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Ciao Wine Bar

Posted by Staff / Listed on February 16, 2010 / review policy

Ciao Wine BarCiao Wine Bar is the Liberty Group's latest entry into the Yorkville dining scene. Replacing the relatively short-lived FLOW, Ciao offers a decidedly Italian menu complimented with an extensive wine selection.



Cindy / February 2, 2011 at 05:19 pm
My girlfriend’s and I decided to have lunch at Ciao and the experience was terrifying. I felt uncomfortable, unwelcomed and out of place. From the moment we decided to opt out on the wine, it was as if we had lost respect. It was then when the waiter turned on us. Surely he greeted me with a smile and a chivalric demeanor, but God forbid you do not order the wine! From that point on, he acted disinterested, annoyed and unimpressed with his job. And speaking of being unimpressed, the food wasn’t even that great. The pene was cold, tasteless and I’m sorry but having to ask for a water re-fill 4 times is unsatisfactory
Suzy / February 2, 2011 at 05:34 pm
I am not one to fuss about fancy restaurants, gourmet food or upscale decor. Yet when finding out about Winterlicious and the opportunity to try different restaurants me and a couple of girlfriends decided to try Ciao Wine Bar in the midst of Yorkville. Again, I am not one for the upscale eateries but I wanted try this one out. Within a group of four women, one arrived 10 minutes early to be greeted rudely and continuously hassled for when the rest of the party was expected to arrive, or rather if we were even going to show up. Also worth mentioning is that the day of the reservations happened to be a huge snowstorm in Toronto that closed down all but 2 universities. I attempted to call the restaurant to inform them that we were going to be arriving late but after trying 3 times without any answer I gave up. Upon arrival I had informed the greeter that I had called earlier and she looked at me confused not caring to explain at all. We were asked where we wanted to be seated, which was nice of her, but other than that I have never been greeted at a restaurant with such dislike. Adding to the poor greeting service our seating was followed by severe disinterest from out waiter.
He started with asking us for drinks. I was unsure of which wine I wanted but he insisted on taking away the wine classes and even after I told him I was not sure, and looking through the menu, I eventually gave up on that. Clearly he did not want me to have a glass of wine. I gave up the glasses. Picking from the Winterlicious menu was great. The selection seemed good. My starter was amazing. Very much homemade. I decided on the Stracciatella soup. The service was poor, probably the worst I have ever had. He only came to us at each course and never in between. For my main I forced down probably the worst Penne alla vodka. It was bland and cold. However, the plate was hot! Too hot to touch to be honest, so then how can its contents be cool to touch, and too much to eat. Maybe it was my expectations, or that growing up in an Italian household I hold high pasta standards. Finally, for dessert I had the Chocolat Dipped Cannoli with Hazelnut Chocolate Cream
Raspberry Sauce which was quite bland as well, but not the worst.

It was a disappointing experience. For $20, taxes and tip in, I received a decent meal. But I thought that the whole point of Winterlicious was to try an amazing, expensive meal that you would not normally try at low cost. I thought that the purpose behind these restaurants participating in such events was to make their name known, to bring in customers and in doing so it would mean to provide excellent service and delicious food so that people return. I will probably never return. I may recommend Ciao Bar to a friend for the decor and location, but other than that, it is not worth the cost.
Liza replying to a comment from Cindy / February 12, 2011 at 10:40 pm
YOU WENT TO A WINE BAR AND DIDN'T ORDER WINE. HELLO????? you just drastically reduced the tip he could expect and removed the main event you could expect from somewhere that is a WINE BAR.
Ella X / March 21, 2011 at 05:53 pm
I'm a fan of Italian fare and granted that everyone has their favourite dishes and favourite chefs/restaurants, Ciao is one of those that I personally like. Granted I don't come here all the time but occasionally, I like indulging in somewhat more expensive fare. Last time I went, I really enjoyed their portobello and oyster mushrooms (funghi dish) as well as their spaghetti. Simple but good. Their tiramisu's not bad at all either. I also ordered a bottle of icewine that I took my time sipping. How relaxing after a day of walking around Yorkville!
Vicky / June 3, 2011 at 08:42 am
I have to say that I'm surprised by the negative reviews for Ciao Wine Bar. I recently celebrated my birthday there with my husband and had an amazing experience from start to finish. We were greeted warmly by the hostess and given a great seat of our choosing (upstairs!) which was followed by attentive and speedy service from our waitress. The special was a lobster ravioli dish that my husband ordered and loved! He devoured it and informed me that it was cooked to perfection. My dish was the mushroom risotto and let me tell you, that dish was so rich and savory and absolutely delicious (I love mushrooms and I love risottos hahah, perfect for me!). I'm salivating at the mere memory of that meal!!

