Gäbi Coffee & Bakery - Las Vegas
Nothing makes me happier than when I get an email, text message, or phone call from someone asking me for restaurant or food recommendations. Not that I know it all (though I have been around a block or two), it’s that the chance to pass along a great food experience to people I care about just makes me feel incredibly fulfilled.
If I can’t cook a great meal for you (my number one goal), let me pass you off, reliably, to someone who can.
I get a lot of requests for Vegas, because I’m in Vegas a lot. When I’m traveling for work, I can either head four hours south to Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport, or I can head four hours west to Vegas’s McCarran airport. I’ll fly out of McCarran ANY day over Sky Harbor. And while Phoenix is finally realizing its potential as an up-and-coming metropolitan area of good food, my cravings to cook and eat all things Asian again lead me to Las Vegas, and the amazing restaurants and markets you’ll find there on Spring Mountain Rd. (disclaimer: Phoenix has a few solid Asian markets, but not as diverse or extensive as Vegas).
Whatever brings me to Vegas, work or pleasure, Spring Mountain Road always beckons me. It calls to me. I hear it singing it’s sweet, siren song the moment I crest the hill on I-15 South and see the top of the Stratosphere come into view. Spring Mountain Road is often my first, and always my last stop in Sin City.
I doubt there will be enough days in my lifetime to visit the ever-evolving, and always-expanding list of hot-spots in Vegas’s Chinatown that I procure on a weekly basis, but I won’t let that stop me from trying. And lately, the hidden gems not easily found by the tepid tourist are the joints I seek out.
Gäbi Coffee & Bakery, a Korean coffee shop on Spring Mountain Rd, is one of those gems. A delightful breakfast and lunch spot focused on specialty coffees and premium desserts, it is a feast for the eyes as well as the tummy. Walk through the understated yet impressive antique wooden door and find yourself transported back in time to the early 1900s and the end of the Korean Chosun Empire. Western culture began to trickle into Korea and since coffee from the West resembled Asian herbal medicine, it was embraced as a symbol of modernization.
It’s not easy to find — located in a strip mall (which is very Spring Mountain Rd and a hallmark of some of the most amazing food I’ve ever eaten) with no actual signage (the antique door and house number are the only real giveaways), the crew working at Gäbi seem to like it’s anonymity.
“We’ve had people complain they drove up and down the street dozens of times before they found us,” giggled the girl who took my order of Monk’s Mead Tea (decaf organic chamomile, organic apple, and hibiscus rosehip) and a slice of spinach and bacon quiche. As I took my number and took a turn about the room, trying to decide which corner of eye-candy I wanted to settle into, I couldn’t really blame her.
This exotic space is focused on providing a multicultural experience to the community - emphasis on community. When you live in Vegas, you have a tendency to seek out places you can call your own. Taking in the gorgeous setting, I did my best to blend in like the majority of locals around me.
Gäbi has an extensive list of specialty coffees and teas, with French and Italian-influenced breakfast dishes and pastries. They also offer an amazing dessert menu (available after 12PM) - perfect for high tea.
The food and the surroundings are stunning, and it’s a place that simply fed my soul. It’s worth seeking out, like all good things are.