GAR WOODS GRILL & PIER RESTAURANT, Carnelian Bay – All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

We decided to choose Gar Woods because of the reputation of fine dining on the water and great food. Our party of 6 stopped in with the intention of having several drinks and multiple courses as we hadn't eaten all day and were 'saving our…appetites' for this experience.

When we arrived, we were greeted by 4-5 not super friendly "Garwoods Girls" (or some other pejorative name for the hostesses/waitstaff) and were sat upstairs with a nice view.
We waited over 30 minutes, with at least – no joke – 10 different women walking by us, observing our table without so much as waters, and walking away with the clear attitude of "not my table, not my problem". The female manager who was on the floor was also too busy chatting with her friends/'prominent clients' to notice that we were all literally rubbernecking to make a point of "Hey, anyone want to come check on our table? No? Nobody?"

My fiancée eventually went downstairs to the hostess stand after 35 minutes of zero service to ask for someone to come serve us. Another TEN MINUTES goes by with no service… so we left. As we passed the hostess stand filled with several girls doing literally nothing – we told them we're leaving after waiting almost an hour just to be spoken to. They all looked dumbfounded like my fiancée had not just come down to ask for service 10 minutes before.

But wait – there's more! My sister left her Hydroflask at the table by accident when we decided to walk out…the staff called to let us know that she left the water bottle, and made no mention of us leaving, asking why we left, or doing any sort of follow up that one would expect from a 'high end' restaurant that clearly is missing the service mark.

I returned the next day to pick up the Hydroflask and asked to speak with the manager. I had hoped it would be the same woman from the day before, but it was a nice younger guy. He apologized and seemed shocked by our experience, and after chatting for a few minutes he asked if he could email me to further discuss. No surprise here, I never received an email or any sort of follow up. Clearly lack of service and communication are running rampant from management down.

Waiting 45 minutes with zero service at a place that charges $17 for a Caesar salad without chicken seems almost comical. You seem to clearly be coasting on the young pretty girls you have working for you, the lake views, and the air of wealth that you hope the nice boats give off to your clients. Slapping a high price tag on average food does not a nice restaurant make. Our table would have easily been a $500+ ticket, but nobody even cared enough to bring us water…or talk to us.

There are several other NICE restaurants with great food nearby that I recommend visiting – consider Jake's on the Lake, Soule Domain, or Wolfdale's. For better service, consider the McDonalds in South Lake Tahoe – you'd drive there and receive your food in less time than waiting at Gar Woods.