Is Outback Steakhouse Actually Australian?

Dishes prepared outside their countries of origin usually have differences in how they're made. Italian food, for example, has few similarities to a highly Americanized chain like Olive Garden. Per Food Network, breadsticks in Italy are skinny and hard, unlike the fluffy, garlicky alternative offered ahead of meals at Italian restaurants. You won't find fettuccini alfredo on an Italian menu, and only Americans load their pasta with so much parmesan cheese. And in Italy, the importance of pasta isn't to be taken lightly. According to L'amore Italian Restaurant, pasta is made of high-protein durum wheat and strictly regulated by the government.

Similarly, Taco Bell is considered a Tex-Mex restaurant rather than an authentic Mexican eatery, per Foods Alternative. Ingredients are the key differences between the two; Tex-Mex uses tortilla or flour shells, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, meat, and onions whereas Mexican food includes items such as tamales, chili pepper, corn tortilla shells, and white cheese. 

With Olive Garden and Taco Bell missing the mark, you might also be questioning the authenticity of your other favorite restaurants. And if you're an Outback Steakhouse fan, you might be disappointed.

There's definitely no vegemite on the menu

If you wanted to acquaint yourself with traditional Australian cuisine, Outback Steakhouse would not be the place to do so. Per Culinary Lore, Florida natives Robert Basham, Timothy Gannon, and Chris Sullivan founded Outback Steakhouse, not because they were inspired by a recent trip, but rather a then-recent movie: "Crocodile Dundee II." 

Though it makes for a fun environment, the restaurant is serving up more Australian puns than it is authentic food. Some examples are Chicken on the Barbie and the Bloomin' Onion. Instead, if you take an Australian vacation, you'll probably be introduced to a brown vegetable paste called vegemite, meat pies, beetroot (especially on burgers), and kangaroo meat (per Nomads).

When owning a business, especially one themed after other cultures, it's important to practice sensitivity while advertising. According to, Outback Steakhouse came under fire in 2017 for using the term "Ab-original" to promote a menu item. The restaurant claimed it "never intended to offend," but it was met with accusations of racism.