Gabriella’s Italian Grill and Pizzeria. It is always on their “list” when I have visitors and I try to put it on “the list” for new visitors. The wait is long during high season, but there is outside seating on the sidewalk if you can handle the sun. I prefer waiting for an inside table unless it is one of those lovely balmy island evenings in the Fall and Spring. The wait is worth it in my opinion.
The meal starts off with wonderful hot bread with herbed olive oil for dipping, a small communal plate of antipasto, and a family-style bowl of salad dressed with vinaigrette. They have an amazing beer and wine selection to complement your meal and a good cup of coffee, if that is your thing. The hand-made brick oven pizza, the chicken Marsala, the fried chicken (yes, fried chicken – with truffle gravy and garlic mashers – I’d order the gravy on the side – it’s intense), the spaghetti with meatballs, the bowtie carbonara….I should stop – everything I’ve ever eaten there has been outstanding. The one thing I have to have every time – fried calamari. It is the best I’ve ever eaten….and I’ve eaten a LOT of calamari. It's just good food and a lot of it!
My younger son is a picky eater but he never fails to find something he likes there. The basic menu items are good as are the more gourmet offerings. My son tried his first Tiramisu there. His response was “WHY haven’t I had this before???” I just smiled “uh, because you won’t try anything new?”
My only “dislike” has been that the wait staff is sometimes spread too thin. Service has always been courteous but not always timely. I’m always hungry when I go there, so it has bothered me the last couple of times. Not the case during low season, but definitely a problem during high season. I’d be less likely to take my grandkids there. I doubt they could bear the wait.
When I first moved here they were located in Port Isabel and closed a couple of months after Hurricane Dolly. I was thrilled to discover their new location just north of the bridge on the island (700 Padre Blvd.), in a nice, but small, strip mall setting. Please note – when busy, parking may be a challenge. Be prepared. Really, though, for ME, it’s been worth the wait and parking crunch every time!
SPI FLIP FLOP FOODIE RATING:
5 – OMG – that was an outstanding meal! I can’t wait to go back