Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a 4-day stay at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee as a representative of The Daily Meal. Having never stayed at a Ritz Carlton before, I was expecting it to be luxurious, but my visit managed to surpass my already high expectations, not an easy feat to accomplish! I dined in all three of the resort’s signature restaurants, spent a ridiculously long time in the heated infinity pool, and even tried my hand at kayaking on the lake, something I haven’t done since college.
While the activities and amenities of the resort were luxurious and amazing (don’t even get me started on how much I loved the spa), the on-site restaurants really blew me away. Originally I was going to do 1 post about the entire stay, but I thought it would be more valuable to break it up by restaurant, because I ate a lot (like, an embarrassing amount of food) and want to make sure I do each restaurant justice.
For more of my Ritz Carlton adventures, read my review of Georgia’s.
Gaby’s By The Lake
Gaby’s is definitely the most casual of theThe Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee restaurants, and for good reason.The Chef at Gaby’s, Brandon Peterson, does an amazing job of keeping food approachable, while also still ensuring that it’s delicious and not something you’ll find anywhere else. The atmosphere might be super casual, but their food is anything but. It’s located adjacent to the pool and has the tagline, “no shirt, no shoes, our pleasure;” Basically, that means you can get out of the pool and walk straight in to order something for lunch or dinner (which I may have done).
I started with a cocktail, the Strawberry Fields, which was basically a strawberry lemonade with Tito’s vodka ($15) and the perfect cocktail to sip poolside on a warm sunny day. It was sweet and tart and refreshing.
Let’s take a minute to talk about the brussels sprouts (Korean chili aioli, pickled shitakes, crispy onions, shaved radish, $8). Oh. Em. Gee. They were so yummy. I came back and ordered them a second time for dinner, they were that good. The korean chili aioli was just a little spicy, and a very creamy, while the pickled shitakes added a nice tang, making the whole dish an explosion of flavor.
My favorite entree that I tried was the ribs platter. I’m not usually excited about ribs, but these were some of the best I’ve ever had. Apparently, they’re glazed with a Coca-Cola sauce, and they have just a nice hint of smoky and sweet… you gotta try them. And the biscuit and pickled vegetables are awesome side dishes, and offer very different, yet harmonious, flavors.
One of the things they’re most known for is the lobster grilled cheese (Havarti Cheese, Parker House Bread, $21): holy decadence, Batman. This bad boy had lots of butter, lots of havarti cheese, and lots of lobster. It’s like a lobster roll, but taken to a whole different level. I could (but probably shouldn’t) eat this every day.
If you like fried fish tacos (marinated catfish, chipotle slaw, fresh cilantro, lime sour cream, $17), the ones at Gaby’s are very tasty. They’re also nice and light so you can eat them in your bathing suit and not feel gross and bloated afterward.
At one of the meals that I visited, we started with the Southern Hummus (boiled peanuts, black-eyed peas, Lebanese salad, Greek yogurt, warm pita and tortilla chips, $12), which was a fun play on regular hummus. I like that it had a sharper flavor than traditional hummus, and the Lebanese salad paired really well. If you like hummus, you’ll love this!
Sour Cream and Onion Baked Pretzel with local beer cheese ($12) were just ok. The beer cheese was really delicious (can I please dip some fries in this??), but the pretzels were a little on the dry side. They had good flavor, they just didn’t taste as fresh and soft as I would’ve liked.
For my dinner entree, I ordered the grilled swordfish (cumin-spiced carrot puree, Israeli couscous with grilled veggies, cucumber and fresh herb salad, basil oil, $29), which was spectacular. The fish was cooked perfectly and paired really well with the grilled veggies and couscous. I love Israeli couscous because it’s so pearly, and each bite was sheer perfection.
My mom ordered the 12 oz Prime NY strip (garlic and herb smashed potatoes, melted leeks and mushrooms, roasted garlic butter, smokey house steak sauce, $45) and absolutely loved it. It was cooked perfectly to her medium-well request, and was a high quality steak. The real winner of the plate in my opinion, however, was the garlic and herb smashed potatoes. We’re both pretty particular when it comes to mashed potatoes because my mother thinks she makes the best mashed potatoes in the world, so we were both blown away by how good these were.
Whether you’re staying at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds or just visiting Lake Oconee, I recommend giving Gaby’s a visit for lunch or dinner!