A Little Slice of Italy at Café Gabbiano on Siesta Key

MustDo.com | Must Do Visitor Guides | Cafe Gabbiano Italian restaurant Siesta Key Village Sarasota, Florida

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

Dining on Siesta Key can be an international experience but if you desire a poco taste of Italy, it’s hard to find anywhere better than Café Gabbiano. Perhaps it’s the relaxed family-friendly atmosphere, the outstanding wine selection handpicked by host and sommelier Marc Grimaud, or the wonderful creations of head chef Paolo di Costanzo and his team that make this such an authentic Italian experience. Probably it’s the combination of all three!

Paulo brings his hometown traditional cuisine and culinary excellence all the way from the Italian island of Ischia to the shores of Siesta Key. Good food seems to have been a part of his life forever; his mother and grandmothers were great cooks and his father still works in the hospitality industry. It was inevitable that Paolo progressed from trainee chef in Italy to hotels in London, Switzerland and Chicago before settling in Sarasota, which he says reminds him of home. He and his talented team of chefs use only the freshest top-quality ingredients to prepare outstanding dishes from authentic family recipes.

MustDo.com | Must Do Visitor Guides | Cafe Gabbiano Italian restaurant Siesta Key, Florida

Photo courtesy Cafe Gabbiano

Café Gabbiano’s Upscale Dining

Café Gabbiano offers amazing Italian cuisine on its extensive dinner menu. Dining choices include indoor or outdoor seating and private function rooms are available for hosting special celebrations. You may want to start your meal in the fully stocked bar where Happy Hour and cocktails are offered daily.

MustDo.com | Cafe Gabbiano Italian restaurant fresh salads, caprese and appetizers Siesta Key, Florida

Photo courtesy Cafe Gabbiano

Design your own perfect antipasti by choosing your favorite Italian cheese (mozzarella, buffalo mozzarella, scamorza or burrata) and your choice of preparation and additional ingredients to make a delicious start to the evening. Work your way through the insalati, primi piatti (think truffle saccettini and ossobuco ravioli) to the perfect dolce dessert.

MustDo.com | Must Do Visitor Guides | Cafe Gabbiano Italian restaurant fresh ravioli Siesta Key, Florida

Photo courtesy Cafe Gabbiano

One of the most popular dishes at Café Gabbiano that keeps diners coming back for more is their 14-ounce bone-in veal chop with porcini mushrooms, truffle oil and brandy cream – simple but truly divine.

MustDo.com | Must Do Visitor Guides | Cafe Gabbiano Italian restaurant bone-in veal entree Siesta Key, FL

Photo courtesy Cafe Gabbiano

Wine Pairing and Wine Tasting at Cafe Gabbiano

The only way to enhance such beautifully prepared food is with the perfect wine pairing. Their specialist sommelier constantly searches for the world’s best wine offerings to add to his 200-wine collection that makes up the CG wine cellar at any given time. If that choice sounds a little bewildering, Marc is always on hand to offer guidance in selecting the perfect wine to complement your meal.

Marc’s love of wine has inspired him to share his enthusiasm and specialist knowledge with others at the wine tastings he hosts each day. The wine samples cost $10, but his knowledge and educational experience are free! Café Gabbiano also offers a complimentary wine tasting the first Friday of each month.

If you really can’t make dinner at Café Gabbiano’s you may want to order the next best thing – a Sunset Basket.  It’s the perfect way to impress as you tuck into delicious food and carefully chosen drink, perhaps watching another Sarasota, Florida sunset on nearby Siesta Key Beach.

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Nita Ettinger is the co-publisher for Siesta Publications and the Editor in Chief for Must Do Visitor Guides. Must Do Visitor Guides provides Southwest Florida visitor information through printed publications and the website MustDo.com. Must Do Visitor Guides are published bi-annually and are available at no cost in Sarasota, Lee, and Collier County chambers of commerce, visitor information centers, select Southwest Florida hotels, and wherever free publications are found.

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