An entrance to an Olive Garden restaurant.
That Time Olive Garden Tried Creating 'Authentic' Italian Meals
By C.A. Pinkham
Olive Garden's resemblance to authentic Italian cuisine has always been questionable. In 2011, the restaurant even made up names for pasta dishes, pretending they were authentic.
While Olive Garden claimed that dishes like "soffatelli" and "pastachetti" failed due to customers not being familiar with them, the dishes are not actually Italian.
No one knew what the dishes were because Olive Garden made them up. A cursory Google search for "what is pastachetti" would've shown that it is not authentic.
This marketing stunt worsened Olive Garden's reputation as an Italian restaurant. Anyone with even a casual familiarity with Italian food could've guessed they made it up.
It was a misstep for the books that, even for an American restaurant chain founded by General Mills, galled diners at home and abroad.