When most Americans think of Italian food, their thoughts immediately turn to the Olive Garden. With more than 800 locations across the world, this Italian-themed restaurant chain offers decent food at affordable prices.


Olive Garden Basics

Olive Garden was founded in 1982 in Orlando by General Mills, and in only seven years, there were 142 restaurants in the United States. As of 2015, there are 818 locations across the world, including restaurants in Canada, Mexico, Kuwait, Peru and Brazil. The newest international location is in Malaysia, which opened in May of 2015. Most Olive Garden locations have opening hours beginning at 11:00 a.m and serve the lunch menu until 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. On the weekends, the dinner menu is served throughout the day. During the week, most locations close at 10:00 p.m and on the weekends they close at 11:00 p.m.


The Olive Garden Menu

The menu at Olive Garden is Italian-themed and is made up largely of pasta dishes, salads, soups and breadsticks, which is their signature item. There is also an array of Italian desserts at each location including tiramisu, zeppoli and a selection of cakes and other sweets. Most meals at the Olive Garden begin with a salad, which is served family style, with a basket of garlic butter breadsticks. Soup is also available as an addition to your entree, and all locations make their soup on-site using the same recipes from store to store.

Some of the traditional pasta entree choices at Olive Garden include Eggplant Parmigiana, Five Cheese Ziti al Forno, and the signature Tour of Italy, which includes Chicken Parmigiana, Lasagna Classico and Fettuccine Alfredo.

For those who are focused on nutrition, Olive Garden has introduced a lighter fare menu including Garlic Rosemary Chicken, Herbed-grilled Salmon and Citrus Chicken Sorrento.

Olive Garden also has dishes with chicken, seafood and beef, most with an Italian fare, which are perfect for those who do not want pasta. These dishes include Shrimp Carbonara, Chicken Marsala and Steak Toscano.


Olive Garden Prices

Olive Garden has moderate prices, and customers can expect to pay from $11 to $30 per person, as of 2015. Most entrees range from $10 to $20, but they come with salad or soup and breadsticks. Other appetizers are available, too, including Stuffed Mushrooms and Calamari. These add $5 to $10 to the price of the meal. Desserts range from $3 to $7, and if customers want to add specialty non-alcoholic drinks, there is an additional charge of $3 to $4 for coffee, cappuccino, smoothies and fresh juice.

Olive Garden Coupons

Since the cost of Olive Garden can add up quickly, many customers seek out coupons for the Italian chain. Olive Garden often advertises in newspapers with special promotions, and during certain times of the year, there are yearly sales. One of the most common promotions from Olive Garden, which the retailer runs several times of the year, is the Never Ending Pasta Bowl, which allows customers to get an unlimited number of bowls of pasta for $9.99, as of 2015.

Olive Garden also has coupons on their website, and customers can find promotions and coupon codes on the Internet on websites such as Retailmenot.com.