By: The Food Hunter
Tucked away, in a shopping plaza in North Scottsdale, is a casual Italian eatery offering a menu of well-known Italian dishes. Cibo e Vino, which means food and wine in Italian, keeps it simple with made from scratch meals that consistently taste great and remind you of your grandmother's home cooking. Think classics like chicken parmigiana, spaghetti with marinara and veal scaloppini; and for the more non-traditional eaters there are things like lobster mac & cheese and duck ravioli.
The restaurant is small but not cramped and makes good use of its space with an indoor/outdoor patio option that is quite romantic. Plans are currently in the works for expansion and the new restaurant, which will be ready in August, will seat approximately 250 people.
Cibo e Vino is the brainchild of Chef John Collura, a Brooklyn native whose passion for Italian cuisine stems from helping his grandmother cook for a family of 40. From a very young age he worked alongside Nana Coni turning out meals that he now serves to customers at Cibo e Vino.
I recently had the opportunity to shadow Chef Collura on one of his daily shopping treks throughout the valley and it was quite the experience. Collura explained that he shops every day, in order to guarantee his patrons the freshest possible dishes. We spent the good part of our morning at Restaurant Depot, where Collura likes to purchase most of his ingredients, since they can be handpicked. This makes sense to me since the quality of the products account for a large percentage of how the finished dish will taste.
We walked every aisle of the store chatting about food products. This may sound boring to some people, but the way I see it, when you go shopping with a chef mundane ingredients suddenly become something spectacular.
The highlight of our shopping adventure was the fresh seafood area which is stocked with fish flown in on a regular basis. Chef Collura put a lot of attention into choosing just the right salmon, mussels and clams for our dinner later that night. Watching him handle the fish it is obvious this is something he does all the time and enjoys.
The only thing better than shopping for food is eating it. So when Chef Collura invited us to his restaurant and said he was going to send his favorites out to our table I knew I was in for a treat.
We started with a refreshing bruschetta; fresh basil, tomatoes and onions marinated in a balsamic vinaigrette and served with toasted bread rounds. It was delicious.
Next up was the Australian mussels, which were the largest I had ever seen, served with claims in a rich bouillabaisse broth. I'm a sucker for a good seafood broth and this one was fabulous. Though I wanted to swab it all up with the homemade garlic bread I decided it was best to pace myself. And I'm glad I did.
Oozing with cheese the pepperoni and spinach rolls arrived next. Dipped in homemade marinara these little bites of gooeyness were pure comfort food for me.
Nice size pieces of lobster were mixed into homemade Mac & Cheese and delivered to our table piping hot.
Next, Chef Collura sent out two different ravioli plates. The first was homemade lobster filled ravioli topped in a white wine rosa sauce with pieces prosciutto and roasted red peppers.
The second plate was homemade duck ravioli topped with sauteed Portobello mushrooms, prosciutto & bell peppers in a Marsala reduction. Though both were delicious my favorite of the two was the duck.
Next out was the braised short ribs. Melt in your mouth meat served with four cheese risotto and sauteed garlic spinach...what's not to love.
At this point I was pretty much full but I was not going to pass up cannoli. Cannoli’s are tube-shaped fried dough pastries filled with sweetened ricotta cheese, often mixed with chocolate chips. Chef Collura does a mini version that tastes just like the ones I used to get back home.
A cozy and warm atmosphere, delicious food and a friendly staff make Cibo e Vino an ideal choice for authentic Italian comfort food in the valley. Stop in and let Chef John Collura cook for you some of his family recipes; you will be glad you did.
Cibo e Vino
34522 N. Scottsdale Rd
Scottsdale Arizona, 85266
This meal was provided complimentary. However, all opinions and comments are my own.