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Home > Entertainment > Food > Italian fare with a pirate theme: Say ‘Ahoy’ to Gambi’s

Italian fare with a pirate theme: Say ‘Ahoy’ to Gambi’s

By Nora Tarte
Published: Last Updated on
Blackened salmon at Gambi's in Reno, Nev. Image: Courtesy Gambi's.

The pirate theme runs deep at the new Town Square restaurant in Somersett. Dimly lit with plush red booths and small tables, the newly opened Gambi’s follows the script when it comes to Italian eating, until, of course, you hit the deck. Glass etched with treasure maps, mermen in the bathrooms, shiny silver skeleton heads as napkin holders—it’d be impossible to miss it. 

Gimmicks aside (and we’d just like to be clear that we appreciate this particular brand of gimmicks, which is anything but cheap), Gambi’s offers a new date night spot to those in Reno, especially those who call Somersett home. 

You may need a treasure map of your own to find the goods. If you park in the main lot, the “front” door is blocked off with a sign that says to head in through the lounge, which is actually a really cool place to sit for dinner service or drinks. From there, you’ll step outside and hook to the left to find the main entrance and the hostess stand settled in the communal area of Town Square and backing up to the main lawn often inhabited by other outside diners and corn hole players.

Once you get inside, the deep, rich woods and romantic details transport you to a world far away. The theme overall is a play on the wine and whiskey business the owner also dabbles in. That being said, he knows a thing or two about liquor, and this is a place you’ll want to take your time to enjoy. So, order up a glass of deep, red wine or choose from a lineup of cocktails before diving into the menu. 

As you order drinks, bread is dropped on your table as a first course. But the big surprise is that it isn’t your typical dinner rolls, but rather a small loaf of toasted garlic bread underneath that napkin—a treat for many who love carbs.

Scallops with risotto, asparagus and a blood orange relish at Gambi's in Reno, Nev. Photo: Courtesy Gambi's
Scallops with risotto, asparagus and a blood orange relish at Gambi’s in Reno, Nev. Photo: Courtesy Gambi’s

For anyone at sea, it’s hard to pass up a little of the local cuisine. And for me, it’s always hard to pass up calamari. The calamari is crispy and fresh, not chewy or overly fishy. There is a fair mix of rings and tentacle pieces served alongside a Calabrian chili aioli and, as any good calamari is, a slice of charred lemon. 

The fried artichoke hearts are also delicious if you’re down to eat a little heavy. (Personally, we justify the extra calories because we’re also eating a vegetable.) Crusted with panko and parmesan and served next to a ramekin of marinara sauce, we recommend giving them a dip in the aioli for better flavor. 

This is only the top of the iceberg when it comes to appetizers. A charcuterie board decorated with a chef’s selection of cheeses, a burrata perfected with snap peas, asparagus, and watermelon radish, and sweet and savory coconut shrimp, are all worth their weight in gold.

Moving on to entrees, the portions are sizeable, which means following up a couple of appetizers lends itself well to sharing a meal. The Truffle Gnocchi, for example, is soft and doughy, elevated by slivers of creamy duck sausage and wild mushrooms. For those still interested in diving into the seafood categories, a Lobster Ravioli served with roasted fennel is divine. 

This doesn’t even go the depths—with a full list of fresh catches, hunks of meat and pizzas to explore, the fare lends itself to a place you can visit and revisit often, trying something new on each return trip. You’re not likely to run out of options anytime soon, which is good news for neighbors who have been long awaiting a new eatery in this corner of town.

Details

7665 Town Square WayReno, NV 89523
(775) 622-4491
Sunday–Thursday 4 to 9 p.m.
Friday–Saturday 4 to 10 p.m.
 Happy Hour 4 to 6 p.m. daily

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