Friday, January 6, 2023

Noods Up: Olive Garden Expands with its Second Branch at Glorietta 3

Who doesn't love their Never-Ending garden-fresh salads, hearty homemade soups and fresh-baked, soft garlic breadsticks? You'll love Olive Garden even more as it opens its second branch in Manila at Glorietta 3...

The largest American-Italian restaurant chain in the US with over 900 restaurants and more than 96,000 employees opens its second branch here in Manila, and that's good news to all the fans of Olive Garden. Now you can get your fill of refreshing salads, satisfying soups, the famous Garlic breadsticks and more at the new Glorietta 3 branch.

Located at the third level of Glorietta 3, the distinctive and rustic stone passageway found in all Olive Garden restaurants around the world welcomes diners... 

...reflecting rustic finishes of the Italian countryside...

...with its warm earth tones and natural textures for that fresh, cozy, comfortable yet modern vibe. It's little touches like these that endeared Olive Garden to its loyal customer base not only in the US but the world over.  

Greg Balogh, Darden Regional Operations Director along with a team of trainors from the US will be in town to prepare the local staff for the opening. "We are excited to open our second branch in the Philippines in a span of three months, on the heels of the success of our maiden store at the Mall of Asia. We are very pleased about the enthusiastic welcome that Filipinos accorded Olive Garden and we look forward to expanding the brand in more locations soon," stated Greg Balough (for more on the inaugural first branch of Olive Garden in Mall of Asia, see my post The Olive Garden Experience Comes To Manila ).

At the exclusive preview, guests were welcomed by the staff to the newest branch of Olive Garden in the heart of Makati. In partnership with The Bistro Group, local diners can now enjoy the unique Olive Garden experience. The Bistro Group's President Jean Paul Manuud shared "what we have with Darden Restaurants, Inc., the company behind Olive Garden, is a collaboration that's been very positive from the start. We are happy to be working with them on building the brand and growing the business locally." And plans are now underway for the opening of a third branch in the metro. 

At the opening, the finishing touches were added to a massive serving of Fettuccine Alfredo for the ceremonial toss... top management and partners prepared to twist some noods...

...for an auspicious start to the day's festivities. 

Now with two branches in Manila and one more in the pipeline, Olive Garden is ready to take on a bigger share of the pie in the local food and restaurant scene. For The Bistro Group, the addition of Olive Garden to its impressive portfolio of world-class brands including Italianni's, Denny's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Texas Roadhouse, Randy's Donuts and many more is another feather in its cap.    

At the bar, specialty beverages were prepared... the Purple-White (P 220), a refreshing blend of guyabano and butterfly pea tea...

...and Hibiscus Butterfly Pea Tea (P 195) with its soothing sweetness to prep your palate for a sumptuous Olive Garden feast. 

Start fresh with the specialty House Salad, a medley of garden-fresh and crisp greens, tomatoes, red onions, olives and crunchy croutons draped in a light and tart vinaigrette...

...followed by their signature soups like the Zuppa Toscana with Italian sausages, potatoes and kale in a thick and creamy silky smooth broth...

...or the boldly flavored and traditional Minestrone with tomatoes, red beans, pasta, spinach, carrots and zucchini in a tart tomato-based broth. 

In true Olive Garden style, pair your soup and salad with the specialty Garlic Breadsticks. And yes, you can replenish your basket with a fresh batch to your heart's content.

For me, there are some starters on the menu that just have to be part of your dining experience at Olive Garden like the Shrimp Fritto Misto (P 625). And here's why...

Plump and succulent shrimps lightly breaded and deep-fried along with a medley of vegetables served with sides of Marinara and creamy Ranch, the Shrimp Fritto Misto will have you going for one more bite followed by another. Each bite releases a flavorful burst of briny sweetness from the fresh shrimps pairing well with sauces and finished with a delectable crunch. It really just doesn't get better than that.

For the mains, Olive Garden offers a wide variety of hearty and comforting Italian-American classics from their Chicken Alfredo and Lasagna to Sirloin Steaks

My personal list at Olive Garden includes their popular bestsellers like the Lasagna Fritta (P 450-P 795), a creative non-traditional spin on the traditional lasagna. Breaded and deep-fried, the textural contrasts and rich flavors from the cheese and sauces combine for hearty bites with its crunchy finish. 

The Grilled Chicken Margherita (P 645-P 845) is a light yet hearty meal with tender and juicy chicken breast topped with fresh cherry tomatoes, basil pesto, lemon garlic sauce and creamy Mozzarella and served with Parmesan-crusted zucchini. It's the rich weave of flavors from the sauces and Mozzarella that perfectly complements the delicate notes of the juicy grilled chicken for a satisfying meal.  

The Shrimp Scampi (P 695/P 875) with succulent sautéed shrimps on thin angel hair pasta with fresh bell peppers, tomatoes and asparagus draped with a nutty garlic sauce is another dish high on my list at Olive Garden. The fresh and clean notes of the different ingredients along with the briny sweetness of the shrimps makes this pasta dish a refreshing option for a satisfying meal at Olive Garden.

And if you're really hungry, the Tour of Italy (P 1,245) with Chicken Parmigiana, Lasagna Classico and Fettucine Alfredo in one dish always works. The Parmesan breaded slab of tender and juicy fried chicken breast slathered with Marinara is a savory treat, while the creamy fettucine with the famous Alfredo sauce and the traditional lasagna deliver both solid and comforting notes to your feast. Think of it as the best of Olive Garden in a single plate. 

Hearty Italian-American fare made from the freshest ingredients and that warm family style vibe, it's the unique Olive Garden brand of good vibes you can now experience at Glorietta 3... it opens to the public on January 9. Never-ending Garlic Breadsticks, garden-fresh salads and hearty soups along with sumptuous mains await at Olive Garden, now open at Glorietta 3.

Olive Garden is located at the Third Floor, Glorietta 3, Makati City. You can also visit their FB Page at and IG Feed at for more updates. 

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