Cibo Ristorante Italiano
Cibo Ristorante Italiano

Cibo News

Following, are some recent news stories written about Cibo Ristorante Italiano.

 

From The Californian-July, 2014

After nearly 25 years, Rosa Catalano and son Mario are still at Cibo every day, making sure the food's just right and customers feel at home, because great hospitality never goes out of style.

After nearly 25 years, Rosa Catalano and son Mario are still at Cibo every day, making sure the food's just right and customers feel at home, because great hospitality never goes out of style.

Still, they do keep up with contemporary trends. Friday night, when a friend and I were invited to dine there, Rosa said, "Prosecco's a big deal in Italy right now — everyone has to have the right prosecco." The glass of Zardetto La Marca she brought to the table seemed right indeed — it was crisp and refreshing, with just a hint of sweetness. Mario's the driving force behind the restaurant's newest innovation — a fairly extensive gluten-free menu of pizzas and pastas. He said he went gluten free about a month ago when a friend suggested it might make him feel more energetic and help his digestion. No radical changes yet, but he's sticking with it.

Normally people with dietary restrictions and allergies get the short end of a restaurant deal — or their dining companions end up forgoing meals they really wanted to accommodate their friends' sensitivities. Happily, at Cibo this does not have to be. Almost every pasta and every pizza on the menu can be ordered gluten free. The Al Ceppo Bolognese, with a traditional meat sauce of veal, pork, and beef, was rich and satisfying. If we hadn't known it was gluten free, we would not have suspected. The pastas that Mario found — after much shopping and testing — are rice-based and have a consistency that's just a bit softer than al dente. Some of the other pasta selections include a spicy Puttanesca, with kalamata olives, garlic, capers, red bell peppers and anchovies, and pasta tossed with house-made sausage, onions, peas and saffron.

There are four pizza selections on the menu, including the traditional Margherita, with tomato, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil. The gluten-free crust was thin and crispy, perfectly complementing the soft, melted mozzarella. Again, while its texture was not exactly that of a wheat-based crust, if we hadn't known, I don't think we would have questioned it. The flavors of tomato, mozzarella and emerald green basil, of course, are a visual and flavorful match made in heaven.

The other three pizzas are anything but ordinary. First, there's the Pizza Gustosa, with its guanciale — a cured cut of pork from the cheek or jowl — and house-made sausage. There's also the earthy signature Pizza Cibo, with prosciutto, mushrooms, mozzarella, and truffled radicchio, as well as the hearty Pizza Costolette with short ribs, potatoes, caramelized onions, and goat cheese.

As much as we love our carbs, Cibo is way more than pasta and pizzas. Its eclectic Italian menu has some appetizers you'd expect — a smoky grilled Castroville artichoke with reduced balsamic vinegar and mayonnaise, and calamari with lemon and capers — and some you might not. For example, the grilled baby octopus is smoky, tender, and served up with an arugula and cannellini bean salad. They also have a lobster and filet carpaccio served with infused olive oil and Meyer lemon salt.

The entrees are the usual suspects — with unusual accomplices. The pork chop has eggplant marmalade and the salmon comes with a brown butter and blood orange puree and farro risotto. If you order the flat iron steak, you'll get black radishes, and the house made sausage comes with a roasted tomato polenta. The dessert menu is 100% Italian — we loved the pear tart, with its layers of soft pear on tender cake in a nicely browned crust.

And since man does not live by bread alone, Cibo adds live music 6 nights a week and a DJ on Fridays playing the best music of the 1960s through the 1990s, remixed for your dining and dancing pleasure. If you've been looking for a place for gluten-free goodies to share with friends, this is the spot. Ciao — see you soon!

From San Francisco Chronicle-December, 2013
Benefit for Big Sur at Cibo Ristorante Italiano


Friday, Dec 20 4:00p to Saturday, Dec 21 1:30a Cibo Ristorante Italiano Monterey, CA Cibo Ristorante Italiano, 301 Alvarado in downtown Monterey, is holding a "Benefit for Big Sur" to help the victims of the Big Sur fire. Cibo will donate 20% of all food and bar sales to help the victims, many who have lost everything.The $3 Happy Hour with a small bites menu will be from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM. Dinner will be served from 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM. Andrea's Fault Trio will perform from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM followed by more live music from a variety of local bands, from 10:00 PM – 1:30 AM.


