Born in Venice, Italy, and raised in Torino, in the Piemonte region, Umberto Gibin was naturally introduced to the pleasures and traditions of the Italian table at a very early age. Gibin began to learn the hospitality trade at several prestigious European restaurants and hotels, such as Villa d’Este in Como, The Palace in St. Moritz, and The Caprice in London. He arrived in the United States in 1979 where he began his U.S. career at the venerable Ernie’s and Ciao in San Francisco. Gibin says of his experience at the restaurants, “At Ernie’s, I learned how to meld my European style of service, and, at Ciao, I explored the more casual California dining.”
After a stint as General Manager at Spectrum Foods’ Chianti Restaurant on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, he returned to San Francisco as one of the founding team members of Il Fornaio. With Il Fornaio Gibin was instrumental in the successful opening of six restaurants. In 1999 he joined Kimpton Hotels, at The Grand Café, and later as a Director of Restaurant Operations, where he oversaw several restaurants including The Fifth Floor, Masa’s and Splendido. In 2004 he re-joined his old friend and mentor Larry Mindel to open Poggio in Sausalito as Managing Partner, where he remained through spring of 2006.
To Perbacco, Gibin brings his Italian hospitality, enhancing the already authentic Italian experience. “I am personally devoted to every guest’s enjoyment. Every single person entering our restaurant is greeted as if they are our friends and family. The overall experience is enriched with personal touches, from a little complimentary “aperitivo” to ‘let me go to get your car for you.’ We want our guests to leave with the thought of ‘How soon can we return to Perbacco?’”
At Perbacco, Umberto is able to really embrace his love of wine. Hours of research and countless tastings have resulted in a classical yet diversified wine list with an emphasis on the wines of the Piemonte region in Northern Italy, such as Barolo, Barbaresco, Dolcetto, and several fruity, aromatic whites. The extensive list is rounded out by a selection of bottles from elsewhere in Italy and an appealing collection of New World options. Gibin explains, “The wine list at Perbacco is designed to enhance the overall experience. I have chosen wines that will complement the dishes that Staffan has created, particularly those from small producers and with a good balance of fruit, acid and tannin. At Perbacco, the wine service is simple yet sophisticated. It will give our guests the opportunity to enjoy wine in many different ways.”
In January of 2010, he opened barbacco eno trattoria. At barbacco, he runs a restaurant with a level of service consistent to that of Perbacco, despite the more casual atmosphere.
Gibin and his wife Leslie live with their daughter Shayna in the hills of Oakland.