1.30.2012

Friendly Dining & Good Food


Thanks to BlogHer & Olive Garden, Brent and I recently enjoyed a nice meal at our local Olive Garden.

First of all, we both love Italian food! I would probably eat it everyday if there were no such thing as gaining weight. It's so good. I can remember going to Olive Garden when I was in junior high, and I loved it then.

Brent and I enjoyed unlimited breadsticks & salads with our meals. Our waitress was friendly but not overbearing. She explained the specials to us and returned when she saw our water glasses dwindling on empty and when she noticed just one breadstick left in the basket. Luckily, I showed self restraint and told her no more breadsticks until I ate my actual meal.

Well, I'd be shocked if anyone actually finished their entire meal in one sitting. The nice thing about Olive Garden is you can really make more than one meal from it. Pasta is a quick and easy leftover. It tastes great warmed up! So not only did we enjoy a tasty dinner, but we were also able to savor a second portion for lunch the following day :)

Once Knox & Sloane are ready to get out, and the weather is a bit warmer, I think Olive Garden is probably a place we will feel comfortable taking them. There were kids eating with their families while we were there. Though there were quite a few big families enjoying their dinner, it never got loud or annoying. It was comfortable, and I guess it felt somewhat cozy to see families there. That is something I observe now; I think about places that will be good for us to dine with kiddos on occasion.
I feel like Olive Garden provides good food and also a family-friendly atmosphere. However, Brent and I didn't feel awkward just the two of us. I think you can go either way there, which is nice! Olive Garden also has a kids menu.

Pretty soon they will be offering a 3 Course Italian Dinner for $12.95 ó1st course is soup or salad, 2nd course is one of 5 new entrees, 3rd course is one of 5 Dolcini desserts. Want to see all the delicious options available with Olive Gardenís 3 Course Italian Dinner? Just visit Olivegarden.com/specials.

Want to enter for a chance to win a $100 Olive Garden gift card, courtesy of BlogHer and Olive Garden???

Tell me: What do you look for in order to have a good dining experience??


Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 1/23/12 - 3/18/12.

Also, visit the Olive Garden page on BlogHer.com to check out the other blogger reviews and more chances to win!

GOOD LUCK! :)



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399 comments :

  1. A kid friendly place is most important to us! :)

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  2. A good dining experince, service specifically. The waiter should always be near in case you need something (not to be confused with hovering!)

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  3. I always look for an attentive waiter, othing ruins the night more than having a waiter who it feels like is constantly ignoring us!

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  4. A place with vegetarian options- we're trying to stop eating animals in 2012!

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  5. In a dining experience, I look for someone that's attentive of us: water when we need it, if the food is taking too long, apologize ... etc. etc.

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  6. I look for friendly service but someone who actually let's us eat and not hover over the table and someone who is patient with children because they are always with us when we eat.

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  7. I look for food that is the correct temperature. If its supposed to be hot be hot. I also like a waiter that isn't annoying.

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  8. I love good service and a nice atmosphere!

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  9. Good Food, Good Prices and Good Company!

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  10. A restaurant that is kid friendly is very important to us. A good waiter/waitress is always really important as well. If they (the restaurant or the waiter/waitress) make our son feel welcome and he has a good time, so do we. Olive Garden has always been great about that. Love it!!!

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  11. We prefer good service and a nice atmosphere!

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  12. We have 2 year old twins so a very understanding family atmosphere is the most important dining factor for us!

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  13. We love Olive Garden! :) My husband, Brent, and I are kind of picky, so we look for places with a good variety of food on the menu so we know we can find something! Good customer service is also a must!

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  14. Good service and lots of menu options!!

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  15. i used to look for kid-friendly places and sometimes still do if the people we are dining with have kids. Mostly I like quiet places WITHOUT kids so I can enjoy my meal in peace. As with other things, been there and done that!

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  16. I look for an attentive waiter, but not so much so that I can't enjoy my meal. And good food too, of course!

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  18. I looke for a good waiter/waitress. Someone who enjoyes doing their job :)

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  19. Love Olive Garden! Especially their gnocchi soup!

