740 Sunland Park Drive
El Paso, TX 79912
(915) 585-1097
Italian cuisine
I Ate:  the appetizer sampler with stuffed mushrooms, toasted ravioli and fried zucchini; veal parmigiana with the house salad
Price:  ~$19.25 + tax/tip

(Five stars at its best; four-and-a-half at its worst)

There are two Olive Garden restaurants in town; the one I dined at is outside the Sunland Park mall, just North of the interstate.  It is a well-known national chain specializing in Italian cuisine.


On entering the restaurant, the first thing that caught my eye was a large whiteboard mentioning their appetizer sampler and the veal parmigiana.  Sounded good!  And after having been seated by a friendly hostess, that is just what I ordered.

Within minutes of my having been seated, an enormous bowl of salad was brought out and placed on my table.  The waiter topped it with grated parmesan.  It held two large portions of fresh lettuce, other veggies, and big croutons.  I tried to go easy, but apparently I was salad-deprived; I ate the whole thing.  I was also served some freshly baked Italian bread, small elongated buns.  The crusts had been painted with butter, something I normally abhor; but it was a sparing amount, about as much as I normally apply to bread.  Having munched on this fresh bread and a nice amount of salad, I was ready to say goodnight even before the appetizers!

Speaking of which, the large plate holding the appetizers arrived.  I sampled a few items before setting it aside for a doggie bag.  The stuffed mushrooms with cheese were wonderful, not cooked to submission but still nice and firm.  The toasted raviolis were very tasty, especially when dipped into the provided tomato sauce.  I'd ordered calamari as well, but unfortunately the waiter informed me they were out.  I chose fried zucchini instead, and when dipped into ranch dressing, they were quite interesting.


Having left over most of the appetizer, I had saved barely enough room for the main course, veal parmigiana with spaghetti on the side.  Wouldn't you know it'd turn out to be the worst item in my meal?  Oh, it wasn't inedible; but it lacked flavor.  The veal was nearly tasteless, and the sauce covering both it and the spaghetti wasn't remarkable either.  Further, after the jumbo salad and the big plate of appetizers, I'd been expecting a big portion, and that isn't what I received.

Normally I'd take a restaurant to task for such a lousy main course.  I've decided not to in this case; looking on the overall meal, I'd have to say I enjoyed it, and I think it was well worth the money.  Also, now that I'm familiar with their menu, the next time I go I'll be ordering the salad and appetizers alone.  By themselves they more than make a meal.  So if you're a salad lover, the Olive Garden is a good place to eat.


Please send comments to

FastCounter by LinkExchange