Cibo - yyc
Just had dinner at the newest creation from the folks that brought us Bonterra, and very pleased with the first impression.
The place is on 17th, just next to Farm, and is slightly inconspicuous from the outside. That said, once you get inside, it's a great space. Fun and happening bar/lounge space downstairs where there are some high tables both large and small, as well as space to sit at the bar or in front of their pizza bar (in front of the pizza oven where they make the pizzas), and then the dining area upstairs.
The menu appears to be based on simple and fresh. They have about 15 different 'small' plate appetizers that you can get at $4 for 1, $11 for 3, or $18 for 5, which all come with small fried pieces of bread to either dip, or place on. We ordered 3 of them and were very happy with the flavors in all 3, particularly the roasted eggplant and goat cheese dip.
After that, they have about half-a-dozen salads, half-a-dozen meat dishes, about 8 different pastas, and about a dozen different pizzas to choose from.
Having pre-checked the dessert menu (and being satisfied with the appetizers), my wife ordered a pasta dish, and I went with a pizza. The pasta she ordered was a Farfelle with sundried tomato, artichokes, chicken, pine nuts and basil, while the pizza I ordered was a bit of a "guy-special", wild-boar bacon, italian sausage and salami. We felt both were spot-on, well flavored, and fresh. The crust on the pizza in particular was really good. Right combination of crispy, soft and chewy.
Finally for dessert my wife had the nutella (with chopped hazelnuts) calzone, while I had a dessert (of which I forgot the name) that was basically 3 fresh fried donut balls accompanied by lemon curd and raspberry sauce. My wife (like many women I think) is a nutella-junky, so she loved hers, although I think I had chose the real winner, as mine was a fantastic finish to the meal. We also had a couple of coffees, which we were pleased to learn is sourced from P&S.
For the two of us, all in for the whole meal, including a couple of glasses of wine it came to $85 before tip, great value for for what we thought was good, fresh food in a nice space.
Would love to hear other thoughts as more folks get to this place in the future.
Two weird things about my experience here:
The menu. "Scodellina" and "piatti" and "antipasti" and "pizzas". I could go on. If they want to play with Italian words I'd expect them to be consistent with singular and plural forms. In two years of living in Italy I don't think I ever saw the word scodellina (or scodelline) on a menu (or anywhere else), so it's kind of brutal to juxtapose that with "pizzas".
The service. The female server asked if we'd like anything to drink, and we said yes. We ordered our wine. She brought our wine and made a hasty retreat. We drank our wine slowly. We finished our wine. She did not come back. We had to flag her down and ask, "Ummm... can we order food?" She seemed a bit confused by this (despite it being the middle of the dinner hour and our still having the food menus in front of us!). I clearly said, "We'd like to start with..." and picked some scodelline, and then before we had a chance to order our mains she started walking away again! I guess it's kind of flattering that she thinks I look like I don't actually eat, but seriously?
The pesto pizza WAS quite good, but overall it felt like they had barely started figuring out how to operate a restaurant.
I was just there last night. We had a very attentive server, but she told us it was only her 2nd night on the job. The place was packed to the rafters at 6pm, so it's obviously very popular, so perhaps they haven't gotten all their servers properly trained.
I do like the the overall concept of the restaurant (despite the lame terminology!), and the prices are very reasonable by Calgary standards. Last night was my 3rd time at Cibo, and honestly, the food was better the first 2 times. I found the pizza (fior di latte) to be a little lacking.
Looks like the pizza quality is a bit of a dice role at this point. Most of my friends who have a less than stellar opinion of Cibo have complained for the same reason. It seems like they're still in the process of figuring out how to run a restaurant that is so big and so busy. It certainly can't be easy. For their sake I hope they can develop a bit more consistency. I do really like the idea of a reasonably priced italian place with a fun atmosphere and decent food.
I went back to Cibo with a group of friends last week. I just thought I'd make a quick comment because a few of my friends have had some very mixed reviews with regards to their experience here.
Since I was with about 6 people we decided to keep things very simple.....plenty of drinks, a large selection of those little tapas style appetizers (which were great), a few house salads to share and a variety of pizzas. The service was fantastic but I found the pizzas to be lacking, and significantly different than the last time I was there.
