Local Flavor in Gilroy, The Garlic Capitol of the World

By Staff ,

The Pyro Chefs in Gourmet Alley serve up sizzling calamari at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. 

Photo courtesy Gilroy Visitors Bureau

Dive deep into everything garlic in Gilroy.

Originally from central Asia, garlic has been used as food and medicine for thousands of years. But Gilroy, Calif., may hold the record for the amount of garlic consumed during a three-day period: two tons.

It all goes down at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, and its 40th festival will be held July 27-29, 2018. Walk down Gourmet Alley to eat such dishes as garlic calamari, garlic french fries, pesto pasta and, of course, garlic bread. For the truly brave, free samples of garlic ice cream await. Choose between vanilla or chocolate.

Get a taste of Gilroy’s garlic year-round at local restaurants known for their garlic dishes. Try garlic soup and ice cream at the Garlic City Cafe and the Big Roy Burger with roasted garlic at Cafe 152 Burger Co. At Old City Hall, you’ll find great garlic dishes and restrooms that have jail bars from the days when the building housed the city jail. Mama Mia’s infuses garlic in its Italian dishes as does Milias Restaurant, which opened in 1922. It’s been a longtime local favorite, so much so that some who have passed away are rumored to linger. Perhaps, it’s the original horseshoe-shaped bar that brings them back.

“It’s a restaurant where we say you can have ‘spirited’ dining,” says Jane Howard, Gilroy Welcome Center’s executive director. “Apparently there have been sightings of former employees and those who lived there.”

Need a break from garlic? Check out the Gilroy Historic Paseo that features historic murals and connects downtown shops and restaurants on Monterey Street to parking. There's the beautiful Santa Clara Wine Trail, Gilroy Gardens, a family theme park inspired by the natural world, and the family-owned Casa De Fruta that features wine tasting, a fruit stand, carousel and restaurant. For the shopper in you, Gilroy Premium Outlets features 145-plus brands. 

Garlic-bulb mascots "Gil" and "Roy" welcome guests to Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park. 

Photo courtesy Gilroy Visitors Bureau

Is Garlic Good for You?

Rich in antioxidents, garlic may protect you against the common cold, heart disease and cancer, according to University of Maryland Medical Center researchers.

While study results related to heart disease and garlic are mixed, one four-year study concluded that people who took 900 mg of standardized garlic powder each day slowed the hardening of their arteries.

Another study showed that participants who consumed garlic supplements were less likely to get common colds and more able to rapidly fight them than those who took the placebo. Furthermore, in long-term studies, those who ate more raw or cooked garlic were less likely to get cancers of the esophagus, colon and stomach.

Source: University of Maryland Medical Center

For more information:

Stop by the Gilroy Welcome Center, in the Gilroy Premium Outlets Building A close to Forever 21. You can pick up maps, tips and event information 363 days per year.

8155-6 Arroyo Circle, Gilroy, CA
(408) 842-6436

Central Coast Tourism