23442 Hawthorne Blvd
Torrance, CA 90505
Olive Garden is located along Hawthorne Blvd in Torrance at a large business park populated with primarily medical offices. Being a large chain, the atmosphere and menu are standard. Prices range from the all you can eat pastas and salads under $10 to some very pricey meat dishes that hit $20.
CARL: After scanning the menu and eliminating the $15+ items that looked tempting, I came back to the heavily advertised Olive Garden “endless” soup and salad combo. For $7.95 you get all the soup, salad and breadsticks you can shove down. There are a few standard soup choices but I opted for the waiter’s choice of the spicy Toscana Sausage and Potato Soup to give my lunch some punch. I regularly have the Olive Garden salad which I know can be a bit bland but it is tasty.
The bread sticks were perhaps the best part – warm and with lots of flavor. I utilized my bread sticks to help put away both the soup and the salad. I even shared a few with my co-pig Oliver.
At the end of the meal I had plenty to eat and was quite satisfied. The wait staff was friendly but just a tad slow. We had to wait 5 minutes to be seated and when it came time for the check, that took another 10 minutes. During the meal we were well attended to with various staff removing old plates and refilling my soda. I’m a stickler for a clean table and I don’t like looking at my old dishes – reminds me of what a pig I am I guess.
My Italian father would likely compare Olive Garden to Taco Bell as far as authenticity goes. From my perspective one doesn’t go to Olive Garden for a perfectly authentic Italian meal, one goes for something close – and Olive Garden delivers something close. Overall The Olive Garden was what I expect – clean, nice and comfortable. On balance for lunch it is slightly overpriced and not really a place to go for a “lunch special” deal. I’d stick with the endless lunch specials and leave the fancier stuff for a dinner visit. So to summarize, the food was good, the service was good but took a bit too long. I give Olive Garden 3.5 Pigs on the Lunch Pig scale of 1-5 Pigs.
Oliver: I don’t eat here often, and due to changes in plans, we were forced to walk to a place for lunch. Being located next to a medical facility, there are numerous restaurants located nearby. At my urging we went to Olive Garden. I wanted to eat something a little heavier than usual. Or actually, I wanted to eat something heavy for Lunch Pig again. The first thing I noticed while sitting waiting for a table was the decor. It was pretty nice and obviously was a little fancier than the typical Lunch Pig meal.
I ordered the Chicken Parmigiana (1090 calories) it came with a soup and I too ordered the spicy Toscana Sausage. It was spicy enough for me and I enjoyed it, though I could have used a little more.
The Chicken Parmigiana came with some pasta and I had them use their grater to add some more cheese. You definitely get the feeling there is a team of people working your table as several people will be involved in the serving of your food. The dish tasted great, the chicken was good, but maybe on the dry side. The sauce was good and zesty. Considering the price I would have liked a larger piece of chicken, but it was good.
We went on a Friday and it was pretty crowded. We had to wait to be seated and upon getting into the main dining room you could see it was really hopping. So be careful if you need to get in and out fast. Overall everything was good. My plate was over $10 so it really doesn’t work in the Lunch Pig budget. Drinks are $2.75 will really push that cost up fast. My meal wound up costing $17 after all was said and done. 4 pig place, but because of cost have to back it down to a 3.5