Head To Head Value Match-up: The Olive Garden vs. Noodles And Company


I’m not a big fan of eating out, simply because eating at a restaurant usually doesn’t represent a good use of my hard earned money.  Most of the time I could make the same dish with a higher quality and for a lower cost at home. The absolute worst offenders are pasta dishes. Pasta is dirt cheap, and it just grinds me how much restaurants charge for pasta dishes. The fact that Olive Garden is one of my wife’s favorite restaurants is an endless source of conflict when we do decide to go out for dinner. Recently, we went to different restaurant that may satisfy both my wife’s love of going out for pasta, and my need to get as much value as possible when dining out.

We went to Noodles and Company for a very satisfying lunch date. I enjoyed my lunch, and my bill, so much that I decided to put it head to head with our last dining experience at The Olive Garden.

Olive Garden:


We each ordered an entree, and a soft drink. Our meals came with unlimited salad and breadsticks, although we each only had one serving of salad and one breadstick.


  • Chicken Alfredo : $15.99
  • Chicken Sorento: $15.99
  • 2 Soft Drinks: $5.78
  • Tip: $7.00

Total: $44.76

Noodles And Company:


We each ordered and entree, soft drink, and a salad. We also shared an order of flat bread.


  • Penne Rosa With Chicken: $4.89
  • Pesto Cavatappi With Chicken: $4.89
  • 2 Small Ceasar Salads: $2.56
  • Flat Bread: $1.99
  • 2 Soft Drinks:$3.98

Total: $18.31

Final Analysis:

We got an almost identical sized meal at each restaurant. To be honest, I liked the Penne Rosa from Noodles better than anything I’ve ever had at Olive Garden. While we had a server at The Olive Garden, it added a 20% tip to our bill.

For less than half the cost, I had a better meal at Noodles.

I mentioned to my wife as we were leaving Noodles and Company that I would take that meal, and that bill over The Olive Garden any day of the week. She nodded her head in agreement. I’m still not a fan of eating out, but Noodles and Company provides a great value that I can handle from time to time.

Have you ever eaten at Noodles and Company? What do you think of their food?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • I do like the food at Olive Garden, but always feel it is a little over-priced. I’ve never been to Noodles although there is one not far from where we live. I’ll have to check it out.

  • I’ve never been to Noodles though for as much as I love pasta, that’s actually pretty unbelievable now that I think about it. This might get me to go. We typically don’t do Olive Garden but maybe once every 2-3 years. There’s just other pasta dishes at better restaurants that we generally prefer if that’s the route we decide to go.

  • @Kathy – I have the same opinion…The Olive Garden is overpriced – and not by just a little bit in my opinion. Check out Noodles…..and come back let me know what you think!

  • @MoneyBeagle – I’m not sure what the attraction between my wife and The Olive Garden Is. She always orders the chicken alfredo….and quite frankly we can make that at home. I think it’s the whole package of the breadsticks, the meal, and the wine. Oh man….the wine…that always adds to the bill. I was lucky in the visit that I documented here. 🙂

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