By Ama Debrah and Amelia Rosen
|Burger with grilled onions|
Even though you may still be mourning the loss of beloved Campo and its generous beverage service, you won’t be disappointed by the molto buona food of its replacement Il Cibreo. Here are two different takes on this nouvo ristorante.
I arrived at the entrance to Il Cibreo assuming that it would serve the stereotypical college grub that lines the blocks surrounding campus, providing reasonable prices and an unreasonable lack of flavor.
Oh, was I wrong.
The second I approached the restaurant, I was kindly and promptly seated by the host. The service only continued to impress me from there. The waiter was helpful and efficient. Also, equally important, the food was served quickly. You could easily grab a meal here on your hour-long lunch break and still have a few spare minutes to enjoy the terrific people-watching. Another aspect of the restaurant that impressed me was the prices. The average lunch entrée cost was around $12. I’ll admit, being a college student who practically lives on free food at school events, this price seemed a bit steep, but no need to fret. A 3-course lunch, which is what I chose to have, is offered for an affordable $11; make note, though, that this same special is not available at dinner. For the starter, I ordered a roasted beet and goat cheese salad, which, unfortunately, included a $3 surcharge. What I enjoyed most about the salad was that it wasn’t the ordinary, mundane “beets and goat cheese combo.” Instead of crumbled goat cheese, the salad was served with velvety goat cheese dressing that was blanketed over the crisp greens and specked with tarragon, almonds, and golden raisins. It was simply delicious.
For the main course, I chose the three-cheese omelette. Sadly, this dish didn’t live up to the taste standard of the salad. Although the mixture of cheese was much better than that which you would be served at Hewitt, the eggs were overcooked and, overall, bland. My friend who ate lunch with me on this afternoon ordered a burger dressed with grilled onions and accompanied by nicely seasoned fries. I would certainly recommend this over the omelette.
Thankfully, my meal was concluded on a high-note: a square of homemade tiramisu. I scarfed the dessert down, since it was too delectable to savor. This tiramisu was how tiramisu should taste: the cake, soft and buttery, the espresso, present and strong, and, lastly, the cream, sweet and mild.
Due to the increasingly cold fall weather, my friends and I chose to dine indoors. After being given the menu by our waiter, I was surprised at the small amount of options for dinner. And why were they still serving breakfast sandwiches? However, as I tried to order one of the few non-breakfast items off the menu, the waiter pointed out that I had mistakenly been given the brunch menu and handed me the appropriate menu. The dinner menu had many more choices, including mostly Italian staples like panini, pizza, pasta, and insalata. After repeatedly asking the waiter how to pronounce the words, (wait, it’s BRUS-KE-TA, not BRU-SHE-TA?), I chose the pesto gnocchi. Although the prices for dinner were obviously not as cheap as for lunch, they were still manageable, ranging from 10-17 dollars.
|Three-cheese omelette (top), and
beets and goat-cheese salad (bottom)
Before our appetizer of calamari fritto, (which was some of the best calamari I’ve had), the waiter brought by focaccia and olive oil, which would have been much better if the focaccia had been warmed up. Although I was slightly hesitant about the quality of our food after the mix-up with the menus and cold bread, by the time our main courses came out, all my fears were dissuaded. Despite my inability to pronounce Italian words, I thoroughly enjoyed my meal, and the portions were sized so that that you were left satiated, but not stuffed to oblivion. While I try to not be pretentious, my only complaint was the service. Maybe the staff of Il Cibreo was just having a bad day, but in addition to being given the wrong menu, we had to wait twenty-five minutes to get our check after finishing our meal. Although Il Cibreo does have happy hour times from 3-7 P.M. and from 11-2 A.M., there’s no prevalent college bar scene as previously seen at Campo.
So our final verdict? In short, with the atmosphere of your favorite neighborhood café, Il Cibreo is a perfect pick for a meal packed with delicious, high-quality food and superb people-watching. Because the dinner, with its sluggish service, was a bit of a disappointment, stick to lunch for a quick and tasty Italian meal that far surpasses that of its predecessor, Campo.
Ama and Amelia are a sophomore and a first-year, respectively. Both love to write about food for The Nine Ways of Knowing, and Ama is the blog’s Food Editor.
Photos courtesy of Amelia Rosen.