Cibo Trattoria review: an old-meets-new Italian eatery

Cibo Trattoria’s 40-seat dining room is a mix of old and new

A fresh approach to Italian cuisine in a vintage setting with modern décor

Six years after nabbing Canada’s Best New Restaurant award from EnRoute magazine, Cibo Trattoria, in Vancouver’s historic Moda Hotel on Seymour at Smithe, remains true to its rustic, Italian-inspired roots.

Executive chef Faizal Kassam takes the classic Italian farm-fresh approach, preparing the ingredients he sources from local fishmongers and farms (among them, company-owned Campagna Farm, a free-range cattle ranch in Abbotsford) with adept simplicity.

General manager and veteran sommelier Robert Stelmachuk’s wine list is more than a dozen pages, and he won’t steer you wrong with his discerning selection of B.C., Italian and other international labels—he is working toward becoming just the fourth Canadian to receive master sommelier designation.

The 40-seat dining room pairs classic and contemporary, with 1908 heritage terracotta-tiled floors and exposed Douglas fir beams alongside a marble fireplace, whitewashed walls and a representational-abstract portrait by local artist Bruce Pashak.  

BEST TABLE: Be the centre of attention seated in black Louis chairs around Cibo’s six-person circular marble table, or cozy up to the fireplace at a two-seater with chairs covered in Ottoman Stripe by U.K. designer Paul Smith.

DRINK UP: Indulge in a little three-ounce pour (or standard five-ounce if you’re feeling dangerous) from Cibo’s assortment of rare wines like an Aldiano Trebbiano d’Abruzzo or Pico Maccorio Lavignone Barbera d’Asti.

MUST-TRY ORDER: Kassam’s pastas are made fresh from scratch and served famiglia-style, so everyone can dig into the tagliatelle with olive and sausage ragu and still leave room for salad–or dessert.

INSIDER TIP: After late lunch, at Moda’s adjacent UVA Wine and Cocktail Bar, happy hour starts at 2 p.m. with $10 craft cocktails curated by award-winning bar manager Lauren Mote.