In a city that favours the understated and the humble, those restaurateurs that set out to deliver the posh and the polish quickly turn heads. The attention is warranted. Cibo Wine Bar, a new Italian restaurant in the downtown core, is stunning. Situated on the sleek strip of King West, the lady Cibo is smack dab in the middle of ‘the scene’. An exquisite atmosphere – it impresses right at the front door. They’ve done well to deliver a vibe that will attract the affluent and party crowd – likely those that fall into both categories. The rustic brick walls and wood ceiling beams have been varnished. Glistening lights and wine racks surround the room. Candle light dances. Semi-private alcoves for large groups are nestled in dark corners and coddled by brickwork, perfect for those looking for conversation but not wanting to miss out on the people watching. The bathrooms are a spectacle, the artwork sure to be a conversation back at your table. Two words: chastity belt.
For a group of four, arancini and meatballs were a good warmup. Both a little dry, but well portioned, these Italian classics set the tone for an equally shareable pizza – the Diavola. Sweet roasted red peppers and a Calabrese with a kick. Finally, the main event. For him, the veal Milanese; a huge breaded veal chop accompanied by the Cibo staples – rapini and roasted potatoes. One thing is for sure, just like nonna’s house, you can’t possibly leave hungry. For her, a cannelloni with a maritime twist. Chunks of lobster and a creamy bisque rosé offered a unique spin on a stuffed pasta favourite. Those that dined with us spoke highly of the seafood linguini and we envied the presentation.
Adding to the long list of choices to make is a rigourous wine list. Featuring vintages from across the globe, it’s easy to find a bottle or two – or four – to satisfy both tastes and pocketbooks around your table.
While the food at Cibo is adequate, the atmosphere is what the crowd is really here for – and this is where she sparkles. A parade of beautiful people flow in and out at a steady pace, starting at the patio at the 5pm whistle, a dinner crowd that follows, and the late night wine enthusiasts not far after. Sit at the ample sized bar, or be seated. Regardless of your choice, you are sure to leave with a warm tingle, a full stomach, and like all nights on King West, a good story.
For a business meeting: 8/10. You can go private dining room, or mingle with the crowd. In either case there’s lots of class and flair for hosting fellow professionals.
With a group, 8/10: Great atmosphere, great space, and gigantic menu. The food won’t be memorable, but your entire party will leave full and happy.
On a date, 7/10: Cibo can get your night going or cap it off. The party vibe ensures a fun date, and it’s not crippling financially.
For a business meeting 8/10: This is the place you bring visiting clients or colleagues who are looking to “see the city.” The atmosphere proves that Toronto is the world-class city that we claim it to be.
With a group 8/10: Take your friends from out of town who are so awestruck by the atmosphere that they forget to notice that the food is subpar. And really – who doesn’t like Italian?
On a date 6/10: The artwork is slightly exhibitionist: it may not set the right tone for an early date. And what about for those who are more comfortable with one another? You can do better (although a seat on the patio on a warm day can be overlooked!)
Photos courtesy of Cibo