Cibo Wine Bar

Last Friday, thanks to a twitter recommendation from Chic Darling. Offner and I tried out the new Cibo Wine Bar that opened up just over two months ago on the corner at King and Brant Street in Toronto. We were looking for some good food to enjoy after a long week at work.

Reservations were super easy through Open Table online. Even if we reserved the afternoon of, there were still some spots available.

Right when we walked in, I noticed that the place had completely transformed from the trashy club that it used to be. The big wall of wine bottles, the dim lighting and the wooden walls gave it a very homey and nice atmosphere. I liked that you could see the kitchen from the dining room, the wood oven and also where all the in-house pasta are made.

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As expected, the wine bar had a pretty big selection of wines. We let our waiter recommend us a wine, something we rarely do but figured it’d be the place to do it. To our surprise, the wine he recommended from Napa Valley was delicious! Though a little pricey for the bottle in our opinion ($65), it was worth it in the end.

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The menu was pretty extensive. They had a variety of Italian food – a full pizza list, pasta that was made in-house, others that that weren’t, a list of salads, soups, fish and also some cheese and charcuterie boards.

We opted for an appetizer each: I took the cheese platter and Offner, the fried calamari. Though his calamari was good it was a little undercooked and too chewy for his liking. I was really excited to try their cheese board as it was recommended to me. The presentation was nice and the portions were good for the price ($17). That being said, the cheese itself wasn’t very original – they served Brie and a form of Mozzarella, basically cheeses that are not only easy to find, but unoriginal. The rest of the cheese was a little better/tastier but being a big cheese connaisseur, sadly I was disappointed with their overall selection.

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For our main course, Offner ordered some shrimp pasta made in-house, which he really enjoyed and myself, the endives salad, which was tasty and reasonably priced. Though the dessert menu looked very appetizing (hello Nutella pizza!!), we were too stuffed to order any.

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The one thing that really stood out and gave the restaurant an edge was what I noticed on my waiter’s feet…

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Yup! Some good ol’ chucks! I think having all the waiters wear chucks gave them a cool laid-back vibe.

Overall, a good experience at Cibo Wine Bar. I think they could improve their cheese selection (Terroni in my opinion still offers a better selection of cheese for the same type of Italian cheese board) and perfect some of their dishes a little more but all in all, we had a pleasant time. The restaurant now also serves brunch on the weekends, something I’d be curious of trying out some time!

 

Glas Winebar

Last week, my boyfriend and I decided to do a raw food and juice cleanse (read a recap here) after our California adventure. The whole time I was cleansing, all I kept thinking about was cheese. I have a mild severe adoration for cheese and not just any type of cheese – the stronger and the stinkier, the better 🙂

During my cleanse, I asked the twitterverse to recommend the best cheese platter in Toronto. Though I’ve tried many cheese boards in the city, they’re usually always overpriced, aren’t that tasty or original and satisfying. The Terroni cheese platter is probably the best for quality vs. price and you know that you’ll be getting more than just an ounce of cheese. Plus, their accoutrements are always fantastic. However, Toronto cheese platters always fall short of what you can find in Quebec and obviously France. I still can’t get over the fact that you can get four full cheeses in France for 8 Euros and here, they charge $24 for 4oz of cheese! Absurd!

Blame my French blood, but if I’m going to dish out $24 for a cheese board it better be damn good or I’d be better off just making my own (which we do quite often…)

The top recommendation on twitter was Glas Winebar in Leslieville. A quaint little restaurant on Queen East. So I figured I’d give it a shot!

It was really easy to make a reservation for the restaurant, I was able to reserve just by tweeting at them. Though it may not look like much from the outside, the atmosphere in the restaurant is warm, welcoming and cozy. Right when we got there, the chef Danny Pantano came up and introduced himself and thanked us for coming. He explained the current menu, cheese platter, etc. He was very friendly and seemed like a really smart and business-savvy owner. He explained that he opened the restaurant last year after having spent several years cooking in Europe, he wanted to finally have his own place and bring Italian and French cuisine to the city.

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The meal started with a free amuse-bouche: some roasted and seasoned nuts and olives. We both ordered a glass of local Ontario wine.

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The meal continued with a citrus marinated kale salad with wine soaked raisins and parmesan shavings for myself. My boyfriend ordered a beef tartar. Danny carefully selects the products and items on his menu, making sure they’re either all local, sustainable and organic. He also changes his menu very frequently.

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The long awaited cheese board then arrived with a selection of 5 local cheeses. To be honest, the cheeses all had an interesting and original taste, some were smoked, others were garnished with different toppings. For the price, 5 great cheeses for $20, you can’t really go wrong in this city! They were also accompanied by some delicious compote and jam. Yummy!!

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Danny offered us a sweet homemade sorbet with blueberrys on the bottom. It was the perfect way to end the meal!

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We spent more time talking with Danny at the end of our meal, he went around the tables of his restaurant making sure that everyone had enjoyed their meals.

Though it may not be France and strong original cheeses aren’t as readily available in Toronto, I can definitely say that Glas Winebar offered an excellent selection for a great price!

We will definitely be making it back to the east end for another platter someday soon! Thanks Danny and you all for the good recommendation 🙂