    I like good food at college-student prices. :)

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  20. I look for good quality food, an attentive waiter, and a relaxed atmosphere. Date nights are few and far between so I really want a good experience when we get the chance to get out.
    :-)

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  21. Oh my word, my husband and I LOVE Olive Garden, but it's so expensive to eat out now that we don't do it very much. At all. And I really want to have attentive wait staff. I can't stand not having good service, especially when you're paying so much!

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  22. Olive Garden is definitely kid friendly! I love the alfredo dipping sauce for the breadsticks!

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  23. I always look for a kid friendly restaurant having 3 small boys.

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  24. I always look for a kid friendly restaurant having 3 small boys.

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  25. Right now all I want in a dining experience is something other than my house since I'm on bed rest! My husband and I love Olive Garden, whether it's the two of us or us and our 2-year-old.

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  26. no weird/stinky smells coming from the manhole next to the patio...this has happened to me at the olive garden. but i won't hold it against them! i'll go back : )

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  27. A generous portion and wise selection. I like to take leftovers home too!

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  28. Service is my absolutely #1 make or break it for a restaurant!

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  29. My huband and I have three boys, so a "family friendly" environment is what we look for...but great service doesn't hurt either ;) Thanks for the opportunity to win!

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  30. For me personally a good dining experience requires familiarity. I love going to a place that I already have memories of…I enjoy getting my classic pick that is guaranteed to make my experience all the better. Oh and a place with unlimited bread is always a bonus!

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  31. Good food, polite staff, and a staff that is respectful of our needs, children, time, and requests are important to us. We are pretty laid back, so you know its bad if we have a bad experience. :)

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  32. Good Food, Good Price, Good Location...in that order!

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  33. I tweeted!
    https://twitter.com/#!/chelsealeming

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  34. I think an attentive waiter or waitress is very important!

    mami2jcn at gmail dot com

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  35. tweet:

    https://twitter.com/#!/mami2jcn/status/164063594114334721

    mami2jcn at gmail dot com

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  36. I look for accessibility within the restaurant, attentive (but not overbearing) wait staff and good menu options. :)

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  37. Good customer service. It drives me batty to have a waitstaff member act like I'm a bother.

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  38. Family friendly and great customer service! We will always support businesses who offer these things!

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  39. I kid friendly environment is at the top of our list and second would be great healthy choices for our kiddos!!!

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  40. Courteous and prompt service. And they have to refill mu drink often!

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  41. I really look for a nice server that actually takes the time to get our order and checks on us throughout our dinner

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  42. We are all about a kid friendly place!

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  43. Kid friendly is tops for us! We have 2 and 5 year old girls and while they are usually well-behaved, I don't like taking them to restaurants that feel "adult only". Nice kids menu with fair prices is always a plus. And "KIDS EAT FREE" is awesome!!!

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  44. Kid-friendly, good service, yummy food, and decent prices! Thanks for the giveaway.

    I know what you mean about those darn breadsticks!!

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  45. We look for a place that is kid-friendly and GOOD! :)

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  46. I love Olive Garden! Service is the most important to us when dining out. My husband will leave at least a 30% tip when we have a really good waiter.. drinks filled, friendly, attentive, etc. It's an experience breaker if you feel like you are "bothering" the waiter/waitress by having to flag them down or get their attention to ask for something.

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  47. Kid friendly and healthy options

    elena150980@yahoo.com

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  48. https://twitter.com/#!/ElenaIstomina/status/164072034635235329

    elena150980@yahoo.com

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  49. I always look for a place that is kid friendly. We don't dine out often, but when we do, it's with the kids. So #1 is making sure I'd feel comfortable taking the kids there! :)

    gomez6281 at gmail dot com

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  50. DEFINITELY good service, and good food! And unlimited free refills on pop! I love me some Diet Coke!

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  51. Now that we have a busy toddler, a kid friendly place with a kind friendly menu is what we look for.

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  52. Friendly wait staff is a must!

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  53. Besides the obvious (kid-friendly and good food), good service is a must. If the waiter/waitress sucks, their tip will reflect it. It goes a long way to keep the drinks filled.

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  54. We have to have a kid friendly environment. We also look for attentive wait staff.

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  55. We love Olive Garden! My husband and I like to go to restaurants with friendly and attentive waiters and lots of meal choices!

