We’ve all seen the commercials of the never-ending soup and salad, the giant meatballs that are almost as big as your fist, pastas swimming in mouth-watering marinara sauce and warm, chewy bread sticks that melt when you take a bite.
Olive Garden has finally come to Guam and the nationwide franchise has brought with it the tantalizing dishes we’ve seen on TV.
Marketing director Jason Respicio said whether you’ve seen only the commercials or dined at the brand stateside, you won’t be disappointed when you visit their newest location at the Tumon Sands Plaza.
“One of the things we knew we wanted to mirror was the availability of what you will see on TV,” Respicio said. “If you have seen it on the internet, if you have seen it on TV, we have it here.”
Respicio works for Apple Pacific — the company responsible for bringing Olive Garden to Guam.
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GIANT: An enormous meatball that seems like the size of a softball sits atop a bed of pasta and meat sauce on the aptly named Giant Meatball with Spaghetti($18.49). It's available for a limited time on the Giant Italian Classic menu. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post
MINI-APPETITES: You don't have to be a kid to enjoy the Pepperoni Pizza and fries listed on the kids menu for $6.99. The price includes a drink. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post
KIDS: A kids meal that could satisfy an adult is the Chicken Fingers & Spaghetti ($6.99), which is served with french fries and a drink. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post
SANDWICH: The Chicken Parmigiana Sandwich ($11.99) is topped with the house marinara and served with french fries. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post
A TASTE OF RED: Olive Garden offers red and white wine tasting flights for $13. A three-glass flight with an appetizer is $20. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post
ON THE LIGHT SIDE: The wine tasting flights ($13) feature preselected options that are labelled for convenience, and you can ask your server to the best appetizers for pairing. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post
LIMITED TIME: Available for a limited time, the Giant Stuffed Shells with Shrimp is part of the Giant Italian Classic menu at Olive Garden. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post
CREAMY GOODNESS: Olive Garden's Fettuccine pasta is tossed with a creamy Alfredo sauce to complete the Shrimp Alfredo($20.99). Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post
PARMIGIANA: For a limited time, Olive Garden is offering a massive chicken parmigiana topped with the house marinara and melted mozzarella cheese. The dish is completed with fettuccine Alfredo, and is offered on the aptly named Giant Italian Classic menu. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post
CLASSIC: The Tour of Italy is listed as an Olive Garden Classic Favorite. It's chicken parmigiana, lasagna and fettuccine Alfredo all on one dish for $20.99. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post
YUMMY: Pasta e Fagioli is an Olive Garden soup of white and red beans, ground beef, fresh tomatoes and tubetti pasta. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post
COLORFUL: The Olive Garden Famous House Salad ($7.79) goes nicely with the freshly made bread sticks. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post
THREE-CHEESE: The Chicken Alfredo Pizza Fritta ($9.99) is a new addition to the Olive Garden menu. It's chicken and three cheese in fried pizza dough. It comes with two dipping sauces, marinara and alfredo. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post
CHEESY LASAGNA: A new item listed in the appetizer section is the Lasagna Dip for $10.49. This baked starter is layers of cheese and meat sauce topped with smoked mozzarella. Freshly made pasta chips accompany the dish. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post
STUFFED SHELLS: Available for a limited time, the Giant Stuffed Shells with Shrimp is part of the Giant Italian Classic menu at Olive Garden. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post
PRONTO: The Meatball Pizza Bowl($11.99) is part of the Pronto Lunch menu, items that are prepared from scratch but served quickly for customers on the go. Customers can also choose a soup or salad to accompany the dish. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post
CREAMY ALFREDO SAUCE: Fettuccine pasta is tossed with a creamy Alfredo sauce to complete the Shrimp Alfredo($20.99). Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post
LOADED: The Meat Lovers Pizza ($14.99) comes loaded with meatballs, sausage, pepperoni and the Olive Garden signature meat sauce. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post
NEW FLAVORS: A new addition to the Olive Garden appetizer menu are the Seafood Stuffed Mushrooms($12.99). Shrimp, scallops, crab and whitefish are combined with herb breadcrumbs, parmesan, romano and mozzarella cheese for a hearty stuffing. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post
Giants and kid-friendly dishes
One of the more popular dishes is the Tour of Italy: a medley of lasagna, chicken parmesan and fettucine Alfredo.
But Respicio said you might want to try out one of the Giant Italian Classics.
“It’s giant, it’s huge, it’s ginormous,” Respicio said. “It’s ridiculously massive in a good way.”
Diners can choose between the Giant Meatball, Giant Chicken Parmesan, or the Giant Four Cheese Stuffed Shells — all starting at $14.99.
For the smaller sized in your family, Olive Garden offers an extensive kids menu featuring “insanely cheesy” mac and cheese, spaghetti, pizza and chicken tenders.
Even the pickiest kid is sure to find something they like.
Pro parenting tip: Kids eat free on Mondays and Tuesdays!
Red, red, red wines
And while all your stateside favorites are on the menu, they also have something unique to the Guam location for the adults in the family.
“We have a total of 28 different wines,” said Respicio, who added that while it can be overwhelming to have such a long list of wines, your local Olive Garden has you covered.
Customers can pick three 3-ounce servings of wine and taste your way to finding a favorite.
Setting the scene
And while the menu choices are tailored to suit the giant and the not-so-giant appetites, Guam’s Olive Garden offers a variety of settings.
You can visit the bar for a great start to date night. “We have a fun dark smoky vibe here on the bar side,” Respicio said.
Or walk through the inner dining room to the Italian style courtyard, “so you get that bright open family experience.”
“It’s one of those experiences you can only get here at Olive Garden,” Respicio said.
The restaurant is “one of the most successful franchises in the United States and a pillar in the Italian dining sector so that’s something we want to follow,” Respicio said.
“Once it came, the people responded. The reception was very welcoming.”
Bringing a national experience to Guam was part of the goal, he said. But the restaurant’s management has always kept its new home in mind.
“It’s still Guam,” Respicio said.
And it is still the Olive Garden you remember.