Now I fully realize that with this style of pizza it's all about the quality of the dough/crust and that toppings are simply intended to be a compliment to a great pizzaiolo's work. The problem is the toppings were SO minimal that half of each slice was pretty much dry, un-topped and slightly over-charred crust (and I love extra crispy overly charred things in general). There couldn't have been more than 2 ounces of cheese on these pies and barely enough tomato sauce to be discernible. These pies were nowhere near as good as the mushroom/fontina/tallegio pie that I was raving about 2 months ago.
I realized that they have a great new promotion where you can get a $5 pizza during happy hour and that's exactly what these pizzas appeared to be.......except it wasn't happy hour and we paid full price. I certainly hope they look into this as I don't really enjoy going for dinner and paying $16 for a very skimpy $5 happy hour pizza.....especially when I know they're fully capable of making a great pie in a beautiful wood fired oven! Who knows, perhaps I just had bad luck and ran into an amateur pizzaiolo.
Just tried Cibo tonight when we couldn't get into Farm. Looking forward to going again to try the pizza - they looked excellent and some great reviews with this post. We sat on the patio/ deck. Started with 3 appetizers to share - ricotta cheese, radicchio with speck(?) and the lamb meatballs. We shared a lovely wild salmon salad and the penne. All ingredients were fresh. While the salad was a main dish salad it was a bit small although plenty of salmon, more greens would have been nice. The salad was well dressed with a mild but well seasoned buttermilk dressing. With a glass of wine each the bill came to $55 before tip - great value. All in all this is a wonderful place to go. We saw couples, groups and families at Cibo this evening. Another positive review for this addition to the restaurant scene on 17th Ave. SW.
I dined here with two friends on Saturday night. We had a reservation, which was a good thing because the place was packed. It is quite large inside plus there's a few seats on the patio too. The interior is very nice and the clientiele looked very trendy.
There were too many good looking choices on the appetizer menu! One of my friends had already been to Cibo and knew they were quite small (2-3 bites for most) so we ordered 8 dishes. Let's see if I can remember they all: marinated olives, black cod, roasted eggplant, marinated mushrooms, asparagus with hazelnuts, 2 orders of arancini, lamb meatballs. They were all very good. I probably wouldn't order the mushrooms again and the black cod was like a dip, which I did not expect, but the rest were delightful.
To share between us, we ordered a pizza with speck, pineapple and arugula (an Italian take on Hawaiian pizza), the tagetelle and the gnocchi. The pizza was very good.... great sauce. I'm not a big on pasta but I do like gnocchi.... just not a fan of Cibo's. It was not as fluffy as I expected. I did like the presentation though... lots of spinach and cherry tomatoes.
I didn't eat much of the pasta so I ordered a halibut dish with fennel and orange salad. This was "meal sized", meaning the suggested serving size was 2 people, but I doubt two people could have shared this. It was a good size for one person and it was delicious. To go with the fish, I ordered a mixed green salad for myself. At $9, it was not worth it. I like a big salad and there was not enough greens for my liking.
We were decently full so we decided not to order large desserts. I ordered a cappuccino and biscotti (apricot-ginger-white chocolate). I liked how it came with three smaller pieces of biscotti instead of one large one. For just $3, it was worth it.
My friend ordered the Nutella calzone. It came with a cherry dipping sauce though I thought it was just fine on its own. The order for this dessert was misplaced so it was late arriving to the table. the waitress apologized and didn't charge us for it.
My friend, who had dined at Cibo before, ordered an Americano after dinner. The waitress said she "didn't know if they served them." We were confused since they served lattes on the menu... but they couldn't make Americanos? In the end, my friend was served a mug of coffee, not an Americano with that delicious dark brown crema on top.
Anyway, just some minor gripes about Cibo. The meal was decent though having been to Borgo a few months ago, I would say I definitely like Borgo more. That meal was amazing from start to finish. Cibo has the advantage in that they DO take reservations and our bill was quite cheap. For apps, mains, coffees and 4 drinks, our dinner total was around $150, not including taxes or tip (not including the comped desserts).
We revisited Cibo on Friday evening with some friends from out of town
Rather than each get a dish, we decided to order family-style, and order a bunch of dishes to share (which is apparently the idea behind their menu). Among the 4 of us, we ordered the 3 bowl appy, 2 pizzas, the gnocchi, and each couple shared a dessert.
