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I love heading to the Strip and enjoying a great meal at a fancy casino restaurant but I have to admit I enjoy going to a smaller mom and pop type local restaurant even more.

One of these is Gabriella’s Italian Grill & Pizzeria located at 8878 S. Eastern Avenue just off the I-215 exit. The minute you walk into the restaurant you’re going to be taken in by the smells and sounds.

You will hear Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and other classic old school singers playing in the background, but what you will notice the most is the great smells coming from the open kitchen. I have to admit the smells made me think I was back home in my mom’s kitchen on a Sunday afternoon.

I have made several trips to Gabriella’s since they opened a few months back. On my first trip my wife and I enjoyed a traditional old school Italian meal. She ordered Fettuccini Alfredo with chicken and absolutely loved their Alfredo sauce.

And, like Mom always did, your plate was piled high and you were taking some home for lunch tomorrow. For my entrée I went with Momma’s Spaghetti smothered in Marina sauce and sausage. They make their sausage fresh in house and it was amazing. As someone who use to make fresh sausage in my dad’s butcher shop I’m very fussy about my Italian sausage, and it passed my taste test. We both started with a salad and ordered the house dressing, which was very good – light and not overpowering. I liked it so much I would buy it to take home. They also serve you complimentary garlic bread, which was excellent and a very nice touch to be offered for free.

We wanted to do dessert but were just too stuffed to order any. I guess I ate too much of that great garlic bread. I have also gone there with the guys to enjoy some pizza and wings. We started with an order of wings.

Their wings are breaded then fried and tossed in the sauce of your choice. We went with the Venetian Sauce, which was sweet and spicy. If you like your wings breaded then you will love these wings.

We also ordered a pizza as they make all their dough fresh in house and then bake it their brick ovens. When you have a few people and you’re ordering a pizza, one of the problems is deciding what toppings would make everyone happy.

At Gabriella’s I would suggest the Rat Pack Pizza. This is a great idea and I think more places should do pizzas this way. The Rat Pack is an 8 cut pizza that has 4 different, 2-slice combinations of toppings, including ham, sausage, pepperoni and chicken. This is a great pie to share.

On my next visit I want to try a Calzone. Their dough and sauce were excellent. The staff is very friendly, attentive and great with offering suggestions as to what to order. I give Gabriella’s a rating of 3.50 forks.

Marco D’Angelo is a Race Horse Owner & Breeder, Professional Sports Handicapper & Bettor. You can find Marco at and by following him on twitter: @MarcoInVegas @MarcoInVegas. You can contact him at [email protected].

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