Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cibo Bistro - Many Cow Coins Required

What to order?
We had heard much buzz from Edmonton Journal and Dine and Write about Cibo Bistro, located in Oliver Square. This restaurant has been touted as a real contender to give Corso 32 a run for it’s money, so we planned an outing with @TFFroyoYEG, @FoodKarmaBlog and @Buntcake to try it out. Upon entering, we instantly noted that the space is not nearly as small as many new restaurants opening up downtown, and they had many high end finishes which @buntcake commented reminded him of show homes.

Of course wine!
After consulting with our server about the best way to try as many dishes as possible, we opted to order a few appetizers and share them as a group, having been assured that the appetizers were large enough to share. Now, I have to say that the appetizers were not as large as we were lead to believe as you can see from the pictures. When splitting these dishes between 6 people, it really only allowed everyone to try a singular piece, no going back for seconds if you liked it.
Pan fried ricotta cakes

The pan-fried ricotta cakes had a slightly crispy exterior, juxtaposed with a creamy interior consisting of melty, gooey house made goat cheese. Topped with slightly sweet chicken conduto and tomato basil jam, I looked forward to what else they would produce. The polenta fries intrigued us all when we saw it on the menu, but were basically just fries made with polenta. Although different than how other restaurants serve polenta, without the dipping sauce, they had little flavor on their own and felt a bit gimmicky.  
Polenta Fries

The diver scallop topped with a quail egg and fresh shaved truffle on a bed of deliciously salty prosciutto, was an explosion of flavor. The only disparaging remark I have to make about this dish was it was literally a singular scallop, priced at a hefty $15! Although the Edmonton Journal had noted that their menu can be a bit pricy, I don't think we were expecting it to be quite that exorbitant.
Diver Sea Scallop with Quails Egg and Shaved Truffle

The humans both managed to choose entrees that I couldn’t enjoy. The female human ordered slow braised feeb cheeks with aracini. I watched as she enjoyed it, telling me about how juicy and tender it was. The aracini was soft and oozing with cheese. The man humans oxtail ravioli with cherry tomato veal reduction (make the horror stop now!!!), he said was a let down. He thought that the pasta was too thick and that the filling was not very flavorful.
Feeb Cheek and Aracini (eek!)

Dessert was as hit and miss as the appetizers and entrees. The goat milk panacotta with basil infused custard and peppered blueberry sauce had a very distinctly goaty taste, not a taste that I particularly enjoy. The chocolate trio needed more cohesion to be served as a singular plate. The white chocolate ice cream was probably my least favorite and seemed to be the odd one out of all three chocolate items on the dish. The dark chocolate pie was rich with a very flaky pastry, but the portion size was too large considering it’s lack of sweetness. It was just too difficult to eat quite that much dark chocolate. My favorite was the chocolate mousse which was rich, creamy, and airy.

Oxtail ravioli
I think Cibo Bistro has potential but definitely needs some more work. Firstly their portion sizes are all over the map from the singular scallop to the large cone full of polenta fries. Secondly I think they need to think about making dishes more cohesive. Such as pairing the feeb cheek with something other than an aracini, which when we were in Rome is either served as an appetizer or by itself, not as a side dish. The feeb cheek and aracini served together just seemed more like two separate dishes than one dish with complementary items. The chocolate trio would have been more successful had they paired  three chocolate desserts together where the flavors either complimented one another or built on each other.

Chocolate Dessert Trio
Overall, I think that Cibo Bistro and Corso 32 are in two different categories in what they are trying to accomplish. With Cibo Bistro trying to be more high end, serving smaller dishes at higher prices in a space with nice finishes. While Corso 32 is more affordable with larger dishes and middle of the road prices, in a smaller, more intimate space. 

Cibo Bistro
11244 104 Ave
Edmonton, AB
Twitter: @cibobistroedm

Cibo Bistro on Urbanspoon


  1. That one scallop cost the restaurant the same amount of money as the entire bag of cormeal to make the polenta. Maybe before reviewing restaurants, you should get a grip on the cost of food.

    1. I won't argue that scallops or seafood for that matter is expensive. But the server should not have told us that the dish would be large enough to share, as we specifically asked about the portion sizes and he assured us that it was a dish to be shared. But I've had similar dishes with scallops, where a) the scallop tasted better, b) the scallop was fresh, c) there was more than one scallop, and c) it did not cost that much. And yes, that was in Alberta. In particular, Alloy in Calgary.


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