Stumbled upon this Mexican restaurant close to the roundabout area in old town Orange.
Never really ventured into Orange during dinner hours, it's actually quite happening here at night, with some live music playing in the background and pretty lighting throughout the area.
Please spare the grainy pictures since they were taken during evening hours with my iPhone.
It's not the typical Mexican joint where you can find tacos and burritos served by one of the family members. In fact, it's kind of a romantic place with professional servers and a fully equipped bar in the back.
Not mentioning its trendy wall decor resembling the art work by Dale Chihuly on the ceiling of Bellagio Las Vegas -
There are also some large paintings on the wall -
We were situated in the corner right next to the bar. Small table but at a cozy area in the middle of the restaurant, a good place for people watching -
Very cool bar, makes me want to order a drink no matter what -
Colorful chips and salsa -
Menu (click for enlarged view) -
Valentine's Day special menu -
Drinks menu -
Wine menu -
House margarita $8 -
White peach mojito $11 -
They also have other fun flavors such as guava and pomegranate.
From my memory that they don't serve regular water, otherwise I rarely order bottled water. Here's glass bottled Sole water for $6. I know. -
Ceviche Yucatan -
"Shrimp, mahi mahi, cara cara oranges, jalapeño, Persian cucumber, avocado, and chicharron."
Nice combination of seafood and cara cara oranges. The dressing is not too spicy with slight hint of fruity acidity.
Panuchos de yucatan $12 -
"Puffed tortillas, black beans, achiote pork, avocado, onion escabeche, and habanero salsa."
Refreshing flavors with crunches from the veggies and the tortillas. Fairly large portion for an appetizer. The habanero salsa on the side is deadly but addicting.
Esencia de citricos $24 -
"Farmed striped bass, roasted asparagus, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, smoky chile arbol, and grilled Meyer lemon."
Nicely cooked fish. The natural sweetness from the vegetables shined through even more after grilling.
Puerco poc-chuc $19 -
"Kurobuta pork loin, adobo achiote marinade, grilled onions, habanero salsa, platanos, and frijoles negros."
Always love eating cooked plantain with rice. Its sweetness works well with pork and black beans.
This dish also comes with tortillas.
Dessert, rosas y xocolatl $10 -
"Layered chocolate-raspberry cake, rose water custard, champagne sabayon, and sugar dusted flowers."
The description sounds way better than the actual taste. All the ingredients mentioned above didn't quite shine through, it is basically a chocolate cake with a few fancy touches.
Gabbi's is definitely a nice place to go if you're looking for a romantic meal, or simply searching for a chill place to have a drink or two. Food-wise, it has some hits and misses. It can't compare with authentic Mexican food packed with strong seasonings. Flavors are slightly toned down especially on the spicy ingredients used. However, Chef Gabbi Patrick (thus the restaurant name "Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen") put a few twists and created somewhat different kind of Mexican food.
It all depends on what you are looking for from a meal, Gabbi's can be a charming place to start the night. I would love to come back again, sitting by the colonial style bar with a few munchies on the side.
Cindy's Rating: 6
Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen
141 South Glassell Street
Orange, CA 92866