Olive Garden

Ten Items on the Olive Garden Secret Menu

You love Olive Garden, but wouldn’t you really like to know about its secret menu? The secret menu consists of a few dishes the restaurant will gladly serve you, but you won’t find listed on the pages of the real menu.

  1. Zeppole Dipping Sauces

What is zeppole? Typical of Rome and Naples, a zeppola is an Italian pastry made by deep-frying dough. Usually topped with powdered sugar, zeppole can be filled with custard, jelly, pastry cream, or honey. Sometimes zeppole are light and puffy, other times they’re textured more like bread or pasta.

Zeppole are Olive Garden’s best version of a doughnut, dusted with powdered sugar and served with a warm chocolate dipping sauce.

The secret part? Ask for it with a different dipping sauce. A smart server may have a few alternatives up his/her sleeve such as raspberry sauce, a sweet and decadent accompaniment to your Italian zeppole.zeppole

  1. Chicken Fettuccine Florentine

You may have loved ordering this creamy dish at Olive Garden, but alas, it was taken off the menu.

But little did we know – until now – that it is part of the secret menu!

All you have to do is kindly ask your server if the chef can make it for you. The odds are they’ll say yes because they should have all of the ingredients.chicken florentine fettucine

  1. Stuffed Ravioli

One of the best parts of eating out is sampling dishes you know you’d never make. Ravioli are delicious, but let’s face it, they’re time consuming to make.

You’ll probably find some sort of stuffed ravioli on the Olive Garden menu, but what if you don’t like what’s piled inside or used as a sauce? All you have to do is ask.

Some choices to try? Italian sausage and ricotta, spinach and chicken, and beef and tomatoes.stuffed ravioli

  1. Vegetarian

Most vegetarians know that if they muster up the courage to ask, many restaurants will accommodate their dining needs. Olive Garden is no exception.

Just about any dish on the menu may be ordered without chicken, beef, pork or shrimp. The restaurant is also accommodating with sauce options, easily changing out creamy sauces for tomato-based ones.

You can also come up with your own pasta combinations. Choose a pasta you see on the menu, along with some vegetables you see mentioned on the menu, and don’t be afraid to ask.vegetarian pasta

  1. Extra Sauce

Not interested in going light on the sauce? Marino, Alfredo – you name it – get extra sauce right on top of your meal, or ask for it on the side.

This goes the same for those of you who want to go the lighter route. Ask for half the sauce or sauce on the side. You can do this with salads, too – ask for the dressing on the side to avoid having your salad drenched.extra sauce

  1. Sampler Italiano

Sometimes it’s so hard to decide what to order off the menu. Six different items sound delicious, but who wants to order them all?

Ask your server to customize a sampler platter for you. Ask for a mixture of items or double up on items. You may have to pay a bit extra, but it will still be less expensive than ordering all the dishes that sounded good!

The sampler hack works especially well with the appetizer menu. You can mix enough to make a whole meal out of it. sampler italiano

  1. Vegetable Substitute

Hate lima beans and prefer broccoli? Just ask. Or, if you want to skip the pasta and substitute vegetables, again just ask. Olive Garden is quite cooperative.vegetable substitute

  1. So Many Ways to Order Chicken

You can only eat so many salads with grilled chicken on top. If you like the chicken that comes in the Caesar salad, but not the Caesar version of salad, ask for that chicken to be put on your regular salad.

You can also ask Olive Garden to swap out the grilled chicken on your salad with the chicken served in the Chicken Parmigiana.chicken

  1. Shrimp Makes Its Rounds, Too

Just like with the chicken salad mentioned above, make your own salad with shrimp. Tell your server you would like to exchange the grilled shrimp on your salad with the shrimp used in the Shrimp Frittata or fried shrimp.shrimp

  1. Modified Lasagna

Part of the secret menu at Olive Garden is your ability to modify your meal. Want lasagna made with spaghetti noodles? Ask for it. How about lasagna with fettuccine noodles– the restaurant will happily oblige.modified lasagna

  1. Half and Half Soup

Minestrone, cheesy potato, or tomato soup? You want them all! Ask your server to mix tomato soup and minestrone together. Or enjoy the creamy potato mixed with the vegetable-rich minestrone.

The restaurant gladly puts half and half together in one bowl. 1/2 and 1/2 soup

  1. Chicken Parmesan Alfredo

If you’re eating at Olive Garden, and you’ve already blown through the salad and breadsticks, it’s time to go for broke! When ordering fettuccine alfredo, ask to substitute chicken parmesan for the grilled chicken.

And maybe ask for broccoli on top just so you’ll feel better about all that oozy, cheesy goodness.chicken parmesan alfredo

To Conclude

The hardest part of ordering off Olive Garden’s secret menu is mustering up the courage to ask for it. But, once you do, you’ll be delighted at the willingness to accommodate you.

If you want to experiment on your own, start by asking your server, “Tell me about your secret menu.” Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a new dish not mentioned here. If so, please come back and share it with us.

Whether you’re eating out in your hometown, or venturing out into a new city, check out our website first. We’ve got restaurant reviews and so much more. You can even catalog your dining experiences so you’ll never forget where you’ve eaten and what you’ve loved.

Image: Mike Mozart

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