CIBO WATERFRONT CAFE
Address: 339 Waterfront Drive
Entrees: $17 – $35
At Cibo Waterfront Cafe, towering ceilings and decorative steel hooks and chains are remnants of the building’s history as a pumping station, while industrial beauty and slick design elements provide modern flair. It’s a combination that makes this eatery nestled along the bank of the Red River aesthetically analogous with its cuisine: what’s old is new again as Italian classics are given modern verve.
Calamari is a menu mainstay indicating this spot’s Mediterranean influence. Served across a base of arugula, lightly battered golden rings are dusted with smoked paprika and topped with slivers of house-pickled red onion with sour and sweet notes. Rings of banana pepper are hidden throughout, providing a heat soothed by a refreshing tzatziki.
Beet and beef salad is a stunning combination. A buttery eight-ounce sirloin cap is expertly seared and thinly sliced to expose a deep pink centre. A sweet red pepper vinaigrette cuts the savoury steak while a bed of peppery arugula accents the seasoning. Beets provide an earthy depth of flavour and goat cheese yields a creamy, velvety texture.
Mains range from quintessential Italian cuisine to Canadian bistro pillars such as a blackened chicken club, steak sandwich and fried chicken. Traditional beef bolognese is given a refresh and a slight kick by substituting chorizo. Spooned over ribbons of al dente pappardelle and topped with slices of Italian mozzarella.
Inventiveness is unquestionably at its pinnacle in airy, thin crust pizzas. Creative pairings include a vegetarian eggplant and feta pie that is otherworldly. Eggplant and sun-dried tomatoes are settled into a layer of mozzarella atop a crust that crunches. Finished with a salty, crumbled feta, the entire pizza is given vital spice from a drizzle of sharp sauce and a decorative touch of arugula.
Affogato is an excellent dessert to cap a meal. Espresso, poured over vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate beans and a drizzle of caramel is rich and subtly bitter and makes an ideal accompaniment to housemade chocolate biscotti.
Cibo is open Sun to Thu, 11 am to 10 pm and Fri to Sat 11 am to 11 pm.