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Any Thoughts on the Garden of Eden?

I've been by the Garden of Eden in the South End a hundred times and have yet to stop in. Is the food decent there? Any particularly good items?

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  1. I've lived in the south end for a while and I think I've been there maybe once. There are just too many other places that have better food. That being said, it's good for sitting on the patio and people watching, maybe grabbing a sandwich or a salad. Food is not remarkable, but it's ok.
    I haven't been for breakfast, but I guess that's supposed to be alright. No ringing endorsement from me....

    1 Reply
    1. re: twentyoystahs

      I'll second the lukewarm assessment. Have been a couple times and thought the food was unremarkable and overpriced. But if people watching is a must and you're both not too picky and not too fussy about value, I guess it'll do for that.

    2. I've eaten there probably half a dozen times when attending shows at the BCA and I enjoyed every meal. There is a goat cheese-onion tart that is terrific. I also love their desserts.

      1. I used to think this place was terrific, but maybe five years ago the food took a sharp turn downhill: my theory is they decided to cut their ingredient costs. I still rely on Lionette's Market for a few gourmet/deli items from time to time, and still grab a sandwich at Garden of Eden once in a great while (usually mid-afternoon, when it's quiet), but it's a big disappointment to me. It has great patio that accounts for a lot of its business. I get the impression that their waitstaff turnover is rather high. A shame, as I used to think its sandwiches in particular were wonderful.

        1. I enjoy the sweets there, also the breakfasts are good. The sandwiches, for me atleast, have too much going on in them. Particularry the one with the rosemary foccia with brie and prosciutto.

          1. the death knell for me was when they dramatically cut down their list of back page of sandwiches. then it became just another unremarkable cafe.

            1 Reply
            1. re: coookie

              I am unqualified to speak to the food quality, but the chef/owner has his heart and mind in the right place.

              1. I've actually never been disappointed with this place. I've only ever sat outside on beautiful days and nights, so that could have something to do with it, but the food has been at the very least fine, and usually quite good.

                1. Food: Average to very good French-inspired cafe fare. They really excel with their breakfast/brunch items, and I've never gotten a bad sandwich. Dinners are more unremarkable.

                  Service: Average to absolutely dreadful. I can't say that I've had a good service experience there, and I have eaten there a number of times (I keep wanting to give it one more chance and their turnover is very high so I figure that they can't all be bad). I don't want to go into too much detail, but it's been almost every example of how not to wait tables.

                  Price: Reasonable for the South End. One reason to put up with the service. But don't forget that reasonable for the South End is unreasonable elsewhere.

                  They've changed quite a bit over the years. When they were in the space that is now Lionette's Market I would be there at least once a week. After moving to the new space, maybe once a month. Then they expanded the restaurant and the service plunged to the current depths, and I'm down to maybe once a year.

                  1. i've dead-listed this place on and off for the past 6 years. as a south end resident, i really want this place to be great. the price point is very reasonable and the french country concept is charming. however, almost every time i go there the service just ruins it for me. as another poster said, it's an example of how not to wait tables. food-wise, i've had mixed experiences. some sandwiches are fantastic, and some are just average to not-so-good. i think you just have to order the right thing when it comes to the sandwiches. for bruch i've had great eggs benedict on a few occassions, and i've had my eggs benedict come out hard boiled on several other occassions (IMO a cardinal sin). recently i had dinner there and i had a beet salad with goat cheese which was very good, and beef bourgogne which i thought was delicious and comforting. just when i thought i could take GEO off my dead-list, i heard someone yell "time to go home now!!" from the back wait station area. apparently my group had overextended our welcome being there 5 minutes past closing time (they close at 9:30 for dinner).

                    lionette is a totally different story though. great selection and friendly service. my DH went there looking for herbs de provence. they ran out of it at the store, so the person working at the counter ran next door to the restaurant and put together a small container of it for us from the kitchen.

                    1. I'm not crazy about the place, but I had an excellent Coq au Vin there. I'll echo everyone's comments about meh sandwiches and other items, but ifi you find yourself there for dinner definitely go for the Coq au Vin

                      1. I really like it for breakfast, especially early-morning weekday breakfasts when I just want a simple plate of food, or a simple fuss-free brunch. I always sit inside and order the same thing: bacon and cheddar omelette with a bagel. It hits the spot when I feel like an omelette and don't want to walk all the way to Mike's or have a fancier brunch. I've never had a sandwich or a dessert item, so I can't speak to those. I like having it in the neighborhood for basic fare.

                        1. Memorable things about garden of Eden:

                          Mac n' cheese was rich and filling.

                          Service was terrible. Not attentive, forgot to bring the app and salad we ordered.

                          Decent beer list.

                          1. I have some friends who love Garden of Eden, I have mixed feelings about the place. Several years ago, I had some great sandwiches there. But, more recently I think they've gone downhill. Plus, as others have alluded to, the service can be dismal.