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  56. I love Olive Garden! It is one of my favorite places to eat for lunch and dinner!

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  57. I look for interesting food and good atmosphere!

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  58. Kid-friendly place is so important!

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  59. I look for quality and price when I go to restaurants. So many times I find myself at an expensive restaurant, but the quality is "cheap". Olive Garden though is definitely a win for us, we LOVE that place!! =)

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  60. Now that I have 2 little ones I look for a family friendly atmosphere and servers who somewhat caters to my kiddos needs. You can always tell from a waiter if they enjoy what they're doing or if they're just there to be there! I LOVE Olive Garden also... I could live on their salad and breadsticks alone;)!

    stacey.c.hicks{at}gmail{dot}com

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  61. Of course I look for great food but also the atmosphere/experience!

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  62. I want a place that is affordable and that doesn't let my coke get low! i olive garden!

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  63. What is not to love about Olive Garden? Great food and wonderful service :)

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  64. I look for a place with a relaxing environment :)

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  65. Kid friendly, friendly staff, yummy food, not too crowded, a booth to sit in...

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  66. I look for a fund atmosphere where I can have a good meal and spend quality time with by best friend, Travis!

    kelsey dot lowrance @ gmail.com

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  67. It's on the blog!

    http://elizabethbrackin.blogspot.com/2012/01/one-where-we-love-olive-garden.html

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  68. Somewhere that understands my child may make a mess might be loud but in the end I will leave you a great tip for putting up with us!

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  69. Olive Garden...Yay!

    A good dining experience for me is ITALIAN and bread and salads! YUM YUM YUM. Always my first choice :)

    Oh, and out of this world desserts, too!

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  70. Trips to Olive Garden are usually spent with my besties- so I LOVE a place that allows me to catch up with them and not feel rushed out of the place seconds after we finish our meal.

    Early.Erica@gmail.com

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  71. First good service AND food! Have to heve both! and also kid friendly place! I remember my last meal before my first soon was born was at Olive Garden and it was great!

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  72. Tweeted here: https://twitter.com/#!/EmbracingErica/status/164084956908371968

    Thanks so much for the review and for the giveaway!

    Early.erica@gmail.com

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  73. Good company is awesome when dining out!

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  74. i always look for good service

    karinaroselee at gmail dot com

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  75. tweeted https://twitter.com/#!/karinaroselee/status/164084599327174656

    karinaroselee at gmail dot com

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  76. Customer service is a must! If I get food I don't like, I'll try something different next time. But if I get terrible service, there probably won't be a next time.

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  77. i look for friendly staff, fun atmosphere, and unique foods
    thepryfamily@gmail.com

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  78. https://twitter.com/#!/annatiffany2/status/164088291036102656
    thepryfamily@gmail.com

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  79. I always enjoy being able to sit and enjoy the meal without feeling like I'm being rushed. I hate when your appetizers, salad and meal come out back to back.

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  80. A place with good food is what I look for!

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  81. A good experience would entail:
    * a kid-friendly environment
    * great service
    * scrumptious food

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  82. I always look for places that have kid-friendly food and a kid-friendly atmosphere. I have taken my son to a couple of not-so-kid-friendly restaurants and it was miserable! We went to Olive Garden recently and Graesen loved it :)

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  83. I am a sucker for their breadsticks. Love everything at The OG!

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  84. a kid-friendly place....and a nice staff!

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  85. kid friendly, good food and great service
    amramazon280 at yahoo dot com

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  86. I look for a friendly and competent staff as well as a comfortable atmosphere. And great food of course!

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  87. tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/jfong1130/status/164092343899791360

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  88. https://twitter.com/#!/pinoysugarplum/status/164092500687060993

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  89. Fiendly service, yummy/hot food and family friendly as we have a
    2yo and newborn twins:)

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  90. We look for a good value and great atmosphere!!

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  91. I definitely love their breadsticks and their seafood.

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  92. I definitely love their breadsticks and their seafood.

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  93. Excellent food, attentive service, and a pleasant decor.

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  94. I'm also a big fan of Olive Garden. I've gone multiple times and the service and food have always been great!

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  95. We like kid friendly places!! Something that is a bit noisy so if our kids cry they don't disturb everyone right away!!

