Clean, modern decor and an open kitchen. We walked into Via Cibo smelling Italian food wafting in the air. Via Cibo is about authentic Italian food, and their open kitchen invites you to share in the experience. We were invited by Good Food Toronto for a tasting to find out what Via Cibo is about.
We were seated at their high marble table in the center of the restaurant and was greeted by the general manager, David. He highlighted some of the seasonal specials with us, and we proceeded to put in our order at the cashier. Via Cibo is a fast casual restaurant, which means that they do not offer full table service, while still providing a high quality of food. You place your order and pay for your meal at the cashier, and they then bring the food to your table. Each dish is made to order, with all the fresh, local ingredients prepared and put together in the open kitchen.
We started with the caprese salad, featuring a medley of fresh, simple ingredients: tomatoes, fior di latte mozzerella, fresh basil and aged balsamic. This dish was crisp and fresh, with the mozzarella being soft and bouncy, drizzled with a hint of balsamic to accent the dish.
Couldn’t resist getting a couple of italian sodas for the table: blackberry, lemon, passionfruit and mango! The drinks were very bubbly and was a light and refreshing drink to go with a rather carb heavy meal. Don’t expect it to be too sweet; it is mostly club soda with a splash of flavour.
The osso buco poutine was an interesting take on a Canadian favourite. There were healthy chunks of braised veal that were soft to the bite. The fries were a bit on the salty side, making the dish just a little too salty when paired with the ragu.
A piadina is a freshly made Italian flatbread, thin and folded with ingredients like a sandwich. We had the proscuitto piadina which was stuffed with proscuitto, arugula, fior di latte, garlic aioli and balsamic glaze. The combination seems so simple but each bite is absolutely delicious. The roasted garlic aioli makes the piadinia more savoury but the arugula and balsamic balances it out. I can see this item as a usual take-out option, if not for the slightly steep price tag.
We ordered two pastas for the table: the carbonara with penne and osso buco ragu with linguine. There was a generous amount of grana padano cheese on the carbonara which made the dish extra creamy. The chicken in the carbonara was cooked well but did not have flavours that stood out. Overall, the dish was prepared well but not too memorable.
The osso buco ragu with linguine was one of my favourites. The braised veal was cooked perfectly, and the brocollini, tomatoes and cheese in the ragu gave it excellent flavours and textures. Eating this dish just felt homey and comforting!
After an array of delicious entrees, we were surprised to also see quality desserts offered at Via Cibo. We had the Stella Di Nutella which had strips of thin piadina filled with Nutella, topped with hand crafted gelato. Anything with Nutella is good, and this was no disappointment. The piadina was served hot and crispy and the Nutella was oozing out at each bite. What was just as good were the Bombolonis. These are homemade Italian doughnuts stuffed with hazelnut spread: crispy and sugary on the outside, warm and fluffy on the inside. We also had a sampler of homemade gelato – the lemon was a standout with extremely strong tart flavours. The only problem was that it melted so quickly!
Via Cibo definitely surprised us with their commitment to fresh ingredients which clearly shows in their dishes. We also learned that they have brunch on the weekends; we will certainly be back to try their Italian inspired brunches soon (think Nutella)! Thank you again to Via Cibo for having us!
Our meal at Via Cibo was complimentary but opinions are our own.