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Restaurants

Cibo Wine Bar

Posted by Guest Contributor / Profiled on August 14, 2013 / review policy

Cibo Wine Bar TorontoCibo Wine Bar (Pronounced Chee-bo) on King West is not a resto-lounge or supper club. Supper clubs don't bake their own bread and cure their own meats in house, and supper clubs are not awarded with a Marchio Ospitalita Italiana by the Italian government for authenticity.

The 200-seat space is located in a historic building formerly home to the short-lived Alimento Fine Food Emporium. It's owned by Nick Di Donato of Liberty Entertainment Group, the same people behind Spice Route, Ciao Wine Bar and Rosewater. But his latest venture feels different. The food here is more serious. And so is Chef Saverio Macri, a Calabrese Canadian who was trained in the U.S. and lived in Italy and Spain for nearly a year before returning home.

Cibo Wine Bar TorontoWe start with the Burrata ($18). This is not the faux version made in Ontario, but the real deal, flown in once a week from southern Italy. If anything, come for the Burrata alone and thank whichever God you believe in as fresh cream begins to flow out of this volcano of deliciousness.

Cibo Wine Bar TorontoWe would be fools not to order a pasta dish since all noodles are made in house by specialty pasta maker Franca Mauro. We opt for the Lamb Pappardelle ($19), which is braised for 12 hours in a rich ragu sauce and topped with generous shavings of fresh pecorino cheese. Even though one of us isn't usually crazy about lamb we still enjoye this dish since it was the furthest thing from gamey.

Everyone and their Neapolitan mother are doing wood oven pizza these days. But it's rare for a place that doesn't specialize in pizza to do it better than the usual name-dropped places around town. I'm a sucker for a classic Margherita but I was told to try the Gorgonzola ($17) instead, which is made with imported Italian Gorgonzola, walnuts, pears and drizzled with just the right amount of honey.

The flavours are mind blowing and the sharpness of the cheese works wonders with the sweetness of the honey. But it's not the toppings that steal the show; it's the fluffy texture of the perfectly charred crust.

Cibo Wine Bar TorontoNext comes the Chianti Braised Short Ribs ($34). Make no mistake about it; this dish is heavy but it's also fall off the bone tender. As if that isn't enough, the short ribs sit atop a luscious bed of polenta mixed with that same sharp Gorgonzola. Perhaps the cheese stole a bit of the thunder, but I'd still take this over bland and lifeless polenta any day.

Cibo Wine Bar TorontoWe then decide to give our waistline a break and dove fork first into the light and cheerful Ahi Tuna (Market price). The rare tuna certainly melts in our mouth, but what really impresses is the freshness of the green beans and summer squash.

To drink? Wine. There are literally 2400 bottles to choose from with 70% from Italy, and the rest ranging from Ontario to Spain.

Cibo Wine Bar TorontoFor dessert we try Cibo's take on the famous Baci chocolate. Their oversized version ($9) is a labour intensive dessert made with hazelnut puree and praline, then filled with a velvety chocolate mousse. The end result is something that actually tastes like a Baci, yet more elegant. And seeing as this dessert is on the rich side, it worked out well that there were two of us to share it.

Writing by Toto Schillaci / Photos by Ike Ford

Discussion

17 Comments

Sounds Amazing / August 14, 2013 at 09:26 am
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This all looks great and delicious!!! Diabetes here I come! :D jk
Brent / August 14, 2013 at 09:37 am
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The pizza I ate there had the potential to be great but was overcooked, slightly burnt (in a bad way -- not charred) and dried out. Would give it another chance.

Pastas were good. Italian reds by-the-glass could be better given it has "Wine Bar" in the name. (You can basically choose a $12 nero d'avola or $25 brunello; nothing else very interesting)
John372 / August 14, 2013 at 10:48 am
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Nice story. Place looks great!
Italian / August 14, 2013 at 11:03 am
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Food looks really good. Would have loved to see what the restaurant looks like though.
Sara / August 14, 2013 at 12:43 pm
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Great article, the food looks delicious in these pics. I have been to Cibo and it has become my new favorite place, the food really is as good as it looks.
Lindsay / August 14, 2013 at 12:47 pm
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The best fresh pasta I have ever had. My mouth is still watering from my last visit and these delicious pics don't help.
Emma Von E / August 14, 2013 at 03:43 pm
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Oh CIBO.
It's spectacular inside, but that's where things stop ...

Premium prices, with lack luster service. and very bland/boring, food. It's definitely not worth what they're charging.


Go for a glass of wine. But skip the food.
And don't expect the hospitality to reflect the prices they're charging.

I won't be returning.
Emma Von E / August 14, 2013 at 03:46 pm
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As a followup to my comment, do a quick search for online reviews, and you'll see my comment is the consensus on CIBO.

I would have to assume the positive comments above regarding the food are completely false.

This isn't a place you'd make a regular, go-to spot.
It's a 'i'm from out of town, and i want to go to a fancy-dancy restaurant' spot. No one local will go here more than once.

Glenn / August 14, 2013 at 06:00 pm
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Authentic, fresh Italian food in a beautifully designed space. Great wine list and attentive service. One of the best restaurants in King West area.
Brent replying to a comment from Emma Von E / August 14, 2013 at 10:52 pm
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Yes, these canned praises are obviously fake. It would be more believable to have some non-threatening criticism mixed in.
BillyO / August 14, 2013 at 11:08 pm
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Overall, good addition to King West.

Highs: fresh pastas made in house are really good, bread to start and chili oil are great as well. Decor, ambiance give the place a special buzz

Lows: pizzas - boast an pizza maker from Italy yet not sure what style they are going for, as it's neither Naples (like Pizz Libretto) or Roman (Terroni). Pass or at the most get just one to share, don't let that be your main when they've got great fresh pastas and mains on deck

In betweens: service was friendly, but slow for majority of meal

Definitely worth a visit, best if all they are open late on Fri/Sat, until 1 am I believe

VadimM / August 28, 2013 at 04:18 pm
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Had a Neapolitan pizza there the other day - it was awesome. My favorite still Libretto, but this one was very close. Also- they bake their own bread, in the wood oven.
Leah / December 7, 2013 at 11:48 am
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Don't agree with this review. The food was terrible.
Monika / December 17, 2013 at 03:59 pm
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Food is bad here. I tired a few different pizzas and you can find much better pizza in the city. Friends had the pasta - they said it was nothing special. Nice decor, disappointing food.
Hope / January 6, 2014 at 03:09 am
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Looks amazing!

I just hope it's not super loud with clubby music inside. I like a conversation, not a shouting match, at restaurants. ;)
A / March 2, 2014 at 12:59 pm
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My friend and I sat at the bar and really just wanted a few drinks and great chat. The bartender was not helpful, kept ignoring us for more drinks and bad service. In the end charged us more than we should've paid. We gave him $85, he said only $65. If he could be a bit "softer" I really wouldn't mind tipping him all that extra.
a / May 2, 2014 at 01:18 pm
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Great spot, perfect for date night.
all was great. service could be much better. was not please by it at all!

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