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  96. Yummy food and prompt service. However I do not like when the waiter hovers or is overbearing.

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  97. We look for good food on a consistent basis! Olive Garden is always good!!

    agalgoczi@hotmail.com

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  98. I look for places that are clean and have excellent service.

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  99. I hate when you ask your waiter for an extra dressing or please leave X off your meal and it's on there anyways. I don't mind waiting for my drink to be refilled, but when I ask specifics, I want it done!! ok i really want some bread sticks now (with a side of dressing.)

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  100. It's gotta be kid friendly to be a consideration except for those rare occasions we actually have a sitter. I have always loved olive garden! :-)

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  101. good food at the right temp, available waiter, good prices

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  102. I look for a family atmosphere with good service.

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  103. Nice Clean atmosphere, good food and good waitsaff!!

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  104. Cleanliness of the restaurant, good food and good service.

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  105. I tweeted about this!!! @sbeckham5

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  106. Love the Olive Garden! My husband and I need a date to reconnect!! Would LOVE to win this!!
    http://thebeckham5.blogspot.com/2012/01/contest.html

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  107. A good Dining experience is good service. Most waiters are very good unless they are under staffed.

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  108. a kid friendly place, and a waiter that always makes sure your drink is filled :-)

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  109. Great giveaway! I look for an attentive waiter, but not a waiter who comes by the table every .5 seconds.

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  110. I love Olive Garden--especially when I get the time to have Soup and Salad with friends. And of course eat a million bread sticks!

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  111. Because we so rarely eat out, I like to go somewhere that has interesting things that I couldn't make at home!

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  112. clean restaurant and friendly staff

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  113. Reasonable prices, a friendly waiter and good food.

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  114. Fast service especially for the kids.

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  115. We just ate there last week for my son's 10th birthday - his choice! Delicious as always, and my kiddoes LOVE the make your own pasta option - very few restaurants give the kids the opportunity to help create their dinner.

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  116. I look for good food first off and service second. Olive Garden ALWAYS has great food and service!

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  117. I love when I have awesome service at a restaurant, especially when we have the twins in tow.

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  118. A place that looks very clean and has delicious food!

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  119. A great wait staff and good food! Dining with my friends always makes it more fun as well!

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  120. Options to "Create Your Own". Choose toppings, sauces, pastas.

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  121. I like a place that is kid friendly, and has quality food. That is definitely Olive Garden :)

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  122. Good food, but more importantly, good company!!

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  123. A good selection of wine. And OG has the BEST moscato!

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  124. Good food, good service and I like to feel like I'm getting a good value for what I paid

    s2s2 at comcast dot net

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  125. https://twitter.com/#!/susan1215/status/164150934430158849

    s2s2 at comcast dot net

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  126. In my opinion, the best part of a great dining experience are the friends & family you share it with. My family has many fond memories of celebrating special milestones at Olive Garden.

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  127. We love Olive Garden too! With 3 young kids, a good dining experience for us is great food selection for the adults and fast service!

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  128. Tweeted as @madsenspace. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  129. LOVE Olive Garden! Our family always looks for establishments with a kid-friendly atmosphere and good service.

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  130. Love,love olive garden..would love to win

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  131. Awesome food and attentive staff!!

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  132. Awesome food and attentive server!!!

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  133. We love that OG is somewhere we can take Tbird! :)

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  134. I love a restuarant that has fast service and great food. Now that I have an 8 month old son; I will focus on being a kid friendly place as well.
    HaleyT84@gmail.com

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  135. I like polite service and yummy food!!!

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  136. I love Olive Garden! A good dining experience is important in the restaurants we go to. It is important to have a server that is attentive to your needs!

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  137. Good service. The food can e wonderful but terrible service will make for a bad experience. Being in the business, we constantly work on a good overall experience.

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  138. Just went to Olive Garden on Sunday with some girlfriends... I had forgotten how yum it really is. Great, now my stomach's growling! :)

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  139. We always look for a place that is kid friendly and clean! : )

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  140. Mmmm! Haven't had OG in too long!

    I look for fast, friendly service and good flavor. If I have to wait very long for my food, it really throws me off!

