When I first started hearing about “high-end” Mexican food, I would roll my eyes and say “really, high-end Mexican food, how good can that be?” Well at Gabbi’s Mexican Kitchen in old town Orange, I now truly understand what that means.

No Sign Anywhere

To start, there is no sign on the building but they always look busy. It’s like you have to be “in-the-know” to find this place. We went on a Saturday afternoon. The outside seating was full but they had plenty of tables available inside. The restaurant has about 20 tables, with linen napkins, and a small bar that seats 10. It is a very open floor plan, with tall ceilings, brick walls, huge, exposed wood beams. There is also a massive, custom wood case behind the bar that goes from floor to the ceiling, which houses their tequila collection and other spirits.

Blood Orange Caipirinha

Kim started off with a Blood Orange Caipirinha. This amazing drink has Sagatiba Cachaca Brazilian Rum, infused with Blood Orange. It’s a flavored twist on Brazil’s national drink. It was super smooth, citrusy and tasty. I had Gabbi’s House Margarita. It’s a good margarita for a restaurant but not close to what I make at home. However, that is a whole other story. If you like margaritas this is worth a shot.

Taquitos de Pato

For an appetizer, we chose Taquitos de Pato. Duck confit, mole Oaxaca, crema and cabbage. This rocked! The duck confit was tender and its saltiness combined with mole and crema added such depth to the flavor that we could have eaten these all day.

Carnitas Nortenas

Fresh Flour and Corn Tortilas

As much as we loved the taquitos we had to make sure we tried some other items. My main entrée was Carnitas Nortenas. This was braised Berkshire pork, cebollita, pico de gallo, and guacamole. In addition, it came with fresh corn and flour tortillas, which you can watch being made while you wait. Carnitas (and salsa) is how I test a Mexican restaurant, to see if it is worth coming back to. These were amazing and nothing like you would find in your neighborhood taqueria. This was a little bowl of heaven accompanied with beans and rice. At first I was disappointed with the amount of guacamole and pico de gallo they gave me, but the pork didn’t even need those, it just needed the fresh tortillas and that was it! If you like super tender, slow roasted pork, than you will really enjoy this dish.

Crepes de Langosta y Cangrejo

Kim ordered the Crepes de Langosta y Cangrejo. Yep, all I understood was crepes as well. And yes this is a Mexican restaurant. These crepes were filled with lobster claw meat, Dungeness crab in a pipian verde sauce with English peas and crème fraiche. Got that? Basically a super delicious lobster and crab filled crepe with verde sauce. The verde sauce was creamy and slightly tangy, with tons of flavor. The crepe itself was spongy and stuffed full. Yum!

Even the Chips and Salsa were Good!

Gabbi’s has some amazing drinks and spectacular food. We both really liked this restaurant and will definitely go back again. Although next time, we hope we can convince ourselves to try something different. That will be hard because this was one amazing meal.

Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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