West Hills got a little tastier. Specifically in the Fallbrook Center. Olive Garden officially opened on May 5th and complimented it with the 20 new menu items Olive Garden has added.
Their menu has evolved over the years. One of my favorite dishes that did not survive the test of time was their Salad Pizza. I am not certain the specific entrée name. Essentially, it was Caesar salad atop crisp pizza crust. I loved it so much, I ordered it each time. Despite this, the staff at that particular location I frequented made the pizza custom for me. Now that is customer service.
Fast forward to our recent visit. We were promptly greeted by several friendly, smiling employees. I felt like I was experiencing a flash back to a time when employees were naturally concerned about service. It made the check-in easy and pleasant. Despite the busied atmosphere on this weekend night, our server managed to greet us within a fair amount of time.
When I browsed their new menu, I have to admit. I was in disbelief. I saw the Crab Topped Chicken was under 600 calories. I had to try what their lighter menu fare would taste like. When I received the plate, again shocking. It was a decent portion and I knew there would be leftovers. The pan-seared chicken was not over cooked and flavorful. Each part of the dish complimented the other. The spinach appeared more cooked than the picture in the menu. Regardless, I like my spinach sautéed. It was a solid dish and in my opinion one of the best from our entrées.
The second favorite dish was the Lasagna Classico. Again, lower in calories, 610 total. Finally our dessert favorite was the Lemon Creme Cake. Mike the waiter brought over a side of raspberry sauce to compliment the light, fluffy, lemon crème perfection. Overall, it was not too sweet.
My interest in Olive Garden is restored. Despite ditching my long time menu favorite, I will visit again with confidence especially because our overall experience and the lighter menu options.
The dishes we ordered and pictured in the collage from left to right:
Crab Topped Chicken Delicate crab meat in a flavorful lemon cream sauce atop grilled chicken breasts. Served with fresh spinach, diced tomatoes and garlic-parmesan mashed potatoes.
Lasagna Fresca Hand folded vegetable lasagna, sautéed shrimp and grilled tomatoes with sundried tomato sauce.
Lasagna Classico Prepared fresh daily with layers of pasta, Italian cheeses and our homemade meat sauce.
New Cucina Mia Choose your pasta: New Large Paccheri, New Tri-Colored Vegetable Penne, Bucatini, New Cavatappi, Whole Wheat Linguine, New Gluten-Free Rotini. Choose your made-from-scratch sauce: New Creamy Garlic Asiago, New Primavera, New Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato, New Spicy Diavolo, Fresh Tomato Pomodoro. Add a topping (additional cost): New Chicken Meatballs, New Sausage Meatballs, Meatballs, Sautéed Shrimp.
Vanilla Panna Cotta with Strawberries Sweet summer strawberries top a rich and creamy vanilla custard inspired by Italy’s mountainous Piedmont region.
Lemon Cream Cake with raspberry sauce on the side. Delicate white cake and lemon cream filling with a vanilla crumb topping.
Our new menu is designed to give our guests an enhanced experience by giving them new flavors, more variety and everyday value,” said Jay Spenchian, executive vice president of marketing for Olive Garden. “We’re staying true to the fresh, simple Italian food, while creating more ways to delight our guests.
More information on their new dinner options:
“Cucina Mia” Section: Introducing a new menu section that gives guests the ability to create their own entrée from a variety of six pastas and five made-from-scratch sauces—for only $9.99 every day.
Small Plates: Expanding the Tastes of Italy section to include eight small plate dishes for guests who want to explore different flavors.
Lighter Italian Fare: Enhancing variety within the under–575–calories menu section by introducing additional dishes for calorie-counting guests.
Specialty Entrees: Bringing new culinary-forward entrees to the chicken and seafood sections of the menu, enhanced by preparation on a new Piastra flat-top grill for a more evenly cooked, tender and juicy taste.
Antipasti and Caprese Salads: Creating new ways for guests to enjoy Olive Garden’s popular signature salad through the addition of antipasti or caprese toppings.
3015 Fallbrook Avenue
Hours: Sun-Thurs 11am-10pm and Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
General Manager: Norma Rodriguez
Olive Garden specials
About Olive Garden
Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 800 restaurants, more than 96,000 employees and more than $3.6 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), which owns and operates more than 2,100 restaurants that generate over $8.5 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 200,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2014, Darden was named to the FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the fourth year in a row. Our restaurant brands – Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.
Disclaimer: All our opinions are our own. We received a discount on our entire dining experience.