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  141. Not too crowded. Place for infant seat that is safe and out of the way. yummy food for kids and adults

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  142. We like good food & good service.

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  143. Kid friendly is most important to us at this point in our lives. We love Olive Garden and have never been disappointed when going there.

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  144. Good service is #1, great warm food is #2 and food presentation/environment is #3

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  145. We look for a place that is kid friendly, as well as a place that offers a wide variety of meal options!:) Thanks Megan!:)

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  146. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  147. I look for good service and the restaurant to be quiet enough to have conversation.

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  148. I tweeted!:)

    https://twitter.com/#!/tyandlaynesmom/status/164198773453623297

    P.S. My last comment double posted on it's own! I deleted it, but I didn't want you to think I did it on purpose!:(

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  149. Clean dining room & bath rooms, kind workers, yummy food & not super-duper expensive pricing.

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  150. Oh my goodness, we LOVE Olive garden! I always look for friendly service, relatively fast service & great food with lots of options!

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  151. A good dining experience includes great company, delicious food, and an attentive, non-pushy waiter/waitress in a relaxed atmosphere : )

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  152. I tweeted about the giveaway! @jessicaarmes

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  153. I love to be able to linger over dinner and not feel rushed out of my table....

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  154. The quality of the food is important for us as well as being family friendly, we have a one year old and a two year old.

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  155. a kid friendly place, which most of my olive garden experiences have been good so far. also Vegetarian/ vegan options for our family.

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  156. We love Olive Garden! One of the only places I can actually get my toddler to eat! Lol great giveaway!

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  157. i tweeted about the giveaway!
    um i really hope to win this olive garden GC giveaway from @lifeofmegan we need some family time out!

    @kargabs7

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  158. a place that has consistently good food!

    smell_the_rose@yahoo.com

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  159. I love a kid friendly place and a nice waiter/waitress! And Olive Garden is our favorite! The soup. salad and bread sticks are the best.

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  160. Kid friendly is definitely important, as is efficient and friendly service! Thank you for the chance to win such a great prize!

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  161. I'm a waitress turned RN and I'm always looking for courtesy and promptness!! I love when they refill my glass before I have to ask!!

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  162. Definitely a place that is quick & has a friendly staff!!

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  163. A place nice place that we can take our kids and not looked down on. So family friendly and nice!!!

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  164. Just really good food. Unless its a fancy restaurant I don't really care if it's not high end service, but I don't want to be neglected.

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  165. My husband cannot stand bad service, so we eat at Olive Garden quite often. It seems they hold customer service very high on their priority list and that is very important in a resturaunt! Awesome service AND pasta....that is what makes Olive Garden one of my favorite places. Love me some pasta :)

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  166. I would have to say a good dining experience for me would be my family of 4 (Myself, Husband, 2 year old, and 6 month old) having a good time. Something fun for my 2 year old to do but a nice environment for the husband and I also.

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  167. A place that isn't too noisy or too quiet. I love Chuck E Cheese, but sometimes having a semi quiet dinner with the kiddos is just what we need :)

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  168. Right now, it has to be kid-friendly. A certain 2 year old demands that.:)

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  169. Right now, it has to be kid-friendly. A certain 2 year old demands that.:)

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  170. I look for good service, and also a place where I'm not paranoid about my kids making noise!

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  171. This single mama needs a night out to be well-served, great service is what I look for in a dining experience!

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  172. Good company is always key! When it comes to the restaurant, I like a cozy, quiet spot with a good (and inexpensive) wine list and delicious food. I also prefer spots that give you bread beforehand!

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  173. Good food is the most important thing! Then service, ambiance, etc.

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  174. I tweeted about your fantastic giveaway! :)

    https://twitter.com/#!/sarahtalkington

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  175. Good food, Good Atmosphere and a friendly staff is a must! Olive Garden is 1 of our favorites!

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  176. Kid-friendly!! Olive Garden is great....it is my 4 year old's favorite restaurant :)

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  177. I love places that offer lots of menu options!

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  178. We look for a place with decent prices and a good amount of food. Olive Garden delivers both of those!

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  179. I love Olive Garden! Their salad is wonderful!

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  180. A good server, great food...good company and great conversation!

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