Cibo on the Golden Mile, a trendy dining spot serving traditional and creative Italian dishes alike, has fast earned itself a reputation for offering a guaranteed knockout experience.

Its trendy interiors (think designer lighting features, solid wood tables, colourful fabrics) and excellent service are married to an exquisite new menu.

Market Fresh, Quality Ingredients Steal the Show
The secret that keeps diners coming back for more is the ingredients. Authentic Italian products such as Bufalo mozzarella, imported cheeses, specialty flours and Italian beer yeast used for stone-baked pizzas transport us to the flavours and aromas of a quaint Italian village, while we contemplate interiors that have the pizzaz of a restaurant in Manhattan’s Restaurant Row.

One of the most impressive dishes my dining companions and I enjoyed on our recent visit was the Cibo classic: tagliolini al Tartufo negro. Manager Bianca, who was attending to us on the day, took a huge parmesan wheel, shaving generous portions and placing the creamy pasta into the wheel and turning it until all the cheese and delicious aromas were fully absorbed.

The pasta was served with a topping of truffle in oil and, to finish, she took a fresh truffle and grated it over the plate by the side of our table: a spectacle to behold.

Starting the Feast
Cibo has a select but varied selection of starters in their brand new menu. There were four of us on the day, and we chose ‘a bit of everything’ to share before our mains. The salmon tartare was wonderfully citric, doused as it was with soy and lime to tantalise the taste buds.

We enjoyed it with wine; half the table enjoyed a Pinot Blush, while the other opted for a Marqués de Riscal Verdejo Rueda – both fruity and ideal companions to fish and seafood delights.

The meatballs and mozarella is a must-order starter at Cibo: comprising a generous ‘mini’ pizza ball surrounded by tender little meatballs, smothered in freshly made tomato sauce and cheese, it truly soothed the soul on a chilly winter’s day. We enjoyed it with a salad – in this case the parma ham and feta salad, jazzed up with fresh figs and candied walnuts – a beautiful blend of salty and sweet.

A perfect instance of comfort food at its finest was the slow roast tomato and basil soup, bearing the characteristic texture and flavour which results from roasting tomatoes with love and patience.

Star of the Show
As mentioned above, the tagliatelle dish had us ooing and aahing, both for its flavour and presentation; at Cibo, expect to experience this level of pampering and old world style luxury, delivered by some of the friendliest staff you will encounter on the Coast.

A lovely choice for Paleo/low carb fans was the monkfish tail, nice and juicy, wrapped in pancetta bacon and served with crisp Mediterranean vegetables and a delightful, slightly sweet basil pesto cream.

As Cibo is an Italian restaurant, we logically chose to celebrate its exquisite pizza and pasta. We ordered a pizza from the gluten-free menu (which is impressively ample). Stone oven-cooked and wonderfully fine and crisp, this pizza is heavenly regardless of whether or not gluten is an issue in your diet.

Meanwhile, the linguine frutti di mare bore a generous portion of King prawnes, clams, squid, and mussels, as well as pan roasted Italian cherry tomatoes.

A Sweet End to the Meal

For dessert, what could be more ideal than tiramisu? The wonderful flavour of espresso coffee went down beautifully with our café con leche, and yes, we also gave in to the sinful Dolce/Banana, comprising a rich chocolate brownie, salted caramel, caramelised banana and ice-cream.

The warmth of the interiors and Bianca’s exquisite service made this a long lunch, one of those where wonderful conversation flows naturally, and is complemented beautifully by a glass of wine or two.

Cibo, which has free parking and is so central in its location, certainly merits its reputation for being a place to meet and greet, see and be seen. Sophistication and a sense of being at home, married to top quality produce and friendly service, are a clear recipe for success.

Words Marisa Cutillas / Photography Kevin Horn

Blvd. Principe Alfonso Von Hohenlohe 11, Marbella. Tel: 952 900 380.