I’m writing tonight’s post with a full (and very happy) belly; my parents and I just got back from celebrating my dad’s birthday at Via Cibo in North York, Toronto.
We’ve passed by this casual Italian restaurant many times. We live less than five minutes away, and for some reason we decided tonight was the night to try it. Clearly, we made the right decision! Although the service wasn’t quite up to par (it almost felt like we were in a cafeteria – more on that later), the food was excellent and the location can’t be beat for those of us in North York.
Google informed us that Via Cibo serves Italian street food, so their menu was much fancier than we expected. Ossobuco ragu, gnocchi, stracciatella soup, rosé pasta, Tuscan kale salad, pollo parmigiana…the list goes on! (By the way, if you don’t recognize any of the items on that list, don’t worry. I don’t, either. 🙂 )
The service…it was a little weird. You order and pay at the take-out counter before you grab a table, and the servers bring you the food a few minutes later. We were there at 8:30 PM and there were three other small tables taken, but the servers never came by any of the tables to ask how the food was. We ended up spending at least five minutes trying to wave one of them over whenever we needed something – they made rare appearances after serving us the food, which gave the restaurant a cafeteria-like vibe. Thankfully, there was cool artwork and decor to keep us entertained while we waited:
Now, onto the important part: the food! We decided to order a few plates and share, starting with the arugula salad. It tasted fresh and had a light sprinkling of grana padano cheese and Italian vinaigrette. I was in the mood for pasta, plus I worked out today, so I unashamedly ordered pesto penne with an addition of shrimp. My dad tried the ossobuco ragu and my mum was interested in the pollo (chicken) al pesto pizza. Feast your eyes:
What a spread! The penne was perfection with its delicious pesto (it had just the right amount of garlic and basil) and healthy helping of tender shrimp. The melt-in-your-mouth ossobuco ragu was fantastic as well; we savoured the freshly-made linguine topped with shredded & braised veal ragu. The chicken pizza appeared very slightly undercooked, but when we managed to call the waitress over she was happy to get the chefs to bake it for a few more minutes. We dug in when she brought it back, and the heavenly (and slightly sweet!) crust and fresh, tasty toppings hit the spot. No dessert for us as we had a key lime pie for dad at home, though we were satisfied enough to not crave dessert anyway. (“Full” isn’t the right word here – “satisfied” is better because the food wasn’t too heavy, despite being mostly carbs.) In fact, we brought quite a bit of our meal home: