Florida Guide > Dining
Olive Garden Soup and Salad Lunch Special
We don’t often eat out at lunchtime when we are staying at our villa preferring to eat breakfast and lunch by the pool on our days away from the theme parks followed by dinner at a local restaurant or breakfast en route to the parks with fruit and snacks in the park and maybe picking up a takeaway on the way home after the fireworks. But on those days when I am dragged kicking and screaming to the shopping malls we often call into the Olive Garden for lunch. Over the last year or so the Olive Garden restaurants have been running a soup and salad lunch special that is extremely good value for money as well as being very tasty.
Basically you get a bottomless bowl of their house salad, as many hot garlic bread rolls as you care to eat and as many bowls of soup as you want. Well I could live on their salad and garlic rolls but it would be rude not to enjoy the odd bowl or two of soup as well.
The salad comes in a large glass bowl and consists of lettuce (of course), big chunks of beefsteak tomatoes, red onions, peppers, black olives and croutons and is liberally dressed in a very garlicky Italian style dressing. The hot garlic bread sticks are soft and moreish salty garlic topping and you can get refills as often as you want. You then get a choice of four different types of soup. First there is the ubiquitous Minestrone which I can highly recommend which consists of a light tomato broth packed with a selection of fresh vegetables, beans and pasta the perfect vegetarian option.
Secondly there is Chicken and Gnocchi which is a creamy soup made with roast chicken, traditional Italian potato dumplings and spinach.
Thirdly there is Pasta e Fagioli which is a rich blend of red and white beans, minced beef, tomatoes and pasta in a savoury broth and last but not least there is my husbands favourite of Zuppa Toscana which is a hearty mix of spicy sausage, russet potatoes and cavolo greens (they look and taste like kale) in a creamy base.
When the server takes your order they ask you which soup you would like to start with and then they keep coming back until you don’t want to order any more. You can stick with one soup or sample them all if you wish and each time you have the option of having freshly ground pepper and freshly grated parmesan added to suit your taste. This is probably not too popular an option in the summer months but for anyone visiting in the autumn or winter and looking for a reasonably priced lunch I would highly recommend it.
The offer is available daily until 4pm and is well worth the $6. 95 price tag.
Author: Steve and Julie Roach
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Page added on: 8 February 2011
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