Strip Cibreo of the pomp and circumstance and you get “Cibrino”, the casual offshoot; and one of the best deals in town. The food is stellar, with at least half of the dishes coming from the menu of the fine dining restaurant next door, but for less than half of the price. The only difference is it doesn’t come with all the extras. No antipasti spread to start with, no amuse bouche, no sweet almond skordalia with the bread, no free bonus dessert; and most obviously no stellar service. But it does come with it’s own side dish!
Service is unfortunately the downfall of the trattoria. They don’t accept reservations so there is often a line. Staff are focused on turning tables quickly, soups arrive almost immediately after they are ordered regardless if wine has been ordered or if it has arrived.
The dining room can be crowded and noisy, but the food makes it worth it. Whether you have a dish off the Cibreo menu, or one of the rustic Tuscan classics, the quality is always high. The classic chicken liver crostini converts even avowed liver dissenters, deftly balancing the funky liver flavors with just a hint of sweetness and a rich creamy smooth texture.
Cibrino’s menu include less refined dishes like Pappa al Pomodoro (tomato and bread soup) and Stuffed Chicken Neck, a unique galantine with mild pork stuffing encased in the chicken neck and then sliced thin and served cold. Much better is the Tuscan classic Seppie in Inzimino, thick slices of tender braised squid served in a rich spinach stew, the spinach melting to form a dark green stew infused with both flavors of the earth and sea.
The wine list is a bare minimum, but the house red is a very pleasant easy drinking Chianti with nice bright flavors. Or if you want something more particular don’t hesitate to ask to order off the Cibreo wine list, they are happy to oblige, but make sure to make the request early, or else it might not arrive until you’ve finished your meal.
Signature Dish: Passato di Pepperoni Gialli (Yellow Pepper Soup)
Get It!: Crostini di Fegato (Chicken Liver Crostini), Seppie in Inzimino (Braised Squid with Spinach) or Guancia di Manzo in Francesina (Stewed Beef Cheek)
Via de Macci 122r, Florence. www.cibreo.com. Closed Monday. No reservations.