The premise of the column is simple; work with restaurants of all kinds in this amazing city to explore what they have to offer and what makes them unique. In a city like Toronto, the choices are sometimes daunting and the food reviews and critics can be snotty and too complicated for their own good. So why not keep this easy?
Drinks. Appetizer. Main Course. Dessert. All along with a bit of information about what makes them our choice for Daniel’s Dish and why you should try them right away!
Behind the smiling hostesses stands a wall of wine that took my breath away. Housing over 3000 bottles of wine at any given time, ranging in price point and flavour profile, this glass case is a piece of art and the focal point for the restaurant in its entirety. The space within the restaurant is gargantuan with something to look at all around. A New York City loft feeling with exposed brick walls and candle light, intimate is the perfect word to describe the feeling and ambiance within the restaurant.
Lastly, a modern feeling lounge is the perfect place for a classic King Street cocktail mid afternoon or late at night with your friends. I will admit that the production style lighting, rustic inspired dinner plates and obscenely bright Pizza Pizza sign from across the street were distracting. But overall the decor, the ambiance and the staff made up for the little touches I would tweak.
(I apologize for the following pictures taken from our smartphones. At the moment Julio’s Samsung NX 1000 is out of commission.)
There was no way I wasn’t getting into that wine room that kept me dreaming sweet dreams of Chiantis and Ripassos. When I think of Italian cuisine, red wine is an absolute must. Whether you drink red wine or not, the classic full mouth characteristics of a glass of red wine are essential to play off the clean and acidic flavours associated with Italian food.
Nothing could have been more versatile with the various dishes chosen then a beautiful bottle of Zardini Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore. Without boring you with wine jargon, this wine is bold and almost sweet but not too heavy that it overpowers subtle flavours. At a mid price point, I recommend this wine for both non wine drinkers and wine drinkers alike. It played with every bite of food from appetizer to dessert.
Step out of your comfort zone and staple Amarone wine order and give this a try, I promise you won’t be dissapointed!
There are different schools of thought on what is deemed appropriate as an appetizer in the Italian cuisine. Some people enjoy pasta, and others chose some antipasto. Pasta is too heavy for my liking to start an evening of fine dinning, so I opted for the Prosciutto & Formaggio plate to tempt my taste buds. Being that their meats are cured in house at their sister restaurant Ciao Wine Bar in Yorkville, I was salivating at the thought of hand sliced prosciutto and artisan Italian style cheeses. A beautiful touch to something so simple was the slab of slate that these varying flavours are served upon. Perfect for an intimate date or to share amongst a larger group of friends, this is a fun way to start off any occasion.
I don’t normally like, let alone order pasta when given the chance, but how could I be so rude as to not go into this beautiful space without having an open mind? In classic Italian style, an enormous bowl full of deliciousness was placed in front of me when I ordered the Orecchiette from the fresh pasta selections on the menu. I was able to look past the rustic ‘style’ bowl (which as mentioned, could use a bit of updating in my opinion) when I took the first bite of my three essentials: Sweet, Spicy and Salty. Balanced starchiness of the pasta which the sweetness of melted Fontina cheese played beautifully with the heat of the homemade Italian sausage. I will warn those dinners who don’t enjoy spice or large portions to not order this dish. It’s hot in all the right ways, but if spicy is not up your alley I’d point you in the direction of another prepared dish.
From start to finish, I decided to stick with Italian classics. So why would I not end the night with the first dessert that comes to mind when I think Italian dinning other then Gelato? Tiramisu. The most elegant of desserts when done properly. Often poorly executed or having bastardizations in the form of white cake flavoured with instant coffee. Not here and not now. Again, slightly larger then I would have liked, this dessert was exactly what I wanted it to be. Moist with hints of chocolate and dark espresso. It’s a combination of two of my favourite things; sweet desserts and coffee.
Secret You Should Know:
When I say fresh pasta, I’m not kidding. Cibo Wine Bar hand makes its pasta fresh, daily. That is what gives the special touch to each and every one of their pasta dishes. Homemade and rustic from start to finish, this fine dinning hot spot is one I would recommend for a romantic date or as a fun option to have a family dinner.
Like a well oiled machine, I was taken care of with warmth and finesse. I would recommend this as the place to be for authentic Italian experience. Use your hands, enjoy the atmosphere and let yourself enjoy la vida bella!
Get out to Cibo Wine Bar to try out these delectable dishes and make sure to tweet @LibertyGroup #CiboWineBar & @DoTheDaniel to tell us what you thought about your experience at this little piece of Italy in the heart of Toronto with #DanielsDish!