Olive Garden, Concord, NH

Our first trip to the Olive Garden was a surprisingly positive one. The dining room and bar area’s walls are light yellow, beige and pastels with simple seating. Our servers were exceptionally thorough and very bubbly.

Upon seating, our servers offered us a tasting of wine. Not many of us partaked and opted for wine during the meal. Instead, some of had the pomegranate limeade. The pomegranate juice, limeade and splash of seltzer was refreshing.

Our meal kicked off with soft bread sticks brushed with garlic butter. The sticks were pretty addictive.

Since all of us ordered entrees, they come with a choice of soup or salad. Our bowls of Garden-Fresh Salad was tossed with Italian dressing and had unlimited refills.

Some of our resident vegetarians enjoyed the Ravioli di Portobello. The Portobello mushroom-filled ravioli was served in a creamy smoked cheese and sun-dried tomato sauce. The filling seemed too premade and as a result, the ravioli reminded us of refridgerator section ravioli. Although the sauce was very tasty, it could not mask the ravioli ($12.75).

The Moscata peach chicken $13.75 was suggested by our server because of its complexity and the dish came with two grilled chicken breasts with a moscato wine and peach glaze served with spinach, tomatoes and curly mafalda pasta tossed in a creamy parmesan and pancetta bacon sauce. The tender chicken paired with the sweet peaches was a nice combination. The pasta also had a nice balance of sweet, tangy and creamy.

The myth exists! As children through adulthood, we have always seen summer television commercials promoting the Never Ending Pasta Bowl Summer Special . It really exists and is exceptionally satisfying. Patrons pay a flat $9.95 for unlimited pasta (you do not have to finish your bowl for another serving. Folks mix and match and even do a few bite tasting before settling into the final meal. For an additional $2.95, there are three choices of protein from meatballs, roast chicken to sausage. For the meat eaters, Italian sausage is the best of the three protein options.

The first round of pasta was a full bowl of al dente linguine with the New Chianti Three Meat Sauce with two meatballs. The wine sauce was really cozy, packed with flavor and just delicious. The meatballs were more like premade meatballs and we were expecting homemade meatballs.

The next bowl was half the size of our first order. We ordered penne and sausage with the arrabbiata sauce. The arrabbiata sauce was our favorite sauce and although the sauce is not on the menu choices, but our request was accommodated. The bits of garlic and slight heat was really tasty. The penne came with a whole sausage and we wish it was already cut for us and distributed throughout the bowl.

Although we were overly full, we wanted to try one last sauce, so vowed ourselves that we would have one bite and then take home the remainder. Another penne with sausage, but this time a white sauce. The creamy alfredo was very thick and cheesy. 

 

We highly suggest folks try out the Never Ending Pasta Bowl and especially the arrabbiata sauce.

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