When Olive Garden announced plans they’d be expanding globally, most people shrugged their shoulders. In a statement, the company expressed the belief that they could bring their brand of insultingly casual Italian food to countries beyond the U.S.
In an attempt to appeal to local flavors, Olive Garden concocted menus to reflect regional culture, and we had the chance to sample items off these menus. The following are some of our favorite dishes served up at Olive Gardens from around the world!
Spicy Tuna Roll Alfredo (Japan)
Bet you didn’t think there was a way to make a spicy tuna roll even more delicious than it already is. Well, there isn’t. But at the Olive Garden in Tokyo, you get to dunk your spicy tuna roll in a tub of alfredo sauce and if you refuse to do so, you’d be insulting your hosts and that is frowned upon.
Falafel Parmigiana (Israel)
A unique twist on the traditional falafel sandwich includes 3 fried pellets of falafel crammed into a pita with scalding hot marinara sauce and tongue-burning mozzarella cheese. Feel what it’s like to suffer as the Israelites throughout history once had. Fun for the whole family!
Braised Beef Bolognese Spring Rolls (Hong Kong)
Crunch into these culinary abominations for an experience that is simultaneously alarming and puzzling. The deep, rich flavors of a classic bolognese sauce crash head-on with the crisp vegetables and textures of the Far East for a dish even devout Olive Garden diners will scrunch their eyebrows at.
Maple Gorgonzola Tortellini (Canada)
How aboot warming up with these morsels, eh? 100% pure Grade A, dark amber maple syrup is the star of the show, but not to be completely outdone by the bursts of delightfully salty tortellini stuffed with gorgonzola cheese aged in the utility closet for 3 – 4 months in Olive Garden’s Winnipeg location.
Flan Cannolis (Mexico)
An Olive Garden in Mexico City? Sure, why not? And while you’re there, honk your face into a plate of flan cannolis. The flaky and delicate pastry shell of a cannoli houses the gelatinous squish of delicious flan, which technically isn’t Mexican, but hey, this is Olive Garden! When you’re here, you’re FLAN-ily! (Editor’s note: We realize this pun doesn’t work, both logically and with its pronunciation, but what can ya do? We’re usually high when we write these.)
Fish ‘n Chips e Fagioli (UK)
If you’ve ever indulged in the magic of pasta e fagioli, then you know you’ve had a delicious bowl of warm soup with beans, pasta, and a silky tomato broth. At the London location of Olive Garden, prepare for a similar experience, but with a local flare. Breaded haddock and fried potatoes are added to a chunky tomato soup until soggy enough to make you question everything. Perfect for dipping your breadsticks, too!
Chicken Tikka Masala Salad Bread Bowl (India)
Wowee zowee talk about flavor! Your taste buds are sure to commit suicide once they’ve been subjected to the Chicken Tikka Masala Salad Bread Bowl at the New Delhi location of Olive Garden. Ladles of chicken tikka masala are splashed over a mound of lettuce and tomatoes that have been sitting in the Indian heat for hours, and served in a freshly defrosted bread bowl that had been shipped by truck that morning. Yum!
Bratwurst Lasagna (Germany)
Order up a plate of this certified heartburn the next time you’re in Berlin. It’s classic German bratwurst, seared until its casing snaps with every bite, then layered between ricotta cheese, overcooked pasta sheets, and of course, Olive Garden’s signature marinara sauce that leaves an odd burning sensation in the back of your throat for hours. Guten appetit!