When you are in the mood for Italian food, the name Olive Garden can pop up in your mind but think, is dining at Olive Garden affordable?
Eating out has become an expensive activity in the current financial circumstances. But knowing budget-friendly menu options can save a lot when you are dining at Olive Garden.
In this detailed post, I will answer the question, “Is Olive Garden expensive?” by comparing Olive Garden food prices with other restaurants and exploring the average cost of dining at Olive Garden.
Is Olive Garden Expensive?
Olive Garden is not really an expensive restaurant chain, but it is definitely a moderately priced restaurant chain. Also, whether Olive Garden is expensive or not depends on various factors, including your budget, what you order, and the location of the restaurant.
On Olive Garden menu, you can find as low as $.99 to the highest as $48 of food items; hence you don’t have to eat expensive items, only you can meet your hunger on a budget too.
Besides that, Olive Garden is not considered a fancy restaurant; Olive Garden is a fast-casual restaurant.
With the main food course, Olive Garden offering unlimited free breadsticks, soup, and salads is the specialty of this restaurant chain that attracts more foodies.
Let’s consider various factors down below to understand how expensive Olive Garden is.
Related: Olive Garden Birthday Reward In 2023
The Average Cost of Dining at Olive Garden
The average cost of dining at Olive Garden would be between $16 to $22 as of 2023. But you must know the price of menu items varies from location to location.
According to Statista, in the previous year, on average, per person paid $21 for one meal at Olive Garden. Therefore, this survey also indicates Olive Garden is not an expensive restaurant chain.
The cost of dining at Olive Garden is not much higher than at restaurant chains like The Cheesecake Factory, Texas Roadhouse, Red Lobster, and Bonefish Grill.
To dine at a fancy restaurant, you can expect the average cost of mela from $70 to above $100. With that said, you can be dining at Olive Garden for under $30 with an endless menu.
Reasons Why Dining at Olive Garden is Still Considered Cheap
As of today, Olive Garden managed to maintain its reputation as an affordable Italian-American casual dining option for food lovers.
Let’s explore several reasons why Olive Garden is still an affordable option for dining:
Generous Portions at Reasonable Prices
First, you must consider the generous portion of food items at Olive Garden that other restaurant chains are not offering.
You can share many of Olive Garden’s menu items with your friend because it’s large enough. Examples include Chicken & Shrimp Carbonara, Tour of Italy, Breadstick Sandwiches, Shrimp Alfredo, House Salad, and more.
Olive Garden can increase the price of its menu items since many dishes come with generous portions, but Olive Garden still sells them at reasonable prices.
Another big factor why Olive Garden still can give you a good dining experience at reasonable prices because of its family-bundled meals.
By ordering any family-style meals from the menu, you can enjoy the food with up to 12 people. When you are 4 to 6 members of a team, you have more options to choose from.
With the family-bundle meals, Olive Garden also offers family-size pans items that are originated for 4 to 6 people. So, Olive Garden offers more food at low costs for family dining.
See Also: Is Olive Garden Closing?
Unlimited Breadsticks and Soup or Salad
The unlimited free breadsticks and soup or salad are not gone yet from Olive Garden. The never-ending breadsticks, soup, and salad let foodies save the extra cost of dining.
With every main food course, you can have never-ending breadsticks and soup or salads for free, saving your side’s cost when dining at Olive Garden.
Extensive Menu to Choose From
Olive Garden’s menu consists of more than a hundred food items and drinks. This extensive menu gives you a chance to choose whatever you like at various prices.
The extensive menu attracts large numbers of customers to Olive Garden since people find whatever they love. Therefore, Olive Garden can manage to keep prices low for huge sales.
Inexpensive Side Dishes
In a fancy restaurant, the average price of side dishes is over $20, while Olive Garden sides cost you $4 on average.
The most popular side of Olive Garden is meatballs that are selling for $4.79 currently. This particular side is my favorite too, so you can also try it.
Along with reasonable price’s sides, you are also allowed to order free breadsticks, salad, or soups as sides for free.
More Extensive Catering Menu
Olive Garden offers an extensive catering menu that always helps you to save a lot when you need to feed a boatload of people.
The catering menu at Olive Garden offers a large plate of Lasagna, chicken, shrimp, and pasta with many more appetizers.
For Olive Garden’s extensive catering menu, you can invite your friends or family on holidays without breaking the bank.
Related Post: Does Olive Garden Take Reservations?
