Olive Garden is well-known for its tried-and-true culinary staples. When you head to one of its locations, there’s a good chance you’re counting on being served old favorites like the Tour of Italy, the Chicken Alfredo, and the Eggplant Parmigiana — to say nothing of the chain’s iconic breadsticks and salad. But a restaurant doesn’t get to be one of the most popular eateries in the world by resting on its laurels. The chain is constantly trying out new dishes, approaches, menus, and even entire ingredients. When you look at its history, you quickly realize that for every evergreen favorite on the Olive Garden menu, there’s a dish that came and went.
Some of these meals failed to make a splash and were axed accordingly, but others inspired outright devotion from a wide variety of diners. These menu items earned their fans through eye-catching preparation, delightfully unique ingredients, and entirely new approaches to well-worn dishes. They were delicious, innovative, and supremely satisfying … until they disappeared forever. It’s easy to forget these dishes, especially once Olive Garden has replaced them with something new, but they deserve a final bow — and we’re here to give it to them. These are the 12 discontinued Olive Garden dishes you’ve probably forgotten about.
Olive Garden’s dearly missed Spaghetti Pie had one of the most eye-catching names on the entire menu. “Spaghetti” and “pie” rarely show up in the same sentence, let alone in the name of a singular dish. It might sound absurd, but this decadent dish was one of the best things available under Olive Garden’s roof.
For one thing, it came in two forms. The first was the Chicken Alfredo Spaghetti Pie, which combined a jaw-dropping seven cheeses with bacon and grilled chicken, all wrapped up in rich Alfredo sauce. The second was the Meatball Deep Dish Spaghetti Pie, which swapped the grilled chicken and Alfredo sauce for meatballs and a hearty red sauce. Both were baked to crisp, golden perfection. Admittedly, they looked a little funny on the plate — each serving was cut into a triangular wedge, as with any other pie. If it weren’t for the meat and sauce, you could have been forgiven for mistaking them for slices of bright yellow chess pie.
One bite made it clear that any goofiness was worth it. The Spaghetti Pie combined everything good about Olive Garden into one delectable wedge. It was rich with cheese and milky sauces, ranging from piquant Parmesan to smooth mozzarella. The chicken and beef were unfailingly succulent and well-seasoned, and each slice was pure comfort food, as warm and tasty as something out of your mother’s kitchen. We miss it every day.
Seafood on the Olive Garden menu can easily go overlooked. This makes a certain amount of sense — among towering lasagnas, creamy chicken concoctions, and the chain’s infamously unlimited breadsticks, a humble fish filet can seem somewhat out of place. Back in the day, though, Olive Garden sold a fish dish so sublime, it went toe-to-toe with the Tour of Italy. It was the Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia, and its disappearance left a fish-shaped hole in the menu that has never completely been filled.
The tilapia itself was light, fresh, and delicately flaky. The Parmesan crust didn’t overwhelm it — rather, its sharp, tangy flavor highlighted all the subtle sweetness and brininess in the elegant fish. You might think this is where the dish ended, given its simple name, but in fact, that’s only half of what was going on. The tilapia was nestled in a glorious tangle of angel hair pasta and fresh vegetables, and swathed in a garlicky sauce. This took the dish from being a light lunch to a truly satisfying meal, full of different tastes and textures. The garlic sauce was a particularly delicious highlight, with a bright flavor excellently complementing the Parmesan, and it clung glossily to each strand of angel hair No wonder the internet is full of copycat recipes — this one is dearly missed.
Beef is, in many people’s minds, the king of meats, and braising is one of the best ways to cook it; even the toughest cut of beef is a luscious, tender dream after a long braise. Tortellini occupies a similar position in the world of pasta: These dimpled bundles of cheese are many diners’ top choice, based on their sheer richness. It’s quite incredible, really, that more restaurants don’t pair them up. But Olive Garden saw the light, and eaters everywhere gleefully ordered their Braised Beef with Tortellini … until they couldn’t.
