Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Florida >
Mar 20, 2008 09:57 AM

Any feedback on Gabbiano's, Miami, Florida

Has anyone been to Gabbiano's? Can you share your thoughts? Thanks

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You might look at this recent discussion. It seems to have nothing but rave reviews!

    1. That handle name is awesome.

      I went to Gabbiano a few weeks back and it was great! Before even ordering they bring out a huge chunk of parm-regg, foccaccia, bruschetta,garlicky fried zuchinni, etc. The pastas were cooked perfectly. I had an oxtail ragu, my girlfriend had a mushroom stuffed ravioli with champagne truffle sauce. Both were excellent. We did not get any apps, with the various items they put out before the meal. The tiramisu was phenomenal as well. Truly a great meal, and as good if not better than every Italian place I have been to down here.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mikek

        Il Gabbiano is quite a nice addition to Miami. Great location/ambiance overlooking the ocean. Lots of dressed up servers to take care of you (though some are still learning). Nice menu and I too enjoyed the mushroom ravioli special. Also tried the gnocchi pomodoro which was a little disappointing for me since it was so soft that it was mushy instead of melty. I liked their prosciutto (nice taste and texture) and tiramisu. Nice touch with the lemon "apertif" (but at the end of the meal).

        1. re: mikek

          The tiramisu is inferior to osteria del teatro, macalusos and sardinia (a special when they have it).

        2. I'm going for first time tonight if anyone wants to suggest stand-out dishes. I'm looking at the online menu and the prices seem absurd. Risottos are $36.75?? Does the risotto al barolo come with a whole bottle? $26.75 for Fettucine Alfredo?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Frodnesor

            The food is great in general, the burrata sucks though. Don't get it.

            Standouts are the snapper.

            And, if you can get them to make chicken parm (they made it for the kids when I was there), do it. It is the best chicken parm in the universe and was far better than all the other dishes I had. Specifically it was much better than the veal parm which is on the menu.

            The langostines are great as well, but they are expensive.

            1. re: Frodnesor

              If they have the porcini ravioli in a champagne truffle cream sauce as a "special", I think you cannot go wrong with it. Its the best pasta dish I can remember eating. I put special in "" because its not on the menu but they had it both times I was there and many others seem to have tried it as well. It's a large portion and is very rich. Definitely enough to share. It is very pricey though (I'm thinking $36.00!)

            2. Paid our first visit to Il Gabbiano this weekend. We were meeting another couple there but headed out early to take maximum advantage of baby-sitter night. The restaurant has a great location backing out onto the corner where Miami River meets Biscayne Bay, with big windows looking out on the bay and some outdoor seating and an outdoor bar (which would probably be nice on not quite so muggy a night).

              We settled into the (indoor) bar around 7:30ish, the restaurant was about ¾ full with diners, many of whom looked like they’d been settled in for a while. At the bar we clearly got the sense they were eager to turn tables, as about 15-20 minutes later, about half-way into our first drink, we were given a bill and told that our table was ready – which was a little surprising since the rest of our party wasn’t there yet and we had an 8:30 reservation. We stood our ground, ordered another drink, and one of the servers kindly brought over a tray of some fried zucchini (garlicky fried goodness, plus it’s a vegetable!) When the rest of our party timely arrived, we were promptly seated.

              Doesn’t seem like too much effort was put into decorating the space itself. Not that it looks like a hovel or anything, but the furnishings are pretty plain, and the tables are fairly small and piled up on top of each other, making for a slightly cramped and very noisy dining experience. Along one side of the restaurant space is a strip of what look like folding tables covered with white tablecloths on which several cooking stations are set up (i.e. portable burners). There were a few cooks tossing pasta and the like here, which just seemed sort of odd and had the appearance of a pasta station at a bar mitzvah.

              As soon as you sit down, different servers descend from all sides with various goodies – a little hunk of parmigiano reggiano cut from a big wheel, more fried zucchini (this time in coins instead of strips), bruschetta w/ nice diced tomatoes, several different breads. The waiter recited several “specials” (many of which may be “the usual specials”, like the porcini ravioli which it seems is always on the specials list from other reports). I went with an app of artichokes alla romana, and an osso buco with risotto (from the specials list). Mrs. F had a Caesar salad and an octopus app for a main, while our fellow diners had salads, a salt-crusted bronzino and a turbot (both from the specials as well). Yes, I regretted not trying any of the pastas, but I was getting risotto w/ the osso buco, so compromises had to be made.

