The Local List

Hungry girl looking for the next adventure.

For my 100th post I give you the best restaurant in OC – Il Garage

Yes, you read that right.  Il Garage is the best restaurant that I have eaten at in OC.  While I can think of a few places that are as tasty (or tastier), this place brings something that other places don’t have – a garden.  Tucked in the middle of nowhere Stanton (yes that is in OC), Il Garage is hard to find.  In fact, you have to drive along Beach Blvd and then keep driving.  Once you have found Park Ave restaurant, you must walk through it into the backyard.  Then, and only then, will you find this treasure.

The wonderful thing about Il Garage is that you are eating outdoors in a backyard.  Except instead of sandwiches, you are ordering handmade pasta, amazing bread, and the best selection of wines.  A new concept in Orange County, Il Garage allows its chefs to take ingredients from the garden to cook you a fresh, local menu each night.

On this occasion, we decided to double date (so I could secretly try more dishes).  As all other true Italian restaurants, Il Garage has a wine list that impresses even Napa snobs.  They also do wines by the glass, but we had to go with a bottle of course. We started out with the burrata appetizer, along with the house made bread.  I have a fond place in my heart for burrata and this hit the spot. We each all ordered different dishes, so that we could share and taste more on the menu.  Our friend Brandon ordered the seafood pasta.  The seafood was very fresh, and the pasta was well cooked.  I only had a few bites because he pretty much inhaled this dish.

We also ordered the veal, and the spaghetti and meatballs.  I personally don’t eat veal because of the whole idea behind it.  I know it makes ZERO sense, and it tastes so good, but its just not something I can swallow (literally).  This was the only dish that was slightly unimpressive.  Lack luster flavors, and just kind of forgettable.  But that was okay because I don’t eat it, remember.

Spaghetti and meatballs is normally something  I try NEVER to order at a restaurant because it’s one of the few dishes I can make myself.  But I really like meatballs, and I figured this would be a great place to try it.  The meatballs were awesome.  So tasty and good.  The marinara sauce however wasn’t the best I have ever had.  It wasn’t really much better then Trader Joe’s marina sauce for  $1.99, but the meatballs were worth it, and the portions were huge.  I couldn’t finish it.

The best thing that we ordered was the boar bolognese pasta.  A lot of people think boar is a weird item on a menu, but I have been finding it on menus a lot more, and if I find it I get it.  Boar meat is just so juicy and tasty and picks up all the flavors in the foods it is served with.  It is just like carnitas (but arguably better?).  This dish was no different.  It was juicy, the pasta was cooked perfectly, and the sauce was really good.  I highly recommend this dish if its ever back on the menu.

While other places may have as great of dishes, but you can’t really beat the secret outdoor spot where you feel as if you have escaped Orange County for a Tuscan restaurant.  (Sidenote: I haven’t been to Tuscany so I have no idea what it is like.)  The ambiance is to die for, the wine and apps are great, and the entrees can be absolutely divine.  Although its a shlep its definitely worth the drive.  Trust me when I say you need to make this your next spot out!

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