This dish was the height of decadence. Cheese, beef, and dough collided in a symphony of flavor. You might assume it was an overwhelming experience, or at least the kind of thing you could only have a few bites of. Somehow, though, it never produced that experience. The balance of pasta-to-beef was exactly right, and portions weren’t too large. Both elements were united by a flavorful sauce that brought garlic, a touch of cream, cracked black pepper, and a variety of other tastes into the mix. What resulted was, simply put, one of the most satisfying dinners you could order at Olive Garden. No wonder one user on X (formerly known as Twitter) opined, “I like Olive Garden, but they discontinued my favorite Braised Beef with Tortellini. I’m trying to forgive them, but it is hard, lol.”
When asked about the restaurant’s best dish, a former Olive Garden employee on Reddit replied, “I used to love the Chicken Giardino, but they discontinued it.” All who remember this delightful dish are already nodding in sad agreement — the Chicken Giardino was indeed a top-tier dish. It was also part of a unique initiative. In January 2018, Olive Garden debuted its Tastes of the Mediterranean menu. This line-up featured a variety of lower-calorie courses, including shrimp scampi, a pasta-esque dinner made of spiralized zucchini and squash, and the much-lamented Chicken Giardino.
You might assume, given the initiative’s aim, that this dish was a step below Olive Garden’s typical fare, especially in terms of richness. On the contrary, though, the Chicken Giardino was downright decadent. Moist grilled chicken served atop a bed of ruffled pappardelle and a vivid variety of veggies. A lemony herb sauce enrobed it all in bright, zesty flavor. Balance was key to this meal’s success — the pasta, veggies, and chicken were all presented in precisely the right proportion to each other. This created a truly multifaceted dish, bursting with vegetal freshness, bright herbs, and hearty protein. The sauce was particularly impressive, being just as rich and glossy as the most sumptuous Alfredo, yet also light and zingy. This suited the chicken, vegetables, and pasta individually, while also bringing them together into an integrated dish.
When you search for Olive Garden’s Sausage and Peppers Rustica, you’ll find a vast ocean of copycat recipes. Some of them mention a long-ago era when the popular eatery stopped selling it, only to later reinstate it. This was met with much celebration, but sadly, it was not to last. Nowadays, you won’t find this dish on Olive Garden’s menu.
This is a tremendous shame — the Sausage and Peppers Rustica was among the strongest dishes in the Olive Garden line-up. It combined tender pasta with piquant Italian sausage, bright bell peppers, milky mozzarella, and a classic marinara sauce. The result was a powerfully flavorful dish that tip-toed into outright spicy territory. Most of that came from the sausage, which was zesty, hearty, peppery, and altogether delicious. While this packed a punch, those with more sensitive palates could also enjoy the dish, thanks to the cheese’s soothing properties. The peppers took things to further heights, being simultaneously juicy, crunchy, tangy, and sweet. The sauce complemented these qualities beautifully, with its vivid tomato flavor highlighting the peppers’ sweetness while also contrasting it against slightly spicy undertones.
Perhaps the most impressive element of this dish, however, was the pasta. Olive Garden’s Sausage and Peppers Rustica would have gotten nowhere without its firm foundation of carby goodness; each noodle soaked up the flavors of every other ingredient, bringing them into glorious harmony. That they remained springy and toothsome is yet more impressive. Sausage and Peppers Rustica, we hardly knew ye.
How much do people miss Olive Garden’s Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo? So much so that one person decided to create a Change.org petition to bring it back. “I need to bring back the Steak Gorgonzola. I feel like I’ve lost a part of me knowing I’ll never able to taste its deliciousness ever again,” the creator pleaded. “When they told me they were no longer serving the Steak Gorgonzola, my heart shattered! Please help! I want my baby back!!”