              The artichokes were nice, about a half dozen tender baby artichokes, which get braised/poached in olive oil & water (and likely some white wine) and served w/ their reduced cooking liquid (and here a sprinkle of bread crumb). Nice but not a knockout – I like when this dish gets a hit of some mint to lift the flavors some. Didn’t get to taste the Caesar but Mrs. F said she’s had any number that were as good or better.

              The osso buco was a nice meaty shank, tender but not disintegrating, nice red-wine braising sauce. Why does nobody do gremolata anymore? This traditional accompaniment to an osso buco (just a dice of garlic, parsley and lemon and/or orange peel) has the wonderful effect of perking up the flavors and cutting some of the richness of the dish. Could have used some here. The risotto was something of a disappointment. Not a risotto milanese w/ saffron (again, the traditional accompaniment to osso buco) but just a plain risotto tasting of not much other than broth and cheese, and the texture was not right either, too stiff and not creamy enough.

              Mrs. F raved about her octopus dish, said it was incredibly tender, dressed in a mustardy lemony dressing studded with some capers. The fish were both brought out whole (sans head and tail) and then filleted “table-side” (which I think means over at the bar mitzvah table, as they brought them out, then disappeared momentarily, then returned w/ nicely filleted fish). I didn’t try (first time out with these folks, not sure if they’d appreciate me stabbing my fork in their plate), our companions enjoyed them both very much. A side of sautéed spinach was, to my taste at least, completely overwhelmed by garlic.

              Too much food to leave room for dessert, though when one of us asked for a cookie to accompany coffee, we were brought a tray of about a dozen small biscotti (and, we later learned, were charged $12 for them too). A complimentary home-made limoncello was brought around to close out the meal – and a nice one, too, I thought, not so overwhelmingly flavored as some which taste like you’re drinking disinfectant.

              The wine list is predominantly Italian and predominantly expensive, though there were some decently priced bottles in there. A 2004 Pio Cesare Barbera d’Alba for around $55 was perfectly serviceable (though it paled in comparison to the 1999 Manzoni Barbera I had earlier in the weekend at Fratelli Lyon for about the same price).

              Overall impression? I liked our meal just fine, but when all is said and done, I just don’t see that this place is so much better than any number of MUCH cheaper Italian restaurants in town. With most apps around $20, pastas all priced at $+25, risottos at $+35, and entrees in the $30-50 range, I’m just not convinced that the food is so good that it’s worth literally TWICE as much as many other restaurants. I find the food at Sardinia, for instance, to be much more interesting (and pretty much equivalent in quality), and I didn’t find that it was so much better than places such as Café Ragazzi, Bugatti, or even, say, Anacapri or Rosinella, to be worth such a big markup. Having said that, the food was very good, and given the scarcity of decent waterfront dining in Miami, it definitely has its place.

              9 Replies
              1. re: Frodnesor

                You should have tried the snapper and the chicken parm.

                1. re: Frodnesor

                  Frod, thanks for the extreme detail. It was a great break from the Monday morning work rush :)

                  Ive been wanting to try this place but havent really made an effort to. I think your report justifies why - it just seems too expensive for Italian food that has been reported as "good".

                  1. re: Blind Mind

                    Hate to see you count it out - the place is great - worth going for the Pollo al Martini alone.

                    1. re: nikklos

                      Haha, sorry to disappoint nikklos. You know I will probably end up there after one of those happy hour ragers anyways

                  2. re: Frodnesor

                    I agree Frod -- it's prohibitively expensive to really enjoy unless someone else is paying.

                    1. re: ankimo

                      There are much worse values for the money than Il Gabbiano in miami. I think the very best dishes there may be better than the best of any other italian in miami but they have a wide menu and a good portion of those things are good or very good but not worth it category.

                      Like I said, you will not find a better chicken parm anywhere, and the snapper was excellent.

                      1. re: tpigeon

                        TP, how does it compare to their original place in NYC, Il Mulino?

                        1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                          Overall, Il mulino is the better restaurant. However, nothing I had at Il mulino in NY matches the chicken parm here. I guarantee a great meal if you go to Il Gabbiano and have the Langostines (toss up with NYC), Chicken Parm or the Snapper.

                          I found the tiramisu at Il Gabbiano nothing special btw.

                        2. re: tpigeon

                          yes TP you are very right; miami is inundated with restaurants with worse values for the money