MIKE HALE (The Grub Hunter) of the Monterey Herald 

Not your parents' Cibo

Cibo Ristorante Italiano has stepped up its culinary game by installing a unique menu stamped with Old World classics prepared with California flair.

This isn't your parents' Cibo, and owners Mario and Rosa Catalano have assured that music will no longer drown out the cuisine. After all, in Italian the word cibo translates to "food."

Start with happy hour (nightly from 5 to 7 p.m.), and grind on roasted tomato bruschetta ($3), polenta caprese ($3), lemon-caper calamari ($6) and more small bites, along with $3 beer, wine and well drinks.

Antipasti includes salumi and artisan cheeses (with housemade pickles), grilled baby octopus and an inventive surf and turf item lobster and filet carpaccio.

Try the traditional panzanella, or Tuscan white bean soup, a variety of pasta and pizza. Papparedelle della Casa has wide pasta ribbons, housemade sausage, smashed chicken liver, peas, onion and saffron. (You can't find a dish like that anywhere else on the Peninsula).

Entrees include (among many others): roasted free-range chicken with creamy polenta and roasted cauliflower ragout; grilled wild salmon with brown butter and blood orange puree and farro risotto; grilled flat iron steak with arugula, black radish, pine nuts and roasted garlic aioli.

They offer much more, including a variety of traditional desserts, with great takes on classic Italian finales such as tiramisu, panna cotta, semifreddo and gelato.

The cool element to Cibo is the strangely secret locals special for $19.95. Just mention to the server that you're a local and you can have soup or salad, an entrée (the above-mentioned chicken or salmon or four-cheese lasagna with meat ragu, béchamel and spinach) and tiramisu.

The locals menu is not a restricted, early-bird special, but available any night, all night long. It's nice to see an Old Monterey restaurant (especially an already popular joint that has been around 22 years) making an extra effort (this one in line with the city's roots).

Bravissimo!

Ricardo Diaz: In 22nd year, Cibo still shines in Monterey
Apr. 11, 2012

I am walking through Monterey as the sun sets behind me. I walk around Alvarado Street and wander into Cibo's Ristorante Italiano. This is a fun spot, its dining room decorated vibrantly but still very relaxing once you walk in. You can look at the colorful hand-blown glass against the wall, or, if it's between 5 and 7 p.m., you can keep right on walking to the bar area and partake of happy hour. This period offers drink specials, a small bites bar menu and live music six nights a week. You can put out the vibe to some cocktail jazz or come on a different night and spice things up with salsa music. Read more...


Feast for the senses


Cibo in downtown Monterey much more than a nightclub
The Monterey County Herald
Article Last Updated: 03/27/2008 09:12:55 AM PDT

In the restaurant world, providing "something for everyone" is often a recipe for disaster, requiring a massive, across-the-board effort that undermines quality and consistency. Narrow your focus, the experts advise, and do one thing really well.

Some places become an exception to that rule. Take Cibo Ristorante Italiano, for example. The venerable downtown Monterey establishment is at once an uptown restaurant, a family friendly, value-priced eatery, a cocktail lounge and a nightclub.

"We cover all the bases," said Mario Catalano, who with his mother Rosa co-owns this family restaurant that has stood the test of time for 18 years at the corner of Alvarado and Del Monte. "This has been years in the making."

And it's still evolving. The Catalanos recently revamped the menu and wine list, expanding on their philosophy to include the best of Old World and New World cuisine. The usual Italian suspects abound (ravioli, pizza margherita, pasta Bolognese), but the menu takes a turn toward the less mundane with veal Marsala, housemade Italian sausage, grilled lamb chops and risotto with wild mushrooms and leeks. And the kitchen employs the use of seafood, much of it sustainable.

Catalano is especially proud of the addition of a bar menu, which runs the gamut from gourmet (fresh oysters with raspberry mignonette granita) to grub food (grilled rib-eye steak sandwich).

Next in line is an overhaul of the dessert menu by an in-house pastry chef.

The pulsing bar flanks one end of the expansive restaurant — with plenty of nook-and-cranny seating in the middle facing the stage (music begins at 10 p.m. most nights) — and a more sedate experience past an ornate room divider toward the Del Monte side of the building.

The restaurant opens at 5 p.m., and until 7 p.m. offers a prix fixe menu for $22 that includes two courses a dessert and a glass of house wine.

|HE SAID|

Cibo translates to "food" in Italian, but I always figured this restaurant that bills itself as "a feast for the senses" had to suffer in the kitchen; it's almost a law of nature.

