Olive Garden offers Taste of Italy for $4

Becky Oberg's picture
Olive Garden offers Taste of Italy for $4

Olive Garden is offering seven different appetizers, called "Tastes of Italy", for $4 each weekday until 6 p.m.

The first small plate appetizer is Grilled Chicken Spiedini. The menu describes this as "two chicken breast skewers topped with your choice of a Tuscan-inspired sweet red wine sauce or creamy alfredo." I personally would go with the red wine sauce--you can always find alfredo in the store.

The second $4 appetizer is Crispy Risotto Bites. These are from Sicily, and, according to Olive Garden, are fried, bite-size blends of Italian cheeses and rice. They are served with marinara sauce. Think Fried Cheese with an Italian twist.

The third appetizer is Parmesan Roasted Asparagus. According to the menu, you can choose between oven-roasted asparagus with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, or a crisp, lightly battered and fried option. Either way, your appetizer is served with a citrus aioli dipping sauce and topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I personally could go either way with this--I like asparagus, although I've never had it fried. I must admit the citrus aioli dipping sauce sounds absolutely decadent--and like a perfect accompaniment to the asparagus.

The fourth appetizer is Pizza Fritta Napoli. This is lightly fried pizza dough topped with alfredo and served with your choice of dipping sauce: five-cheese marinara, meat sauce or sun-dried tomato. No, it's not what you see at the state fair--this is lightly fried, not deep fried. And it's topped with alfredo and served with your choice of dipping sauce, not sprinkled with a little cheap Parmesan. And at least one of the sauces has cheese, unlike the state fair option which comes with flat-out cheap tomato sauce of the day.

The fifth $4 appetizer is Tuscan White Bean Hummus. This is a cannellini bean hummus served with toasted ciabatta bread. I like hummus, but it doesn't tempt me since I usually make my own. Still, if you're a health nut, this is the option for you.

The sixth small plate appetizer is Tortelloni al Forno. This is cheese-filled tortelloni served in a Parmesan cream sauce and topped with prosciutto ham crumbles. It sounds intriguing, even though I'm not a fan of ham. But it also sounds really rich--cheese-filled pasta served with a cheese and cream sauce? Seriously? How much cheese do we need?

The last one is Chicken Meatballs. "A twist on an Italian favorite, two chicken meatballs seasoned with herbs and a hint of red pepper, sprinkled with Italian cheeses and served in a zesty marinara," reads the menu. I don't know how big these are, but they're not impressive in the menu's picture. I know you can't always judge by the picture, but I'm not going to pay $2 a meatball for a small meatball.

Is the deal worth it? The portions are small, but that's not a bad thing. They all sound intriguing, but if I had to choose, I'd go with the Crispy Risotto Bites, the Pizza Fritta Napoli and the Grilled Chicken Spiedini, in that order. It's worth noting I haven't had any of these, so take it with a grain of salt. I'm just going by what sounds good to me. Could you make a meal out of these? Probably not. But the purpose of an appetizer is to whet your appetite, not serve as an entire meal.

This offer is not valid in Canada, Alaska or New York City.