Gabi James

Gabi James Dishes

What happens when you marry the breeziness of the South Bay to the cuisine of Coastal France, a spike of Spanish influence, and the creative culinary instincts born of a California soul? The Gabriele Family (Love & Salt) deliver on an answer that is a deliciously diverse treat for the taste buds, a boundary blurring bounty of European influence, salted air, saffron, citrus, and a scintillating spectrum of flavor and fare. All being plated. At Gabi James.

There’s a reason the menu is electrically eclectic, the gastronomic pedigree behind this place reads like a who’s who in climbing the culinary ladder to the heavens.  Between Jorge Torres and his two decades dedicated to the Gabriele family, Chef Chris Feldmeier (Mozza, Moruno), an outrageous cocktail program compliments of Vincenzo Marianella (Copa d’Oro, Providence), what we get to experience here is a superlative spread procured and produced by seasoned specialists in a field that is magnificently easy to digest.

Gabi James Terrace Seating

Partners Adam and Sara (her dad was the brilliance behind Manhattan Beach’s legendary Café Pierre) have a presence that is both gracious and goofy. You leave knowing what it’d be like to get invited to a dinner party at their house.

Because Gabi James is just like that.

Let’s start with the gin selection. If you’re a G&T drinker, the selection happening here is unparalleled. I started with the Sun Also Rises (the botanist gin, aperol, grapefruit bitters, fever tree Mediterranean tonic), but sincerely, so much sounded so good. No regrets on my select. The elixir acumen is clearly at the top of its game here.

Potato croquettes

As most Mediterranean menus will read, a smorgasbord of small plates are offered as meal openers. In line with a seafaring culture, many are seafood-based choices, robustly flavoured and singing with texture and complexity. The potato croquettes (we had ours with salt cod) is also offered with chorizo, paired with the sautéed local dates (alongside manchego cheese and marcona almonds) makes for a spectacular sweet meets savory combo. And if the salted cod made your heart sing for Provence the way it did mine, order the brandade gratin. That grilled bread with salt cod and potato purée is a staple on the Riviera and a really delectable way to explore it on the mainland. Or the Toast Provencal (from the medium plates). It’s incredible – this mountain of caramelized onion and garlic. The blistered shishito peppers, roasted mushrooms, or tuna crudo… all authentically prepared, presented, and memorable by both measures.

Moving on down the menu, selections heighten in variety in tandem with your delight in trying them. A great start to a meal will do that (see salt cod, manchego, and potato croquette talk above). Gambas al Ajillo, with the garlicy shrimp, so much lemon, olive oil and that grilled bread. If you don’t regularly order shrimp, this is the place to do it. The turkey meatballs, so savoury in that ancho chile sauce. This is roughly the part of the meal where you realize a return visit is in order. Unless you came with a big group and everyone is down with sharing, which they should be, the menu and the spirit are designed for such. But still. Even then.

Flatbread

Because you still haven’t reached the grande portion of the menu. Saffron Scallops, with the mascarpone potato purée, or the braised chicken. So much was being served that drew my eye – crispy pasta paella, Poisson Provencal, and if you’re into lamb chops, these will likely draw you in. I spotted pomegranates.

And that chocolate bread pudding. À la mode… that chocolate bread pudding…

Gabi James Salad

There is so much happening in this small South Bay sanctuary of good food and good feels. At 6pm on a Saturday the place was packed, and around me I heard talk of brunch, which has very much raised my brow. And it sits on a street bustling with boutiques and cafés and is ripe with reason to round out the experience with a stroll or some seriously stellar shopping. To my friends who enjoy a sensory celebration of flavor, prepare to be charmed. To those on the timid side of taste, here’s your gateway to the greater gastronomic glory.

Go with Gabi. And have fun.

Mussels

Details

Gabi James, 1810 S. Catalina Ave, Redondo Beach, CA 90277, USA.

Tel: +1(310) 540-4884

Website: www.gabijamesla.com

Take the 405 to Redondo Beach where you will find Gabi James on Catalina Avenue just off the PCH in the Riviera Village of South Redondo Beach. There is metered parking up and down the street.

It is open for Brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00am to 4:00pm; closed all day Monday and open from 5:00pm to 9:30pm Tuesday to Thursday and from 5:00pm to 11:00pm on Friday; 4:00pm to 11:00pm on Saturday and 4:00pm to 9:30pm on Sunday.

Type of Restaurant: Upscale Spanish and French Eatery with a California flair

Price Band: Medium

Insider Tip: The gin list! It deserves a review unto itself! And they have a very cool private dining and event space upstairs as well as fun patio seating.

Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10

Author Bio:

Jolie Loeb is a Luxury Lifestyle columnist based in Los Angeles.

Photographs courtesy of Gabi James

37 Comments

  1. This sounds really lovely! I’m salivating a as I read through your descriptions of the food and it makes me want to get in my car and make the drive! Not a big G&T fan but I like the sound of grapefruit bitters. It looks so appetizing and your words are beautiful!

  2. Putting this on my bucket list. The pics look amazing and the owners/ staff are incredibly pedigreed – can’t wait to try!

  3. I’m promising myself a trip there this weekend! Your words are always such a delight to read-always make the places come alive.

  4. My mouth is watering! I want to try everything on that menu & every gin and tonic. Must make a trip to the South Bay ASAP!

  5. Wow. You find the best places. The pictures and the descriptions are amazing. When I’m in that part of the world I will definitely go.

  6. Stop right there… mascarpone potato purée?? I’ll have to get down there to size these up against Ina’s mashed potatoes. Ahora mismo!

  7. Well…the author got it right. I’m a Gabi and I had a blast at Gabi James. It’s an upscale neighborhood joint, where you have people on dates, families with their kids, and friends pre-partying with Gabi James’ ridiculously impressive G&T selections. The owners bounced around the room, having a great time chatting with long-time diners and new alike. The food was unique, but really approachable. We’ll need to go back a few times, because I’ll want to get everything we ate plus try a few new things too. It might seem a bit far for people coming from the city, but if you every have a reason to go anywhere near the South Bay, it’s worth the drive. Can’t wait to go back!

  8. Hooray! Finally something in the South Bay! We love Love + Salt, so we are excited to check this one out!

  9. Thank you for pointing out the little gems all over Los Angeles…. this one is calling my name. Time to rally my South Bay babes and have a girls night.

  10. Thank you for pointing out the little gems all over Los Angeles…. this one is calling my name. Time to rally my South Bay babes and have a girls night.

  11. Any restaurant called Gabi is a huge draw! And the menu makes me want to quit keeping kosher! What’s that thing that the Amish do when they go off and party for a year before cementing their commitment to the fold? When I do that, meet me at Gabi 😊

  12. What a gorgeous review! This sounds amazing. You have tapped into my deep love of shared plates, creative mediterranean, and the gin craze. Looks like I may just have to break my rule about driving south on the 405 on a weekend night!

  13. I love Cafe Pierre so cant wait to try this spot on my next South Bay excursion! Anything with small plates is always a favorite of mine so you can try a little of this and a little of that! Looks delicious!

  14. this place sounds excellent. Definitely gonna check it out when I connect with my South Bay buddy next month. thanks for the rec!

  15. Sounds like a perfect example of delicious Californian cuisine… small plates mixing coastal France with a bit of Spain… Yum!

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