I held onto certain misconceptions about Cibo, awarded in the past as "Best Place to Meet Singles in Their 30s and 40s" and "Best Place to Enjoy a Martini." I assumed it was a meat market, a testosterone pool of smarmy men with sprouting chest hair, and prowling cougars who have their divorce lawyers on speed dial.

It is a meat market, but the specialties are local seafood, veal, lamb chops — and on this night a mollusk amalgamation called scalone. The food is not run-of-the-mill, and most of it is prepared with skill. The atmosphere is intimate yet vibrant, cool yet classy, and good acoustics allow for relaxed table conversation — at least until 10 p.m., when the live jazz begins.

We are made to feel welcome, lingering over the interesting menu and a basket of crispy flatbread and warm ciabatta. We start with the scalone ($15 as an appetizer), a blend of puréed scallops and abalone pressed into "steaks," egg-dipped, lightly breaded, pan-fried and served picatta-style. The tofu-like texture may prove off-putting to some (although it would be less appetizing if the inventor had settled on the name scabalone). In my book, a winner — sweet, mild and tender — pairing nicely with our bottle of Torrontes, a crisp, floral white from Argentina ($28).

For an entrée I choose the vitello Ariana ($22), named after Catalano's daughter. Thin medallions of veal, scallopini style, share the sauté pan with caramelized criminis, scallions and sweet Marsala wine. The veal is fork tender but slightly tough, and the flour coating comes off a bit gloppy; perhaps some additional pounding would solve both issues. A side of "grilled" polenta appears more pan-fried, but the nice crust helps contain a creamy cornmeal center spiked by whole corn kernels.

We skip dessert and the jazz, but walk along Alvarado content — and sorry about my preconceived notions.

|SHE SAID|

Cibo's busy corner locale is strategic — it almost functions as a decorative downtown accessory. You can walk by, peer in and wonder what all those people are talking about over their sleek martini glasses. Soft light — and, depending on the time, jazz — spills seductively onto the sidewalk, giving the place the look of an exclusive nightclub, which, after hours, it is.

I am mainly impressed by the service here, particularly that of our personable and informed waiter, who good-naturedly answers our myriad questions and isn't shy with recommendations. He times our meal perfectly, gauging the pace by our cues (an art, I've come to believe) — and without hovering.

The Cibo salad is a study in powerful peppery flavors and energetic crunch. The hardier, spikier, wild variety of arugula mingles with radicchio, fennel and Parmiggiano reggiano, perfectly dressed in a light drizzle of shallot red wine vinaigrette ($9); potent flavors definitely not for the iceberg crowd.

After the scalone, I've had enough of picatta-style preparation for one night, but order the spiedini, anyway. It's also served with lemon-caper butter sauce, which I request on the side and employ instead as a nifty dip. Swordfish, pounded thin, is wrapped jelly-roll-style around a stuffing of currants, pinenuts, prosciutto, herbs and cheese. The roll is then breaded and browned, which melts the cheese and makes for a neat little bundle that delivers a pleasant combination of flavors in each pinwheel bite. This signature dish is a play on roulade, but to me, it brings cordon bleu to mind, with the mild fish acting as a vehicle for the more interesting stuffing. Sautéed chard looks dramatic on the plate, and adds a nice bitter-savory complement to this entrée ($19).

Had we arrived by 7 p.m., though, I might have ordered the exact meal from the prezzo fisso menu — plus, a glass of wine and dessert (lemon-infused cr me brulee, Kahlua cheesecake) for only $22. This amazing deal is absolutely worth venturing out a little earlier to be had.

Mike Hale and Melissa Snyder approach their reviews from a couple's perspective. All visits are made anonymously.



ELUSIVE TECHIES EMERGE FOR LAVISH BASH
PROFESSOR TORO Monterey Herald


Penetrating the veil of secrecy that cloaks the Technology Entertainment Design is like trying to remove the pocket protector from an IT geek. It just can't be done.

Stern-faced security forces have been chasing away would-be penetrators from the Monterey Convention Center since the annual TED conference started Wednesday. That's been the drill for as long as TED has called Monterey home.

This year's conference, which ends today with a "beach party" featuring They Might Be Giants, attracted an eclectic group.

The conference spilled onto Alvarado Street on Wednesday and Thursday, where fancy dinners were held at Cibo Restaurant.

