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

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 to check out the other blogger reviews and more chances to win!



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  1. says

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

  2. says

    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.

  3. says

    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.

  4. says

    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!!!

  5. says

    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!

  6. says

    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!

  7. says

    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.

  8. says

    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!

  9. says

    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.

  10. says

    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!

  11. says

    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!

  12. says

    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. :)

  13. says

    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!!!

  14. says

    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.

  15. says

    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

  16. says

    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.

  17. says

    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!! =)

  18. says

    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;)!


  19. says

    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!

  20. says

    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!

  21. says

    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.

  22. says

    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.

  23. says

    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 :)

  24. says

    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.)

  25. says

    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.

  26. says

    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!

  27. says

    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!

  28. says

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


  29. says

    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.

  30. says

    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 :)

  31. says

    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.

  32. says

    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!

  33. says

    I love Olive Garden. I love the soothing atmosphere, I love the decor, and the food is consistently delicious. Sometimes my hubby and I go there mid-afternoon just for coffee and dessert! : )

  34. says

    What makes dining a good time? A great server with a personality and knowledge of the menu, a great menu with options that don't break the bank and an atmosphere that isn't too loud but allows for good conversation. I also cannot go without my water glass or drink going refilled, that is a must!

    I'm not going to lie, I'm drooling just thinking about Olive Garden's endless salad and breadsticks. Not to mention their Tour of Italy… YUM!

  35. says

    I LOVE Italian food, but when I go out to eat, I always have a salad, and sometimes the salad dressing can make or break my dining experience…Olive Garden always had a nice Italian dressing that I liked…have not dined in the Olive Garden for a while since there were none that convenient to us, but they just opened one close to our office, so I am looking forward to going there one day soon!

  36. says

    I need a clean, kid friendly, and warm restaurant to thoroughly enjoy my meal while eating out. Some restaurants are so stinking cold that it really takes the joy out of the evening for me.

    Oh, how I hope I somehow manage to win this gift card! Fewer things are better than unlimited salad at Olive Garden and chicken fettuccine alfredo!

  37. says

    What I look for is a server who is helpful, As a family 8 we really need someone who is willing to take the time to help us with making sure our order is right. We almost never have a problem getting a server who goes above and beyond helping us.

  38. says

    Attention to detail – noticing if your water needs a refill – stopping back to see if there is anything else you need. . . a pleasant and helpful attitude go a long way!

  39. says

    With kids – it has to be kid-friendly (so loud that no one hears my kids – Red Robin is the best). Without kids….I like for it to be dark and quiet! :)

  40. says

    A good dining experience should includes a wide varieties of food to choose from on the menu, comfortable and clean environment, friendly servers and good values on what I paid for.

    Amy [at] utry [dot] it

  41. says

    Good food and a friendly staff wins me over. Lately though, with a 7 month old, family friendly is important. We love our local Olive Garden. I crave their salad dressing!

  42. says

    We don't get to eat out too often, but when we do the most important thing we're looking for (besides great food) is great service by the waitstaff. Since we DON'T eat out often, I love to leave a really good tip for great service!

  43. says

    We look for a place with reasonable prices and generous portions so we can take half home for another meal. I'm disabled so it means a lot to me anytime I don't have to cook.

  44. says

    We look for a place with reasonable prices and generous portions so we can take half home for another meal. I'm disabled so it means a lot to me anytime I don't have to cook.

  45. says

    Mandatory Entry:
    the lighting makes me feel comfortable or now, it gives that comfort feeling as well as the cleanliness of the tables and the chairs, and rugs
    Thanks for the chance!
    Email: anashct1 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  46. says

    For me, we don't get to go eat out often and if we do, it is usually a date and not the whole family. I don't want to sit near noisy kids cause I just left mine at home!! I like to hear the music in the restaurant and for it to be what I like!! I like a booth because it feels more intimate so that we can talk and not be overheard or hear other people talking. Of course, good food and good service are a must!

  47. says

    Delicious food is a given! Beyond that, the service needs to be excellent. My parents were in food service and, as a result, I have pretty high standards when it comes to service. Atmosphere/ambiance contributes to the overall experience. and, of course, a pleasant companion who I enjoy conversing with would make everything better.
    Olive Garden is my husband's favorite restaurant.
    Thanks for the giveaway.
    p.s. I forgot to mention: the establishment needs to be CLEAN!

  48. says

    Number one is a tie between great service and great food! My hubby and I (and our 2 kiddos) don't get to Olive Garden as much as I would love to (closest one is about 30 miles away) but we've always had pretty good service when we have gone.

  49. says

    We look for friendly staff. As soon as we are in the door of a restaurant we can tell if we are going to be treated properly. Good waitstaff is essential for an enjoyable dining experience.

    katbirdfl (at) gmail (dot) com

  50. says

    My husband and I always look for an attentive and genuinely friendly waiter! I hate feeling like an inconvenience or feeling like I'm being judged at a restaurant.

  51. says

    We look for a place that is warm and inviting! A place that has a good balance of romance and is kid friendly if need be. But most importantly we look for a place that has good food that comes out quickly! Nothing is worse than waiting an hour for you food to discover your food was sitting under a heating lamp waiting for 45 minutes to be delivered to you!

  52. says

    I look for kid friendly and wallet friendly restaurants. My daughter is super picky so I usually check out the kids menus online before we go out!

  53. says

    I look for consistency in the food, good service, quiet atmosphere free of loud children (polite ones always welcome lol), and reasonable prices!
    14earth at gmail dot com

  54. says

    I look for prompt, pleasant service and food served at the right temperature. I've been served lukewarm salad and entrees and you can bet I never returned.

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