2 stars for Italian at Cibo Wine Bar in Coral Gables

 

Many of the Italian dishes don’t match the charming surroundings

cibo main

Jodi Mailander Farrell

Editor rating: 2

Cibo Wine Bar in Coral Gables raises great expectations. The affable manager stops by for courteous conversation while crusty, complimentary bread is delivered on a cutting board with olives and a big jug of rosemary-infused olive oil. Even ordering wine from the 250-plus bottle list is a production. A woman dressed in black glides up and down a suspended wire like a Cirque du Soleil act to retrieve selections from a glass-enclosed, floor-to-ceiling storage wall. But no amount of toe pointing and twirling by a wine waitress on a zip line can distract from the fact that many of the Italian dishes don’t match their charming surroundings.

Ambience: The lighting, from flickering flames in mason jars and a glowing corner pizza oven, is just so.  Deep and inviting booths with lumbar pillows create cozy, bricked-in alcoves, each with its own rustic table. There’s also an elegant bar and scattered wooden tables, both inside and out.

What Worked

  • Sold salads and thin-crust pizzas
  • Deep-fried zucchini and artichoke  with two zesty aioli sauces, one flavored with roasted red pepper and the other with lemon and lime
  • Surprisingly savory and not overly sweet pear and Gorgonzola pizza drizzled with honey
  • Arugula salad with radicchio, endives, sliced portobello mushrooms, big, salty Parmesan shavings and a well-balanced sheen from lemon and olive oil

    Cloud-like semifreddo with frangelico zabaglione with a hint of lemon

  • Wonderfully intense house-made gelato, particularly the hazelnut

 

What Didn't Work

  • Rigatoni in Bolognese sauce
  • Disappointng mushroom risotto
  • A clam and mussel appetizer with diced potatoes in a spicy wine and garlic tomato sauce that failed to live up to its spirited billing
  • Flavor-lacking chianti-braised, porcini-crusted short ribs
  • A weekly linguine with whole lobster special with  tough and inedible lobter

 

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