Mart and I can’t tell you how many times we drove by Cafe Gabbiano, saying each time: “We have to try Gabbiano’s sometime soon”. When we finally stopped talking about going and actually went there, we were so disappointed — in ourselves! Why did we wait so long?
Cafe Gabbiano is much larger inside than it looks from the street, so you should be able to get a table quickly, even in the height of season. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect the place to be busy! Cafe Gabbiano is known as a place with great service, as I’m sure you will agree. Not one employee walked by our table without saying hello, refilling our water or offering assistance. Mart described the service as “the very definition of hospitality”. We were truly impressed.
The food lives up to the high quality of the service. Mart started with an appetizer special, an ample plate of Escargot Fra Diablo, served with tomato and onion in a spicy marina butter sauce. Delish!
Both fans of escargot, no matter the preparation, I dug right into Mart’s starter, even though I’d ordered one of my own appetizer; the Calamari Fritti con Pomodoro. The servings were large enough that we could have shared either one of them. I immediately asked that half of the calamari be boxed up so I wouldn’t keep noshing on the appetiser and spoil my appetite for the main course.
What followed were two main courses that impressed both of us. Mart ordered the special again – The Branzino Chilean sea-bass prepared table side. Again, the service and presentation were top notch, and the sea bass just melted in your mouth. He finished his off quickly. I, however, would not be so lucky.
It probably wouldn’t hurt to ask ahead about the serving sizes at Cafe Gabbiano. I ordered the Barcaiola – a combination of mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp and salmon sauteed in garlic, olive oil, white wine, marinara sauce and finished with fresh basil. It was $28.95 and was 100% amazing. This dish was pure seafood — no fillers of pasta or starchy vegetables to fill up the plate. This was pound for pound the best deal on seafood you can get anywhere. I couldn’t finish my meal, and Mart was able to take the leftovers, (which weighed a good pound or two) with a little pasta on the side and we both ate like royalty the next night. And you know how great Italian food is after it’s seasoned for 24 hours. As great as it was at the restaurant, it was even better a day later.
There aren’t too many places where the owner sends over a small glass of dessert wine, just to make sure you leave totally satisfied . . . or in our case, fat and happy. Cafe Gabianno is that place. If you ever want to take the night off from cooking at home, and want exceptional food, Cafe Gabbianno’s is a great choice. The food and the service will make any night feel like a special occasion.