, but the discrepancy between the two was fascinating.

Roseville: We were told there would be a twenty minute wait. After about an hour we were finally seated in a noisy, smelly area and eventually managed to procure some dinner. The only thing I remember about what I ordered was that it wasn't worth remembering. OK, you got me, I lied. It was some kind of pasta with chicken and a white wine sauce. I really don't remember how it tasted, though.

Golden Valley: I was told there would be a twenty minute wait, but was seated in ten minutes. As I was dining alone, I expected a tiny table by the bathroom or kitchen, but I got a nice table for four and was served right away. I had the Seafood Portofino. The pasta was unremarkable but the seafood was wonderful - fresh and just the right temperature, and there was plenty of it. I asked my very nice waitress what to have for dessert, and she recommended the Black Tie Cake, which proved to be very light and very rich at the same time somehow. Perfect!

The only thing I would have changed was the salad: iceberg lettuce with exactly two slices of roma tomato, 3 rings of red onion, and a dash of shredded carrots. Too boring. They can do better!

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