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Wondering if there is an Olive Garden in London, England, or even the entirety of the UK?
Maybe you’re visiting the UK and want to know if you can find some familiar American food just around the corner from your hotel (I won’t judge).
Or maybe you’re an expat in the UK and are just craving some soup, salad, and breadsticks.
Hey! Sidenote! Planning on visiting the UK or moving to the UK?
For more advice, photos and friendly help, click here to join my UK Travel Facebook group to carry on the conversation with fellow travelers and UK experts.
Despite accusations from American foodies that Olive Garden isn’t Italian food at all (probably true), I’m in love with their breadsticks and will not apologize for loving their ravioli.
And seeing as how you clicked on this article, I’m assuming you won’t either!
That being said…
“Is there an Olive Garden in the UK or London?”
If we’re talking about the American restaurant chain, then no, there isn’t.
But there are alternatives, and you can even go to a restaurant CALLED Olive Garden if you want to pretend.
Before we explore the world of Olive Gardenless-England, let’s talk about some other topics related to traveling to the UK as an American, whether on a short term study abroad program or for a lifetime.
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Firstly, no matter your reason for being here, you need the best book on living in the UK for Americans ever written – the book is called “Girl Gone London: An American’s Guide to Surviving Life in the UK” and you should click here and check it out.
I also may have written it, so I’m biased.
But truly, if you’re coming to the UK as an expat, a study abroad student, or even a visitor, my guide to life in the UK contains both personal anecdotes and maybe too-honest experiences, as well as resources and advice on topics ranging from homesickness in the UK (or how not to rage book a flight to America like I did), driving in the UK, being a student in the UK, and more practical advice about bank accounts, buying houses, and more.
It’s truly a one stop shop for all of the weirdness and wonderfulness (is that a word?) that comes along with life in the UK, and also there is plenty of opportunity to laugh at me as I share all of my expat fails so there’s that.
I’ve put together these references to help you navigate mysteries like “why is everyone tutting at me on the tube?,” “Why do I just want to cry into my pillow after living here 2 months?”
(Ah, that’s called culture shock, welcome to it), and “How much money do I have in my hand?!”
- Culture Shock: The Things We Don’t Talk About
- An American Girl’s Guide to Surviving the London Underground
- Understanding UK Money: Pence, Not Cents!
- Driving in England as an American: An Apology to UK Drivers
Right, onto the talk about Italian food – what we’ve all come here for!
If you’re looking for a restaurant chain that serves predictable Italian food (and that is not condescending – this is often what I’m looking for on a Friday night), there are plenty of UK chains that might go a little ways to fill that hole in your heart.
For instance, you could try Prezzo, Ask Italian, Zizzi’s or Pizza Express.
You won’t find American-style breadsticks, but you will find garlic bread, dough balls, pizza, pasta, and salads.
And what’s more, they’re not just in London – they’re spread all around the UK so you can almost guarantee you’ll find at least one of them in a town near you.
Now, if for some reason you are obsessed with going somewhere called “Olive Garden,” well, you’re in luck because there is actually an option for you.
Why you would be so desperate to go to a similarly named restaurant even when they don’t have unlimited breadsticks is beyond me, but I’m here to give you the information you need.
Anyway, enter: The Olive Garden Restaurant in Southfields, London.
Is it Italian?
Is it the same company?
It isn’t a chain, but their menu looks delicious with things like pizza bread, mozzarella pizza dough bread, pasta, pizza, and gluten free options.
Check out this list I’ve made of other UK stores and restaurants you should or should not expect to find when you make it over to the other side of the Atlantic.
The UK has…
The UK doesn’t have…
The UK has…
The UK doesn’t have…
The UK has…
-Costco, though people say it isn’t as good of a value and not quite the same
-Walmart-owned ASDA, which isn’t exactly the same as a Walmart but pretty close
The UK doesn’t have…
Other things you should keep in mind are that grocery stores are completely different.
I don’t think I’ve found one that is found on both sides of the pond.
Also, Boots is the equivalent to Walgreens or CVS, and many people just do their shopping on Amazon and have it delivered, especially if you live in London.
Read more in my full guide comparing UK and US stores and restaurants.
Coming to London Soon?
Since you’re here I’m assuming you’re intent on visiting this amazing city soon!
Getting the lowdown on the hottest spots in town can be time consuming so I took the liberty of picking out some great ones below.
Hope you enjoy!
Open Top Bus London Tour: Double Decker buses are not only a way of transportation in London, but a definitive pastime of the city dwellers.
This tour lets you see London by night and experience a true right of passage that every Londoner must complete.
A two for one YAY!
Kew Gardens: If you want to explore some of the calmer areas of the city, I highly recommend exploring the botanicals at Kew Gardens.
London’s largest World Heritage site boasts acres of gardens in a royal glass palace because, yes, everything here gets the royal treatment.
Afternoon Tea Cruise on River Thames: Oh so you’ve come to London looking for tea?
Lucky for you theres literally MILLIONS of options to choose from… it can actually get overwhelming.
So I made it easy for you and found one of the best teas in town, complete with the best setting as well!