Sound extreme? Maybe a little, but only to those who never sampled the delightful dish. Every single element of the Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo was the most sumptuous version of itself. The pasta was supple and ever-so-slightly sweet. The steak nestled within it was tender, juicy, and richly flavored. The sauce was a creamy, dairy-rich dream. What truly set it all apart, though, was the gorgonzola. That distinctively tangy cheese brought a delicious edge to the entire dish which even the skeptical were hard-pressed to resist. Without it, this would have still been an undoubtedly tasty meal — you can’t really go wrong with pasta, steak, and a hearty cream sauce — but also a tiny bit boring. With it, however, it became a multifaceted triumph. Gorgonzola’s distinctive sharp and earthy flavor enhanced every other ingredient, in addition to being just plain delicious on its own. No wonder people want it back so badly.
Olive Garden excels at a number of dishes, but its chicken dishes are especially notable. The Stuffed Chicken Marsala was a great example. This menu item began with chicken breast roasted to moist perfection. This is, as any diner knows, one of the most classic dinners in history. But Olive Garden took it further. Each breast was stuffed with a tasty blend of cheeses and sun-dried tomatoes. Cheese and tomatoes are a classic Italian pairing, and this dish was another great example of why; the bright red veggie’s characteristic sweetness, concentrated by the sun-drying process, was thrown into gorgeous contrast with the cheese’s milky flavor. What resulted was so tasty, it nearly exploded on the tongue.
But that wasn’t all. Each breast was crowned with a silky mixture of mushrooms and Marsala sauce. This fruity, earthy, pleasantly dark topping paired brilliantly with the chicken, cheese, and tomatoes. Everything tasted a little bit more like itself, somehow, in this medley of ingredients — the mushrooms were woodsier, the tomatoes tangier, the Marsala sauce sweeter. The finishing touch was a fluffy bed of Parmesan mashed potatoes. Its mildness proved to be the perfect grace note to such a rich and complex dish. A special icon on the 2006 edition of the Olive Garden menu indicated this dish was inspired by the Culinary Institute of Tuscany. This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who was lucky enough to sample it while it was available.
There are a lot of creamy dishes on the Olive Garden menu. At some point over the course of the storied chain’s history, it’s combined just about everything with silky, cheesy, decadent sauces. But the Chicken Fettuccine Florentine was so special, it managed to stand out in this crowded field.
It all started with the pasta. Olive Garden excels at pasta, and its fettuccine dishes are a great example of this. Something about these wide, supple ribbons of dough makes them straight-up magical; they soak up sauces, twine around veggies and meat alike, and never fail to retain their tender, bouncy texture. They played especially well with the juicy chicken of this dish, and each morsel’s ever-so-slight browning was a wonderful contrast to the pasta’s sweetness. Creamy sauce wrapped it all up in smooth, silky deliciousness.
If it stopped here, the Chicken Fettuccine Florentine would have been a great dish. But the actual secret to its success was, believe it or not, the spinach. That rich green veggie brought crunch, freshness, and an undertone of earthiness to the dish, elevating it into the realm of the all-time greats. Garlic played a similarly enlivening role. Some outlets allege that diners can still enjoy this dish if they request the Chicken Alfredo with spinach. We can’t confirm if this is the case, but it’s definitely worth trying.
How much do Olive Garden fans miss the chain’s Ravioli di Portobello? So much so that The Sun found a few diners willing to publicly state their devastation over its departure. “Olive Garden used to have a mushroom ravioli and it slapped,” opined one. “Please bring back mushroom ravioli Olive Garden,” pleaded another. A third fan was perhaps the most ardent of all, writing, “I will never forgive Olive Garden for discontinuing mushroom ravioli.”
Few pasta dishes inspire such passion, but Olive Garden’s Ravioli di Portobello really was that good. The ravioli itself was among the best filled pasta the chain has ever served. The dough was soft, yet never ran to mush — each individual dumpling retained a distinct and pillowy texture. The filling was a tender, milky dream of cheese and mushrooms, which mingled marvelously. In fact, the mushrooms’ rich, smoky flavor played excellently with every other ingredient, to the point that it set the entire meal apart.
If the dish stopped there, it would already have been one of the finest options on the menu, but its sauce took things to a whole new level. It was, like many Olive Garden sauces, a rich, buttery affair — but it also featured sun-dried tomatoes, which brought some delightfully acidic brightness to the dish. This highlighted all kinds of earthy flavors in the ravioli, and threw all the decadent dairy into delectable relief.
Stuffed shells are basically comfort food incarnate, whatever form they might take. Their core elements — generously sized shell-shaped pasta, a richly flavored sauce, whatever herbs might take the chef’s fancy, a whole lot of cheese, and, often, a hearty helping of meat — are among the most widely beloved ingredients in all of Italian cuisine. Their size guarantees satisfaction. They’re served piping hot, ensuring bubbly-cheese deliciousness. The fact that Olive Garden took them off the menu in light of these virtues is, frankly, shocking. But indeed, one can no longer find Olive Garden’s Giant Stuffed Shells at any location.
Olive Garden’s stuffed shells were part of a unique promotion that touted “Giant Italian Classics.” Indeed, they were seriously sizable, even compared to other stuffed shells. Every individual shell was basically a small boat of dough, bearing an enormous helping of cheese. They came in a few different varieties, featuring everything from shrimp to four-cheese blends to classic marinara sauce. No matter the form they took, though, they were gosh-darn delectable. The cheese was smooth and creamy, which the four-cheese blend upped with sharp notes of Parmesan. The sauces were velvety and flavorful, especially the marinara. Fresh herbs brought zesty, peppery, and grassy flavors, brightening up the entire meal. No wonder TikTok users have made videos showing themselves grumpily settling for ravioli, in the absence of this delicious affair — there’s just no substitution for the Giant Stuffed Shells.
Many of Olive Garden’s best dishes boil down to four key ingredients: pasta, meat, veggies, and sauce. Its Garlic-Herb Chicken con Broccoli was once a great example of this approach. It combined moist chicken breast with broccoli, pasta, and a creamy garlic sauce to tremendous effect. But simply listing these ingredients doesn’t truly capture what made this dish special. To understand that, we have to take a closer look at the particulars.
First off, the chicken was heavily seasoned with rosemary. That sharp, piney herb goes brilliantly with most meat, but it plays especially well with chicken. Its verdant flavor was further enhanced by the presence of pungent garlic. Broccoli was no slouch in this dish, either — in fact, it almost threatened to outshine the chicken. Its fluffy tops soaked up the taste of the chicken and sauce, making every single floret into a potent flavor bomb.
The relatively simple canvases of chicken breast, pasta, and cream allowed these more boldly-flavored ingredients to shine especially brightly. This was especially true of the uniquely shaped pasta. Here, diners found the lesser-known orecchiette pasta, which takes the form of tiny, shallow shells. Each petite curve of dough captured an impressive amount of sauce and brought pleasant springiness to each bite. Olive Garden’s Garlic-Herb Chicken con Broccoli might have a lot in common with many other dishes, but it was truly one of a kind.
Well-cooked chicken is a true culinary delight — a fact that Olive Garden’s Tuscan Garlic Chicken proved every time it was served. It kept things relatively simple, especially when compared to similar dishes on the menu. Its chicken breasts weren’t mired in a complex breading, stuffed with cheese, or bundled into ravioli. They were simply pan-seared to golden, juicy perfection, and diners wouldn’t have had it any other way.
This strong base of poultry goodness allowed the Tuscan Garlic Chicken to reach the heights of tastiness. Roasted red peppers, crisp spinach, and lusciously browned garlic crowned the dish’s chicken breasts, bringing warm, caramelized sweetness and a burst of fresh veggie flavor into the mix. It all rested atop a bed of fettuccine featuring uniquely frilled edges — all the better for holding onto sauce. And oh, what a sauce it was. The Tuscan Garlic Chicken’s sauce was a creamy, white wine and garlic affair. The addition of more garlic made sure the dish truly lived up to its name, and also made it multidimensional; the sauce’s sweeter, brighter garlic was not quite the same as the chicken breasts’ toasty garlic. The wine’s acidity and dryness threw this into even sharper, and more delicious, relief. A touch of cream brought it all together and rounded off the garlic and spinach’s rougher edges. It’s no surprise this dish came from Olive Garden’s Culinary Institute of Tuscany — it was just that good.