2 stars for Italian at Cibo Wine Bar in Coral Gables

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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