First of all, I must say that the Olive Garden keeps luring me back because of it's breadsticks. They're great. :)
While the food in general may not be "true" Italian, a good spluge every once in a while really hits the spot. The portions are huge, and they offer quite a variety of dishes. However, I do have a few problems dining here:
- The parking. Their lot isn't very big, causing most people (the overflow) to park in the adjacent Eastland Mall area. Even if you do get a space in the lot, navigating is terrible because of the cramped spaces.
- The wait. In all the times I've been to the Olive Garden, I've never had a wait of less than 10 minutes, and sometimes it has even been over 30 minutes, particularly in the evenings. This is usually the deciding factor in whether to eat here or not.
- Atmosphere. There have been several visits where we've had major noise problems, perhaps from the close seating arrangements. This also lends to the issue of smoking overflow. Often when dining in the non-smoking section we've had toxic fumes wafting our way.
So overall, pretty decent food if you can stand a few inconveniences. One other thing though - what happened to those chilled Andes mints they would give you after dinner? I loved those, and suddenly they don't offer them anymore!