The entire experience was more than pleasant! The manager of the restaurant even stopped by our table at one point to ask how our meal was going. I don't have a single complaint about this place haha, and I would definitely recommend it!
Ben / March 2, 2012 at 01:41 pm
CRAZY surprised at the negative feedback! Ciao has fast become one of my favourite indulgences in the city! (cuz i generally don't eat pasta / pizza) occasionally the fat kid inside likes to come out and my roommates and I head straight to Ciao. Beautiful food, never found it to be expensive considering right across the street ONE (a rest that will charge you $52 for a steak (no sides)). Maybe some people are just intimidated by good design, the space looks pricey, I'll give you that, but $12 - $15 for a wood oven pizza is far from outrageous. Great place, friendly staff, great food... PS: they have awesome wines by the glass, huge selection compared to the norm.
Paul / December 3, 2012 at 12:56 pm
Very romantic place. Even without ordering the wine, we had fantastic service.
Sasha / July 7, 2013 at 09:01 am
I went here for a Summerlicious lunch and was thoroughly disappointed. The service was HORRIBLE - it took they 15 minutes to acknowledge me a the front and then they forgot my reservation!

To top it off myself and my entire party got food poisoning from here - never will go here again or recommend to anyone.
Ashley / October 22, 2013 at 03:07 pm
Reserved a table to celebrate my birthday at Ciao Wine Bar. The hostess took the birthday cake we had brought with us to keep in the fridge. After we were seated, she came back a few minutes later to inform us that there was a $3.50 charge per person as a "plating fee" for bringing the birthday cake. We then asked if we could just keep the cake at our table and and cut it ourselves and use the side plates we already had at the table (we absolutely shouldn't have to, but thought we would ask in order to avoid the ridiculous fee). She left to ask if that was ok and came back and told us that we wouldn't be able to do that either, the charge would still apply. We asked to speak to the manager. He came out of the kitchen, never inroduced himself, just stood there like we were inconveniencing him. I asked him what this "plating fee" was for, he said since they had desserts at the restaurant already, they charge a $3.50/person fee for bringing in your own cake. Oh, I never knew that they were the only restaurant in the city that had desserts and therefore we should pay this fee since we had offended them by not purchasing the desserts they had on hand. We asked for him to bring our cake back and he said he would keep it in the fridge for us until we were ready to leave. I asked him if there was a charge for doing so. He didn't seem impressed. Oh well. We quickly did a Google search for nearby restaurants and found an amazing restaurant one street over and had a great birthday dinner there. And they allowed us to have our cake there, no charge. I've never heard of such disgusting, money hungry behaviour at any restaurant I've been to to celebrate a birthday, regardless of the area or grade of the establishment. Was more than happy to take my dinner party elsewhere.
Mary / January 21, 2014 at 02:23 pm
Celebrared my sons and mothers birthday
It was a Monday night, pretty quite but that
was fine. Service was great! Food on the other
hand was a major disappointment. Pasta was
precooked. My octopus rubbery and chewy
and Branzino overlooked. Will not be going back. Shame

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