Owned by Sara Gabriele and her husband Adam Aro, Gabi James continues the family’s history in the South Bay dining scene. Sara’s father, Guy Gabriele, set the tone for the family restaurants decades ago with Cafe Pierre (Manhattan Beach) and Zazou. By incorporating the timeless traditions of European restaurants, [Guy] Gabriele created restaurants in the South Bay where food and life are inextricably intertwined, and meals bring people together. For Gabi James, [Sara] Gabriele and Aro recapture this sentiment, and carry it into the restaurant design. Partnered with designer Ana Hinton, they have created a convivial and open gathering space, with a coastal vibe.
Executive Chef Chris Feldmeier’s (Osteria Mozza and Moruno) menu is inspired by Spanish and Coastal French cuisine, with notes of North Africa and Andalusia contributing to the flavors. A native of the South Bay, Feldmeier infuses the menu with ‘California soul’ and the rich history of the Gabriele family, borrowing several dishes from the family’s recipe book.
From the menu, which is broken down into categories: pequeña, media, grande, carne and salsas, al lado, and postres, diners can expect ‘new flavors with familiarity’. Traditional dishes like Tortilla Espanola, Gambas al Ajillo, and Albondigas Chimayo, a dish that has carried over from Zazou, are offered along with dishes inspired by Feldmeier’s travels like Anchovy Matrimonio, Brandade Gratin, Tuna Éscabeche, and Fideuà, a pasta paella with clams, mussels, local squid, and black aioli. Those from the Gabriele family book include a housemade Merguez sausage with mechouia.
The cocktail program by Vincenzo Marianella, mirrors the Mediterranean experience with light, effervescent Gin & Tonics, the national drink of Spain, as well as a number of cocktails featuring vermouth, sherry, and amaro. Spanish and French wines feature prominently on the wine list, curated by [Sara] Gabriele, who is a Level 2 Certified Sommelier and French Wine Scholar. Aro’s highly curated beer list features a Spanish lager on tap, as well as hyper local selections from South Bay and Southern California breweries, many made exclusively for Gabi James.
Gabi James is now open seven days a week for dinner: Sunday – Thursday from 5 – 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 – 11 p.m. Located at 1810 South Catalina Avenue in Redondo Beach, reservations can be made by calling (310) 540-4884 or via OpenTable.