Savor a delicious gastronomic adventure through the enticing world of appetizers at Olive Garden. Olive Garden’s appetizer menu is a sensory symphony, from the crispy perfection of the calamari to the savory ballet of flavors in the stuffed mushrooms. We’ll walk you through the must-try appetizers in this post to help you have the best possible dining experience. We’ve put together a list of the greatest Olive Garden appetizers that will satisfy your appetite and leave you wanting more, regardless of whether you’re a fan of the famous endless breadsticks or excited to discover the creativity behind the bruschetta. Prepare yourself for a delicious journey where every mouthful narrates a tale of culinary brilliance.
A classic appetizer that you will come across on almost every menu at just about the majority of sit-down restaurants across America is Calamari. Though some restaurants present grilled Calamari, the Calamari at Olive Garden is fried and served with a sprinkle of delicious herbs on top. It comes with a dipping sauce of your choice, such as regular, classic marinara, cocktail sauce, as well as a spicy ranch. I tried the cocktail sauce and, *chef’s kiss*, it was simply delicious. The Calamari was lightly breaded and was far from rubbery. They were the most tender squid I have ever had.
If you are not a meat-lover or are trying to be a more environmentally conscious and sustainable individual, this vegetarian option is the one for you. The texture of the Spinach-Artichoke Dip was not only the perfect amount of gooey but was also cheesy and crispy at the same time. Served hot with an assortment of fried flatbread pieces of crisps, the flavor of the artichoke and the spinach complemented the blend of four different kinds of cheese in the dip. I would say that this appetizer could have been a meal on its own because it does tend to get a bit heavy.
The Lasagna Fritta at Olive Garden is exactly what it sounds like; fried and stuffed lasagna pieces with minced meat on top and alfredo sauce as a base layer underneath. If I had to pick a favorite from all of the appetizers I tried, this one would take the cake without any doubt. Not only was it presented aesthetically, but the flavors were to die for! Six breaded rolls of ricotta cheese were deep-fried and folded in an eye-pleasing manner. Even if the flavors had been disappointing—which they weren’t, by the way—I would have still rated this dish highly for the way it was presented.
Stuffed Ziti Frita
The Stuffed Ziti Frita at Olive Garden is essentially crispy fried ziti—a smaller, shorter version of the Penne-shaped pasta—stuffed with five different types of cheeses. The pasta was lightly breaded like all other fried items and fried till it was crispy and golden brown. The pasta was stuffed with a combination of ricotta, romano, mozzarella, parmesan, and cream cheese. Besides the deliciously gooey texture of all the different types of cheese, the dish is served with not only the marinara sauce but the Alfredo as well! What more could anyone want?!
The only soup in our list of the best appetizers at Olive Garden, the Zuppa Toscana, has to be a must-try for anyone going to the restaurant. This Tuscan soup is made with not only veggies, beans, and potatoes, but sausage and bacon too! Olive Garden gives its American twist to the classic soup by adding in a good amount of garlic and heavy cream as well, along with kale. Every bite of this soup is nothing but good vibes and coziness. It feels as though you are sitting next to a fireplace in the Autumn days as you eat this hot and delicious appetizer.
This appetizer at Olive Garden is only available in their ‘Create a Sampler Italiano’ combo that gives you a choice of ordering two or three appetizers altogether. The Toasted Ravioli was small tasty bites of pasta filled with not just beef, but pork too. They were presented on a plate along with the classic, signature Olive Garden marinara sauce as a dip on the side. Whenever I have ordered a plate of ravioli, I have often been disappointed. Either the filling used to be too much, or too less, or the paste sheet would be too thick. But this was hands down the tastiest ravioli snack I have ever had. My favorite thing about it was the lingering taste of parmesan that came at the end of every bite.
Shrimp Scampi Fritta
This Olive Garden appetizer comes in two different styles: Regular Shrimp Scampi Fritta and Spicy Shrimp Scampi Fritta. Since my stomach was about to explode at this point, I only ordered the Regular Shrimp Scampi. The shrimp pieces were coated lightly in breadcrumbs, deep-fried, and pre-tossed in a garlic, lemon, and wine sauce. The texture of the shrimp themselves was ideal, in my opinion. The dish came with a delicious Ranch as a dipping sauce to the shrimp. There was nothing more I could have wanted because I simply love ranch. There was something about Olive Garden’s ranch that just made my mouth feel like fireworks were going off in there—so full of flavor, yet well-balanced at the same time.