Calling all Italian food lovers! Olive Garden’s secret menu has been brushed off as nonexistent for years, but we did our digging and found super simple (and delicious) menu hacks you have to try. We’re here to tell you that you can, in fact, customize just about anything on the menu.
1. Switch up Your Sampler
Olive Garden’s appetizer menu is full of appealing dishes, and their sampler platter is a great way to make everyone at your table happy. But if the offered platter isn’t to your liking, you can ask your server to customize it! Ask for whatever apps you’d like—even double up on the family favorite. You’ll be digging into your dream sampler platter in no time.
2. Create Creamy Minestrone
Customize your soup by asking for half a serving of potato soup and half a serving of made-from-scratch minestrone in the same cup (or bowl!). It really hits the spot.
3. ‘Tis Always the Season
Olive Garden is known for delicious and iconic seasonal dishes. (Remember the Meatball Pizza Bowl?) There’s no need to mourn the changing of the menu, though. If the kitchen is stocked with the ingredients needed to make a special dish, the chefs will happily do so. For instance, the fan-favorite chicken fettuccine Florentine can be made year round! Just ask for chicken fettuccine with spinach.
4. Swap Your Sauce
If you love a certain combination of flavors, or a specific dish, but aren’t a fan of the sauce, this is the hack for you. Not only can you hold the sauce on any order, but you can also switch it out for your favorite one! Chicken Parmesan with Alfredo sauce, for example, makes for one cheesy meal.
5. Pick Your Protein
Similar to sauces, you’re free to add any protein to your dish! Whether you’d like to double up on chicken, swap beef for shrimp or anything else your tastebuds desire, the kitchen staff at Olive Garden are more than happy to accommodate.
6. Chuck the Chicken
If you’re munching on a meal with your vegetarian (or vegan) pals, you can always nix the meat altogether. But if that has you feeling less than satisfied, you can also ask to double the vegetables. Most of the time they’ll do this free of charge since you’re not getting any meat.
7. Spruce up Your Salads
Like most restaurants, Olive Garden lets you add grilled chicken or shrimp to any salad. But did you know that you can ask for the Chicken Parm chicken on your salad instead? You can also request Shrimp Fritta on your salad to give it some extra crunch!
8. Try the Secret Sauce
Zeppoli is just one of the many dazzling desserts on this menu. While we’re big fans of the accompanying chocolate sauce, they have a secret raspberry sauce that’s available upon request. Other flavors are rumored to be at different locations, but even if that’s just a rumor, raspberry and chocolate are good enough for us.
9. Skip the Cheese
Whether you’re trying to lighten up your meals, or you really just can’t stomach dairy, you can ask your waiter or waitress to bring you your plate sans cheese. It’s such an easy fix!
10. Redo the Ravioli
The ability to perfect this hack depends on which Olive Garden you’re at, but at certain spots you can customize the ravioli. (Yes, really!) Whether you prefer one or two minor changes, or you’d like to customize the filling, the cooks will do everything they can to serve up the perfect plate. Keep in mind, some locations stuff their pasta first thing in the morning, so it’s not always doable.
Hungry for more? Cook your way through our roundup of Olive Garden copycat recipes!