When it comes to wining and dining, sometimes you just can’t go wrong with a classic—and Cibo is that always-amazing classic. Recently celebrating its 23rd birthday, Cibo has cemented itself as one of Auckland’s top restaurants.
The Parnell institution is tucked away in an old chocolate factory…so you know things are gonna be tasty. Outside, there’s a spacious courtyard that forms an inner-city oasis—complete with an all-important water feature. And, take it from us, the al fresco setting is perfect for boozy, long lunches.
Inside, the restaurant oozes subtle glamour. There are chandelier-lit booths, white table clothes and pops of greenery in the form of palms. The walls are covered in wallpaper adorned with pink cherry blossoms (cute!) and a feature wall showcases black hand-held mirrors. And while things are very ooh la la, you won’t feel out of your depth—Cibo is far from pretentious.
Quite possibly the friendliest restaurant in Auckland, you’ll be greeted by the charming maître d’s Jeremy Turner and Brad Sullivan. They’ll welcome you like an old friend and, by the end of the meal, you’ll be genuine buddies.
As for the food, you’re spoilt with several equally delicious dining options. The extensive a la carte menu offers something for everyone…and every taste bud. Alternatively, go all out with the six-course degustation menu—double points if you opt for the matching wines. If you’re after a quick (but oh-so enjoyable) lunch, you can’t go wrong with the two-course express menu—choose between entree and a main or main and a dessert. If you’ve worked up an appetite, you can opt for three courses—go on, you deserve it.
Whatever you go for, the menus all showcase seasonal produce crafted into mouth-watering dishes. Presented like works of art, Cibo experiments with a range of textures and bold flavours.
Start with duck liver parfait, citrus-cured Ora King salmon or beef tartare. Move on to mains and the deliciousness continues. Here you’ll find roasted hāpuka, soy-glazed duck, pastrami-rubbed lamb and venison accompanied by flavours of chocolate and blueberry—oh my! Rest assured, there’s a dedicated vegetarian selection with an unmissable beetroot and haloumi number.
No visit to Cibo is complete without dessert—seriously, it’s an unwritten rule. Every creation is as delicious as the next with the likes of a gingerbread pudding, roasted pineapple lemon tart and a Valrhona chocolate toastie—yes, a chocolate toastie.
The restaurant is famous across town for their insane pavlova. You’ll find not one but two pavs with a choice of tiramisu or salted caramel (we can’t go past the latter). Proving they’re the best in the dessert bizz, Cibo finishes things off with a frypan brownie that—quite simply—deserves its own article.
As for the drinks, the extensive wine menu steals the show. You’ll find everything under the sun from sauv and Pinot Gris to merlot and shiraz. The Champagne offerings are sure to impress. Our pick? Taittinger’s bright pink rosé.
Cibo, you’ve had our heart from day one. It’s clear to see why you are—and forever will be—one of Auckland’s fave restaurants.
P.S. During the month of August, mention The Urban List and Cibo will hook you up with a peach Bellini cocktail on arrival. Give the team a heads-up when you book—or write “Urban List” in the comments section of their online booking section—to get amongst.
Image credit: Lydia Arnold