For years, I've heard people rave about The Garlic in New Smyrna Beach. Sure, there are a few detractors, but overwhelmingly it's been positive feedback I've heard about this restaurant. Several times over the years I have pulled up the menu online, only to close it out after looking at the prices. It's just more than I care to spend dining out. Last July, my family from Michigan visited and my brother-in-law mentioned The Garlic to me. I told him they would have to go without us, because it's too expensive. They didn't end up going either. Well, they are back in town visiting again, and again he mentioned trying The Garlic. Only this time he had a paper menu that he had picked up.
I took a look at the paper menu and saw that they have an early bird special. I had never noticed that on their website before. It's still more than I care to spend dining out, but the savings on the meal enticed me, and I told him we were in!
The early bird special is from 4:00-5:30, so we arrived during that time on Tuesday night. I assumed on a Tuesday night it wouldn't be busy, but I was wrong. The place was packed, but we still got seated quickly. The four of us really liked the atmosphere. Anywhere that has trees in a dining area impresses me, because I'm a tree lover. The atmosphere was just very cool, giving us a mixed indoor/outdoor kind of feel, and I liked all the strings of lights.
My sister ordered the chicken parmigiano, my brother-in-law ordered the chicken alfredo, and my husband and both ordered the pasta pomodoro (minus the parmesan). The meal was served with a salad, which was really good. Unlike some restaurants that give you an iceberg lettuce salad with barely anything in it, this one was good and had a variety of veggies. They also brought us their signature roasted garlic that they smash and add a little balsamic vinegar to, and you dip the crusty bread into it. It was really good.
Our pasta pmodoro was great. The sauce was perfect, delicious, and we ate every bit of it. My sister and brother-in-law both said their dishes were great as well. We were so full at the end of that meal! The early bird special includes your drink (with my husband even able to get a draft beer), salad, and the bread. Our total bill, before tip, was $33.99 for my husband and I. My sister's bill was about $10 more, because she had opted for a Caesar salad instead of the one that comes with the meal, and the dishes they chose cost more.
Everyone loved The Garlic. We all thought the atmosphere, food, and service was great. While the early bird special is still on the pricey side, we would definitely go back again on special occasions or for a date night.
Two thumbs up for the The Garlic!
- Jacqueline Bodnar