NYCReview

photo credit: Kate Previte

The inside of Olive Garden in Times Square. It's all very yellow, with dark carpets and plain wooden tables.
5.6

Olive Garden

Italian

MidtownTimes Square

$$$$Perfect For:Big Groups
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The Times Square Olive Garden is the largest in the world. It stretches an entire city block between 47th and 48th Streets, and when we went there two Saturdays before Christmas, the wait for a table was four hours long. (Thankfully, you can put your name down, and they’ll text you.)

Seated amongst 500 other people, you can feel completely anonymous here. Still, Manhattan’s only Olive Garden stays true to its slogan, treating each guest like a valued family member. Even at its busiest, your server will kindly recommend the alfredo dipping sauce for your breadsticks, double-check that you understand what unlimited really means, and make sure your breadstick arsenal never gets too low. Even New York City's finest establishments could learn a thing or two. 

The exterior of Olive Garden.

photo credit: Kate Previte

Those breadsticks—covered in butter and garlic salt—taste much better than you’d expect, and the iceberg lettuce salad is worthy of a second helping, which works out well, because it’s unlimited. The same can’t be said for the pasta. It’s all extremely overcooked, probably because it was frozen 20 minutes before it arrived at your table. For best results, avoid the pasta altogether and stick to the $15.99 Never-Ending Soup, Salad & Breadsticks. Order a few pitchers of sangria, and challenge your server to live up to their promise: “If you want 500 soups, 500 salads, and 500 breadsticks, I’ll bring that to you.” 

Food Rundown

Unlimited Breadsticks

They are so pale that they're almost white. They are so squishy that they almost dissolve without chewing. They are so delicious you might consider sneaking some into your bag for later. They are almost not bread. They are almost a bread-like simulation.

Unlimited Salad

There are whole pepperoncini peppers in here. It’s everything you would want out of an iceberg salad.

Alfredo

The pastas with alfredo sauce are, apparently, what Olive Garden is known for. We wish this was not the case because it’s a bit too thick and gloopy.

Shrimp Scampi

We don’t mean to be dramatic, but avoid this pasta at all costs. None of the pastas reheat well, but the shrimp, green vegetables, and mushy angel hair reheat worst of all.

Chicken Parm

If you’re going to order a pasta, consider the chicken parm with spaghetti. The chicken is dry and the spaghetti is limp, but once your server showers it in parmesan cheese it goes down easy.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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