This meal was provided for RAK in exchange for an honest review of this dining experience. All thoughts and recollections are our own.
If good food, wine, and live music sound like the perfect combination for a romantic date night, then Garage East Winery in Gilbert will be your new favorite spot.
The locally owned winery is a part of Barnone—a collection of small businesses and restaurants within the Agritopia community.
My husband and I visited Garage East on a Saturday night so we could enjoy their live music, which happens every Wednesday during the Farmers Market nights, then again on Friday and Saturday evenings from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
We were greeted right away and asked if we preferred indoor or outdoor seating. We chose to sit outside on the patio so we could listen to The Townfolk Collective, the local band that was playing. It was open seating on the patio but we had no trouble finding a table—although we were told that during the cooler months, Friday and Saturday nights are a lot more busy and there can be up to an hour wait!
The bistro lights strung above and trees wrapped in twinkling white lights created a perfectly romantic atmosphere. During the winter, many of the seating areas have fire pits to enjoy when it’s chilly outside.
The live music was a great addition, providing some entertainment while we waited for our food and drinks, but it wasn’t so loud that we couldn’t hear each other or have a conversation.
My husband did the wine tasting for us both (no wine for me since I’m pregnant!) and was able to try six of their most popular wines in a wine flight (Wine flights are typically only available until 4 p.m. but they made an exception for us so we could sample more for this review!).
Although my husband usually gravitates toward white wines, his favorite one ended up being a red called the 2015 Orchard. He said it had a fruity flavor without being overly sweet or too dry and he ended up ordering a glass of it to go with his food later.
We went there with empty stomachs and were eager to try a few different menu items (plus, pregnancy gives me an excuse to order more food without being judged too much). I ordered the tomato basil hot pressed sandwich, which had mozzarella, fresh basil, cracked pepper, and pesto on locally made bread from Noble Bread Bakery in Phoenix. It was basically an adult version of a grilled cheese only with more sophisticated flavors and ingredients and had that melt-in-your-mouth quality to it. I would definitely recommend it to any Caprese lover!
My husband ordered one of their savory hand pies, which are similar to empanadas. He tried the green chili pork one which came with extra sauce on the side for dipping. He said it wasn’t greasy or heavy and he could have easily eaten two or three of them!
Both our orders came with the choice of potato chips or salad on the side. Since we were already given chips to munch on with the wine flight, we chose the salad. I tried the balsamic and olive oil dressing—a classic—while my husband got the red-wine vinaigrette, which was definitely our favorite!
We were both pleased with the portion of food. They were individual-sized and not overly huge or filling, which was perfect for us because we wanted to keep eating!
Being that we were at a winery, we felt it was only fitting we sample the cheese board and that did not disappoint! It was made up of a variety of small bite items including little pork sausages, goat cheese, Japanese peanuts, fig spread, cheddar cheese curds, and a delicious creamed honey, with crackers on the side. Many of the components were also locally sourced from nearby farms and businesses.
And of course, we couldn’t leave without dessert. We shared the caramel brownie, which came with two scoops of vanilla ice cream and it was dreamy! I’m a sucker for a good fudgy brownie and this was no exception.
The experience hit all the markers for a perfect date night—delicious food paired with elegant wines, live music, a romantic atmosphere, and a great place to spend the evening soaking in some quality time together.
Some tips to know before you go:
As we head into the cooler months, remember that Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights can be busy!
Don’t want to wait? Try visiting on a different night or go for a day-date instead. Tuesdays they offer a 20% discount for all nurses and teachers and Sundays you can get half-off food all day.
They will allow you to bring any outside food you want—pickup to-go from one of the nearby restaurants or even pack your own food from home to bring with you!
If live music isn’t your thing, they also have a selection of board games to borrow while you’re there.
Dogs are allowed on the patio and they’ll even bring your pet a bowl of water.
Garage-East, 3000 E. Ray Road, Building 7, Gilbert • 480-493-7151 • garage-east.com
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