Once again, the appy's were a nice start to the meal, lots of flavour, and just right for the 4 of us to each get a taste of everything. The pizzas were spot on, we went with polar opposites, getting their pizza with a bunch of meats on it, and their vegetarian variety, covered with zuchini, garlic, goat cheese and olives. What really was the star of the meal this time though was the order of gnocchi. First boiled, then pan fried and served with fresh basil and artichokes, was loaded with flavour and really nice texture. This will be a dish that I go back to next time I go.
Finally, one final point of noteworthiness... when the meal was all done and we received the bill, we were incredibly happy. For the full meal that I mentioned above, along with 6 drinks (3 glasses of beer per guy guy) and 1 of the gals finishing with a coffee, the total bill came to $112. To be able to restaurant that serves good fresh food, has a good atmosphere, get a few drinks and walk out very satisfied for $56 per couple (plus tip) is extremely good value in my opinion!!
Had dinner at Cibo earlier this evening. Overall, great experience and good value.
We started with a mixed green salad and 5 of the little tapas style appetizers.
Tuscan chicken liver spread
Grilled asparagus with grana podano and hazelnuts
Roasted eggplant with goat cheese spread
These tiny plates are served with crostini and at $18 for a selection of 5, I thought they were all pretty tasty in their own right. No complaints whatsoever. A great accompaniment to our first round of cocktails.
Before the main course I ordered a very reasonably priced bottle of red from the Piedmont region.....at this price point, I rarely enjoy a bottle this much in a restaurant.
My mom and sister ordered their own mains which I can't comment on and the other 3 of us shared a selection of dishes:
Mushroom and fontina pizza (I think): delicious thin crust with a perfect amount of chew and crispness. A really flavourful white pie with a hint of garlic and I think nutmeg.
Orecchiette with sauasage, broccoli rabe and grana podano: sounds fairly straight forward but everyone at the table loved this dish....everything came together very nicely
Grilled sausage with apple, caramelized onions and beluga lentils: Good thing we shared as this sausage is super rich but quite delicious. It paired nicely with the tart apples and perfectly cooked lentils. I didn't detect any sort of mostarda in the dish but it would be a welcome addition in my humble opinion.
Everyone was pretty full at this point so we ordered a round of coffees which were actually great and some of the ricotta fritella. These little fritters were served with both lemon curd and raspberry something or other. The ladies at the table all enjoyed them.
The entire meal for 5 including cocktails, appy's, entrees, wine, coffee and 2 deserts came out to $200 even. Great value in my opinion. I literally had no complaints aside from the fact that it was really loud almost everywhere in the restaurant. It's a big open space and there's a lot of action when it's busy.
Gave this a try on Saturday evening, was able to walk in at 7 pm but the place was full and with such a large space it must bode well for business.
We shared 3 of the starters; asparagus, arancini and burrata all were quite good but I thought the asparagus was particularly excellent.
We also shared the next courses, mushroom pizza as above. I liked it but found it a but on the heavy side with a cream based sauce and the various cheeses. Crust was superb and I'd really like to try another of their pizza's. We also shared a orechiette pasta that came mixed with italian sausage, chili's and onion. I loved this dish which was quite spicy and perfectly cooked al dente pasta.
Our server insisted that we try the goat cheese panna cotta, and it certainly didn't dissapoint the table. It came with candied nuts and fresh strawberries on top with a drizzle of honey, and while I am not always a fan of goat cheese, somehow the flavor was absolutely perfect in this dessert. MUST TRY!!
Service was excellent at our table, although I could hear a large group near us who was complaining about their server. The place definately was hopping, so might explain some of the issues.
Overall would definately reccomend it for a try. Obviously going head to head with the Borgo idea, I think both places are welcome additions to the 17th avenue scene.
Checked this place out on Saturday and went again yesterday for a quick bite.
Loved the space. There are many different areas with a more intimate parlour feel in the front near the bar, an action bar right by the open kitchen as well as a warm upstairs that wraps around with a view downstairs.
We went for 3 share plates, with the flavored olives, a mint/melon/shrimp/fennel salad and their bruschetta with crostini. Everything was well flavored and refreshing.
Next we shared the mushroom/taleggio/fontina pizza with thyme. To die for. Crusts were perfectly moist and crunchy.
They carry Mill Street on tap at a reasonable 4.75 per pint and are open late!
Definitely loved the freshness and quality of ingredients with reasonable prices and casual atmosphere. I'll be back again and again...