October 25, 2012

First Impression: CIBO

CIBO, pronounced chee -boh was our last stop in Calgary before we headed to the airport. We found it  located a few shops down from Tubby Dog and made note of it the next time we were in the city. From the outside it looks like a quaint little Italian joint exclusive to the locals. Man, were we wrong when we stepped inside! The place was absolutely huge, two floors in fact, and had a trendy, cottage-y, feel to it. It was one of those places where hipsters, and young professionals get together and act like they're Anthony Bourdain. I guess I fit right in.
The staff looked like they all walked out of a Banana Republic commercial, monochromatic outfits and all! We were told by out server, everything on the menu was created ideally for relaxed family style eating. The service here was excellent by the way. She did a great job making small talk and suggesting some of her favourite things on the menu.

We ordered five items off the "Scodellina" section of the menu. These were essentially the Italian version of tapas. You could get one for $4, three for $11 or five for $18.  From left to right, we have roasted eggplant with sundried tomato + goat cheese, date salad with gorgonzola, crispy proscuitto + walnuts, chicken liver with pancetta, capers, garlic, anchovies, + parsley,  bruschetta (not pictured) , and the arancini with veal, sweet peas + mozzarella. We were also given a cone of crostinis to spread everything on. 
My favourite out of all the scodellina's was the chicken liver. I had lashings, and lashings, of this on the  crostini. I liked the fact that it wasn't completely grind down into a mouse and came together more like a pâté. The bruschetta was realllly garlicky, like actual chunks of garlic right in there! The date salad was also exceptionally phenomenal. The combination of a sticky and sweet date with the sharpness of gorgonzola was excellent! 

My only pet peeve, is that they didn't provide enough crostinis. I hate it when management doesn't provide enough chips to go with the dip! I mean, come on! For all five dishes we received a tiny cone of crostinis with about a dozen chips inside. Were we expected to share a dozen chips amongst three of us and five different dishes? It took us a while to flag down our server but once we did she was happy to refill our cone. We could have gone for a third order of crostinis but by that time, our salad had arrived and I already helped myself to a few spoonfuls of the liver already.  I just couldn't wait for more crostinis to arrive! 
Next came the Insalata course, and as per the suggestion of our server, we went with the torn chicken salad ($15).  This was a bit of a miss amongst our table. The romain lettuce came unseasoned and had  a few scoops of the "torn chicken salad" on top. When I picture a salad, especially one as a starter course, I picture greens with some sort of dressing, what we received was more of a side salad, like a cold chicken salad that should go in between a tortilla wrap. We tried using the romaine leaves as a scoop with the salad in between but this didn't save the dish much. The flavours of the salad were decent and I would have loved it on a picnic or a hike, but the execution here could have been better. 
The pear pizza ($16) that came next was by far the best part of the meal! We're still ranting and raving about how bomb diggity it was! Sorry for how blurry the pictures are, I wanted to devour the pizza the second it was droped but I also wanted to capture how thin the pizza was too! The pear, gargonzola and honey was a mind blowing combination! The sharpness of the cheese and the sweetness of the honey reminded us of the date salad we previously ordered. We also asked the server for some honey to dip our crust in. What we got was whipped honey that paired beautifully with the flakeyness of the crust. We finished every square inch of this beautiful pizza!
Dessert was also pretty bangin' here too. We got the Nutella Calzone ($5) with sour cherry compote and the Ricotta Fritella ($6) with lemon curd and raspeberry sauce. I just have to say the price point for the desserts were excellent and although we were all pretty full there was such an amazing selection of desserts, we had to try a few.

The calzone was absolutely delicious. It was super flakey and oozing nutella out of every corner. I wish they had chopped up the hazelnuts because although the flavours were right the big chunks made it awkward to eat. We could have gone without the cherry compote as well. It as too sour for us and after hanging out with Lyssa for two weeks (who is a huge fan of lemon curd) I ended up just having spoonfulls of the lemon curd with my calzone. The fritellas were my favourite though and paired with the raspberry and lemon curd, you couldn't go wrong. We wish we would have ordered a second order of these so we could have more!
Overall, I would definitely see myself making CIBO my local watering hole, if I was a local. The management does a great job of creating a nice relaxing atmosphere where you can have great conversation, have some excellent food and drink the night away! We had a fantastic meal and I am looking forward to the next time I'm in Calgary to try the rest of the menu! 


CIBO
1012 17 Ave SW
Calgary, AB
www.cibocalgary.com
Cibo on Urbanspoon


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