Since we have moved thousands of miles away from our family and friends there has been a sharp reduction in invitations for dinner. Fortunately for us we discovered a Facebook promotion that was offering a free dinner for two at a Via Cibo in advance of the grand opening of their new Alberta location.
A quick check online revealed that Via Cibo proudly boasts traditional Italian recipes using authentic ingredients and a menu “inspired by real food the way our nonna always made it”. The Exploring Alberta team as you may know is made up of an Italian Canadian with actual “nonna experience” and a British Canadian with an Italian stomach making us pretty much experts in Italian food. We couldn’t wait to critically evaluate their claims and enjoy a free meal at the same time.
Arriving at the restaurant we were warmly greeted by the store manager who informed us that the objectives of the promotion was to introduce the people of Calgary to their new location and at the same time provide a training opportunity for all staff before the restaurant formally opened. We were handed a set menu that varied with each pair of guest ensuring that the chefs were given an opportunity to prepare all the items on the menu. After reviewing the options available to us we selected the polpette (hand made meatballs) topped with a pomodoro sauce to start, followed by gnocchi (potato based pasta) prepared in a Gorgonzola cream sauce with slow roasted tomatoes, pancetta, green onions and topped with shaved Grana Padano cheese.
We waited a short time in the comfort of the dining area while enjoying traditional Italian sodas before our meal was delivered to our table by our very pleasant waitress. The dishes were piping hot and beautifully presented. Now to the tasting … and this is where we have to be a bit careful in our review so as not to offend our family!
The gnocchi was fantastic and nearly as good as the Bruni family recipe which we stress (with only slight bias) is no small feat. Creamy, flavourful and truly elevated by the quality of the gnocchi. The meatballs were in a word … incredible. So much so that we could have easily imagined ourselves sitting in the kitchen at the D’Amelio household enjoying mom’s meatballs prepared with all the love and tradition you can put into a dish.
We recommend Via Cibo to anyone wanting to enjoy traditional Italian dishes at a very reasonable price. In fact we would even recommend this restaurant to Italians wanting a taste of the homeland. Just don’t tell your Nonnas you are cheating on them!