Talking amongst friends the other day, we were (and weren’t really) shocked at how quickly all the movie rental places closed down in and around the city. No longer are people looking to drive out to their neighbourhood rental store to pick up a movie on a Friday night. Now a days people just click on Netflix and ta da! We were all a bit nostalgic about the whole process, but then quickly realized that nobody wanted to really make the trek to return the movies after the fact. Plus, the freed up spaces have really been put to great use, with many restaurants and diners popping up to take their place. One notable restaurant that recently opened in such a space is Cibo (brought to you by the owners of Bonterra), down on 17th Ave replacing the old rogers video store. Walking in the first time, I was amazed at the transformation of the building…
Atmosphere: A huge rustic two level restaurant, outfitted with unique antiques ranging from bottle shaped chandeliers to brass fixtures. Definitely a feast for the eyes.
Price Range: Mid $10s - $20s
Food: After the shock of how big the restaurant was (it seemed like an endless walk) and when I finally got over taking in all the neat fixtures and furnishings, we were finally able to decide on what we wanted for dinner. The fact that I wanted to try everything on the menu didn’t help matters either. I was looking forward to the carb heavy dinner, so we decided to be good and start with a light insalate (salad) and had the Torn Chicken, which had big chunks of romaine lettuce with spicy calabrese and salami slices, chickpeas, sweet peppers all topped with a caper garlic dressing, cherry tomatoes and feta and chicken of course. If it sounds like quite the salad, it was! Each bite was fresh and had a nice combination of dressing, chicken and bits of spicy sausage. I really enjoyed the balance between the spicy and salty aspects of the dish, where it can easily sway one way or the other. Highly recommended if you’re looking for something lighter on the menu!
We knew we were going to get a pasta next and Gnocchi is my number one go to because I truly appreciate the time and effort that it takes to make each and every one of those little dough balls. This gnocchi dish was served with sautéed spinach and artichokes, enhanced with lemon and basil. I really appreciated how soft each gnocchi was. Melting in your mouth, bite after bite. I would have preferred them to be a bit more seared, to provide that crunch and texture contrast, but that didn’t change the fact that I really enjoyed the flavour of the dish.
I was pretty excited about the Prosciutto and Fig Pizza we ordered. I wasn’t disappointed. The sweetness of the fig really brought out the saltiness of the prosciutto and complimented the bitterness of the radicchio and arugula. I’m not usually one for salty and sweet, but this might have changed my perspective on things. The best part was how crispy the dough was, yet remaining chewy at the same time. I find the most important thing about a pizza is the crust and that’s what a pizza is truly rated for (beware of me reaching over your shoulder when you’re not looking to steal it). So as much as I enjoyed the toppings, I couldn’t stop eating the crispy doughy crunchy crust!
We were pretty stuffed at this point, but twist my rubber arm when it comes to dessert. We decided on the Nutella Calzone even though we wanted something light, because we just wanted more of that crust! I really enjoyed the hazelnuts strewn throughout the calzone, a very nice touch (great with an espresso!). It was served with a sour cherry compote, which I didn’t really care for because I’m always a dessert a la mode person and was looking for a nice vanilla bean gelato. However, when we asked the server she mentioned that their freezers weren’t cooperating and all their gelato were no good! So here’s hoping that it gets fixed asap because I’m ready for round two!.
My Picks: Gnocchi, Prosciutto Fig Pizza
Overall: The comfortable atmosphere coupled with really hearty fare made for a great first time dining experience at Cibo. I really look forward to going back and sampling the small bites menu along with their wine selection. I’m slightly saddened by the disappearance of Rogers, but I’d have to say that I’m pretty excited that it was replaced by Cibo.