Mario Catalano general manager at Cibo, reported that Thursday's dinner bordered on the rapturous. TED completely redecorated the restaurant, complete with shimmery gold linens and a light show. Among the guests seen were actresses Goldie Hawn and Meg Ryan, singers Paul Simon and Tracy Chapman, and the man who would be First Husband, former President Bill Clinton.

"We've done events with TED before, but this was a whole new level," said Catalano.




Hear what Gene Burns,
former host of "Dining Around" 
on KGO AM 810 in San Francisco,
said about Cibo...

What better way to spend a Friday evening than eating some authentic Italian food while listening to romantic classic sounds of live jazz music? Cibo Ristorante Italiano has long been known as the place for live music on the Monterey Peninsula.

Inspired by the culinary artistry of Rose Catalano, chef and co-owner with son Mario Catalano, Cibo keeps the old world traditions of Italian food and innovates the preparation and couplings to make the dishes their own specialties.

For starters, try the handmade Gnocchi Gran Festa (tender, juicy potato pasta dumplings with a unique madeira porcini cream, roasted red bell peppers, and fresh basil). The Griglia Mista is a power packed dish of some of the best meats around. It combines mixed grill of sausage, ribeye & marinated chicken breast, served with heavenly gratin potatoes and sautéed spinach. If you love lamb, the Agnello Di Bosco are juicy grilled lamb chops with aromatic roasted garlic mashed potatoes and crispy fresh grilled asparagus.

Cibo screams romance and fun, exhibited by the swing dancers who causally dance on the jazz stage. They are fun to watch, and inspire couples to do it themselves. The music menu has been carefully arranged to bring you an exciting, danceable mix of jazz, R&B, funk, reggae and Latin beats. With dinner, cocktails and live music, Cibo is the perfect place for an evening out.

With an apple martini or hot herbal tea, try the signature house made dessert, Lemon infused Créme Brûlée - this is Cibo's version of the classic with a hint of lemon for an extra kick.

Cibo also presents live music 6 nights a week. On Sundays sophisticated Cocktail Jazz with Dizzy Burnett accompanies dinner from 7 to 10:30 p.m. Enjoy a party atmosphere and a lively mix of jazz, soul, funk, reggae and Latin dance music Tuesday through Thursday from 9:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Raymond Napolitano, Coast Weekly

"…a happening spot for cocktails and good times."


Ute Lange, The Salinas Californian

"This Alvarado Street sweetheart just got a makeover. Have you tasted it yet?"


After extensive renovations of both interior and exterior, Cibo Ristorante Italiano now features a bold new look.


The effort shows. The new Cibo exudes an exciting and vibrant, yet intimate atmosphere.

The eclectic menu features a blend of old and New World Italian cuisine adapted from Catalano family recipes.

Popular favorites such as the homemade lasagna are still available. New items include an entrée named after (the general manager’s) daughter: Filetto Siena is a grilled 6-ounce filet mignon, served with portobello mushrooms, grilled polenta and porcini brandy demi-glace . . .and a favorite (owner/chef) Rosa enjoys every time she is in Italy: Bresaola, selected beef filet, salted and dry-cured, thinly sliced, served with arugola, parmiggiano and extra virgin olive oil.


Cindy Beam, "After Five" - Pubs & Suds

Some come to experience the food, some the music and dancing and others to get lost in the neoclassic atmosphere inspired by owners Mario and Rosa Catalano and created by designers Charles Gruwell and Cheryl Newman. Located in the heart of downtown Monterey, this work of art is a subtle mixture of sophistication and casual elegance.

The most immediate attraction of Cibo is the use of color, and expressive art in the form of glass, paintings, sculpture and light designs, but this hot spot doesn't rely on looks alone.

The full service bar has an extensive range of Italian and California wines, single malt scotches, ports, cognacs and grappas. Live danceable Jazz, Soul or Rhythm andBlues are featured here nightly except Monday. The crowd is generally made up of upscale professionals, tourists and celebrities in the thirty and over age group.

Cibo means food in Italian and the menu is a blend of old and new world Italian cuisine adapted from Catalano family recipes. The dinner portions are large, and you can choose from gourmet pizzas to multi-course dinners including chicken, fresh fish, veal, lamb and steaks.

Though this spot has won numerous awards including Best Italian Restaurant and Best Place for Live Jazz, you must see it to appreciate the qualities of Cibo. Located at 301 Alvarado (corner of Alvarado and Del Monte) Dinner Reservations are recommended. Telephone 649-8151.

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