Comparing Olive Garden’s Menu Prices to Other Restaurants
As you already know, Olive Garden is a moderately priced restaurant chain but not a fine dining restaurant.
Olive Garden menu prices are approximately less than $20. That’s why it is not considered an expensive restaurant.
Let’s see how Olive Garden menu prices stack up against other restaurant chains:
Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Just like Olive Garden, Carrabba’s Italian Grill is a restaurant chain featuring Italian-American cuisine.
Besides, Carrabba’s Italian Grill is considered the biggest competitor of Olive Garden. Carrabba’s Italian Grill’s menu consists of various Italian cuisines.
But, when comparing the menu prices, Carrabba’s Italian Grill food items cost slightly more than Olive Garden. For instance, most Italian classics at Carrabba’s Italian Grill are over $20, but you can order the same dishes for around $17 at Olive Garden.
Maggiano’s Little Italy
Now, let’s compare Olive Garden menu prices with Maggiano’s Little Italy menu prices because this restaurant chain also represents Italian cuisine in America.
From my observation and experience, Maggiano’s Little Italy maintains menu prices similar to Olive Garden. And, Maggiano’s Little Italy is not expensive.
The Old Spaghetti Factory
Although The Old Spaghetti Factory menu does not contain as many items as Olive Garden, this chain is not a cheap option to get a taste of Italian cuisine.
If you set Olive Garden and The Old Spaghetti Factory menu side by side, you can see the price difference clearly.
It will cost you above $22 to order any Alfredo dishes at The Old Spaghetti Factory, while Olive Garden offers the same dishes for less than $20.
Another Italian-American cuisine specialized restaurant chain, Bertucci’s, is well-known for Italian pizza and pasta.
In general, Bertucci’s has a similar Italian dishes lineup to Olive Garden. Also, if you compare the menu prices with Olive Garden, you won’t notice a large difference there. All of the sides, appetizers, and entrees are selling at reasonable prices.
As Bertucci’s is best known for pizza and pasta, this chain’s menu includes more pizza and pasta options than other Italian chains.
Most small-size pizzas sell for $16.99, large sizes for $ 22.99, and Italian pasta sells for about $20. Therefore, Bertucci’s can be considered a moderately priced restaurant chain.
Romano’s Macaroni Grill
Romano’s Macaroni Grill is also an American restaurant chain that features American-Italian cuisine. Some of you might dine at Romano’s Macaroni Grill because this chain has over forty locations.
Romano’s Macaroni Grill’s menu is not extended like Olive Garden, but you might need to spend less to dine there since most dishes are a little cheaper than Olive Garden.
But you should not expect a huge difference in menu prices between Romano’s Macaroni Grill and Olive Garden.
Applebee’s is a popular restaurant chain with over double the number of locations of Olive Garden. The average cost of one person dining at Applebee’s is over $20.
More: Do You Have To Pay For Breadsticks At Olive Garden?
How Expensive is Olive Garden for 2 Persons?
The expense of eating at Olive Garden varies on appetite. On average, between $42 to $48, two people can dine at Olive Garden easily.
Within these forty bucks, you and your friend can order any famous Olive Garden menu item such as Tour of Italy, Shrimp Alfredo, Chicken & Shrimp Carbonara as the main course with a side.
And, of course, unlimited breadsticks are available for everyone. But, if you want to order any drinks or desserts, you need to increase the budget.
Check Out: Olive Garden Kids Menu
Is Olive Garden More Expensive than Other Restaurant Chains?
It depends, Olive Garden features Italian-American cuisine; hence its food items are more expensive than fast food.
However, as we compared Olive Garden menu prices with other restaurant chains, we found Olive Garden is not expensive.
When you compare Olive Garden with fast food restaurant chains, then you might find Olive Garden expensive.
Olive Garden cannot be considered as fancy dining; this restaurant chain is a casual dining and moderately priced restaurant chain.
Compared with other Italian restaurant chains, Olive Garden menu items are not overpriced, especially if you have good ideas about other Italian restaurant menu prices.
But, you can also not consider Olive Garden as a cheap restaurant chain since the average cost of dining at Olive Garden is around $25. So, Olive Garden is a viable option when you are on a tight budget.
Hello there, I’m Isla Miller from Nashville, Tennessee. I’m also the content head of Restauranttome.com. You most welcome to my blog which is going to help you find the best food items on the restaurant menu. For your questions about food and restaurants, I’m here.