Real gardens make poor dining establishments, with their uncomfortable tree-stump seating and the constant threat of Mr. McGregor stealing your clothes. Enjoy the rustic ambience of a restaurant that is a garden in name only with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of fresh seafood and fine Italian cuisine at Alex's Washington Gardens in Highwood.
Family owned since 1932, Alex's Washington Gardens serves a varied menu of sophisticated cuisine, starring fresh seafood and Italian specialties. Amphibious feasters can start with an appetizer of frog legs ($11) before diving into deep-sea delicacies such as salmon stimpinada, which is bathed in citrus, white wine, and red-wine vinegar and sautéed with celery and onion ($25). Hop aboard the from-scratch gravy train with saucy specialties such as pasta primavera, which tempts veggie lovers with a seasonal spread tossed in alfredo or marinara ($18.50), and ravioli al forno, which dresses spinach- and cheese-filled pasta in a demurely delicious ensemble of butter, garlic, and parmesan ($15.50/$10.25). Other offerings include pork chops served Sicilian style with a family of sweet peppers, garlic, and roasted potatoes ($23) and a variety of popular pizzas ($15+).
The rustic, wood-paneled interior and framed oil paintings will make diners feel as though they've been whisked away to the secluded cabin of an Italian art thief, and the air conditioning and hi-tech TV screens ensure they can do so without missing the game. The full-service bar allows guests to linger longer with a luscious libation, and valet service (complimentary Tuesday–Thursday; small fee on weekends) offers some additional buffer time for drivers recovering from a sip of wine or a third helping of spumoni ($2.75).
Alex's Washington Gardens is Zagat rated, with a 20 and 21 for food and service, respectively. It has a nearly perfect 4.5-star average rating from seven Yelpers, a 4.3-star average rating on Metromix, and a positive review on Centerstage.
- Good solid everyday Italian. Alex's has been around for years and is always reliable. – Jeanne Marie, Zagat
- Walk in and prepare to be treated like family. Hosts (often the owner or his family) are warm and friendly and the servers are some of the sweetest, most considerate, and genuine I've ever encountered. – Amy G., Yelp