The newly remodeled Olive Garden in Winter Park held a tasting event tonight so that we could try some courses off the new menu and provide our feedback!
Check out that new sign!
Yum! I couldn't wait! The menu looked tasty!
We were given two drink tickets. For the first drink, I chose a Peach Bellini. It was frozen and soo refreshing. And I couldn't taste any alcohol (which could be bad!)
We soon had the famous breadsticks. I was good and only had one...I had to pace myself!
They talked to us a little bit about was going on.
And introduced us to General Manager Will Cerrud.
Then we got down to business!
First up was the Crispy Risotto Bites which was Italian cheese with rice and slightly fried.
This was my fav small plate. It was just perfectly put together and fried.
Next was Polenta Shrimp alla Greca which had sauteed shrimp, creamy parmesan polenta, capers, Mediterranean olives, and tomato sauce.
I liked this one okay. They polenta was good but there was an olive-y flavor which I'm not a huge fan of.
Then we had Artichoke Fritti which was seasoned with garlic salt and parmesan and served with a 5 cheese marinara.
I didn't really enjoy this one. The artichokes were bitter or sour or something. Just not for me.
Then we had Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad Topper which was the traditional salad with kale, mozzarella, basil, roasted tomatoes, and peppers.
The salad lacked the heavy salad dressing I loved and seemed only lightly spritzed with it (I couldn't taste it at all). But we were all grabbing those HUGE chucks of fresh mozzarella. Sooo good!
Then we moved on to the Smashed Chicken Meatball Sandwich which was chicken meatballs, focaccia bread, oregano, red peppers, and mozzarella served on marinara sauce.
I made sure not to get any red sauce on mine but the sandwich was sooo good! The bread could be a little crispier but that meatball with the mozzarella was delicious!
Next was Bucatini with Diavlo Sauce and Sausage Meatballs. This was meatballs on hollow spaghetti with a spicy sauce.
I'm a wimp so I tried just a bit of the sausage and one of the noodles but it was too spicy for me. My friends who like spicy foods enjoyed it though!
Then we had the Garlic Rosemary Chicken which was served with fresh spinach, caramelized garlic, and parmesan garlic mashed potatoes.
This was surprising my second favorite entree of the night. Its on the Lighter Italian Fare portion of the menu and I don't usually enjoy those because they're too healthy tasting. But this chicken was sooo moist and the mashed potatoes and the sauce it was served with was yummy!
Time for another drink! I tried the Moscato Citrus Berry Cocktail
Also really refreshing and perfectly sweet. I honestly couldn't pick between my favorite drink of the night.
Next was the Lasagna Fresca, a seasonal item, which was sauteed shrimp, veggie lasagna (with squash, bell peppers, and zucchini), pesto and a sun-dried tomato sauce.
THIS was my favorite entree of the night. All of it was just perfect. Shrimp and lasagna. And no red sauce! The sun-dried tomato sauce was so creamy. And after the lasagna was gone, I just kept eating the sauce. It was THAT good!
Then we had the Chicken Abruzzi which was chicken with kale, cantalloni beans, savory broth and garden veggies.
This too was on the Lighter Italian Fare portion of the menu. And I felt like you could tell it. It definitely tasted healthy.
The last entree was Pappardelle Pescatore which was scallops, sauteed shrimp, clams, asparagus, tomatoes and pappardelle noodles in a creamy red pepper sauce.
I really liked the seafood in this one. There were some bites that were a little too spicy for me so I just tried to find some without too much sauce.
By this point we were sooo full but it was time for the Grand Finale! Vanilla Panna Cotta with Strawberries.
This was the perfect ending to the meal! The Panna Cotta was delicious!
While we were eating, the camera was everywhere. At first it was a little intimdating because they were right there in your face, but we got used to it. They also interviewed us about what we thought about the food and the remodeled restaurant (very nice! I like the modern way the restaurant went.)
It was such a fun night out and I enjoyed getting to try the new menu items and see the remodeled restaurant! Thank you to Olive Garden for inviting me!