After staying in Italy for 3 weeks for a nutrition course for pharmacy, my standards for Italian cuisine are quite high. Nothing will ever beat the home-cooked style meals of La Casereccia on the little island of Ischia off the coast of Naples. I was super excited to hear that Edmonton had gained another Italian restaurant, and a good one at that. A couple weeks ago I finally made my way there. Not only did it take me nearly a year to try the new place, I completely forgot to take appropriate pictures (fail) because I was so happy. With reservations at 7pm, Joe and I came to a sparse restaurant, which did eventually fill up at around 8 o’clock (Italian style!). High ceilings and great windows allowing outdoor light to shine through gave the place a very airy atmosphere. Even the unique cutlery impressed us (lack of a picture means you’ll just have to trust me). Our waitress was very knowledgeable about the menu and gave us a very enthusiastic (and mouth-watering) description of their most popular dishes.
First course was the “Trio di Bruschetta Della Casa” consisting of prosciutto di Parma & nectarine, cannellini bean, roasted garlic, rosemary & zucchini, crumbled house goat ricotta and toasted pine nuts. My favorite was the goat ricotta and toasted pine nuts, having great flavor and great texture. We both weren’t a fan of the cannellini bean but we attributed that to the fact that we both don’t like “mushy” things.
The butter poached lobster with house lemon mascarpone-filled tortellini in a tarragon butter sauce was our second course. I absolutely loved this dish and wish there was more of it. A few more bites and this would have made a great entree dish nobody could resist.
My main course was the goat ricotta gnocchi, with a traditional bolognese sauce and parmigiano reggiano on top. A lot of the menu items for the season seemed to use a lot of goat ricotta cheese and by the end of the dish, I was overwhelmed with the smooth, rich flavor. The bolognese sauce was very well done and overall, the dish was filling.
Joe ordered the “Guance Di Manzo”, slow braised beef cheeks on wild mushroom risotto and tartufo (truffle). He was very impressed by the tenderness of the beef cheeks. I was more impressed by the risotto, cooked perfectly to my taste. I had previously read reviews that the dishes here were overly salty and if you mixed the risotto with the sauce, it did overwhelm your taste buds. I preferred the mushroom risotto by itself rather than with the beef cheek sauce.
For dessert, we managed to polish off a panna cotta, this one being a vanilla custard with fried gnocchi, raspberries and a limoncello reduction. All the ingredients attracted me, being a huge fan of vanilla type custards (think creme brulee and flans) and limoncello. I think this was my next favorite dish, after the tortellini. It was very refreshing, light, and a great way to finish the heavy courses of the evening. All dishes had beautiful presentation and I fully appreciated it. As most would agree, you eat with your eyes first!
As we left the restaurant, I noticed that most tables were thoroughly enjoying the food and the company they were with. It reminded me of Italy and how food, if given the time and place, can bring people closer together. Given that I hadn’t eaten at Corso32 since it’s first weeks of opening, I have a hard time comparing the two. A Corso32 dinner is next up on the list and I’ll be sure to have a more accurate opinion on Cibo’s cuisine. Standing alone, however, I did enjoy my meal at Cibo and seeing that Ischia is miles away and Cibo is so close to home, I will definitely be back to try more dishes from their constantly updated menu.
Note: Much thanks to Chef Rosario Caputo who promptly sent me a copy of the menu. At the time of posting, Cibo’s menu has already changed to this fall’s dishes. Really just means I need to get my act together and post faster!Cibo Bistro
11244 – 104 Avenue