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Cibo South Beach

By Sherri Balefsky | Miami Editor

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

This was the theme of our evening at Cibo Wine Bar South Beach {200 South Pointe Drive, Miami Beach; 305.987.6060}, the newest addition to the South of Fifth dining scene, which made its official debut in December last year. It was only a matter of time before the Cibo concept, which was an instant success in Coral Gables when it debuted just over three years ago, made its way to the beach—quite literally, as its location on South Pointe Drive means it’s mere steps from the sand.

Bad decisions aren’t possible here; that wasn’t the problem. But selecting from the sheer volume of great choices proved to be much harder than you’d think!

Cibo Miami Beach

Decision No. 1: Upon arrival, we were greeted by a hostess who asked where we’d like to be seated. Inside the aroma-filled dining room facing the expansive wine cellar and open kitchen? Within the first-floor lounge area, which features an industrial-chic wraparound bar and the whimsical designs of pop artist Mr. Brainwash, whose signature slogan, “Life is Beautiful,” adorns the wall in bold letters? Or, did we want to dine on the sizable rooftop patio (one of the largest in South Beach), a quieter oasis romantically lit by flaming heat lamps and table lanterns?

Cibo Miami Beach

We opted for the rooftop, to which we were instructed to take the elevator up to the third floor where another hostess greeted us, escorting us to a cozy wooden table with plush white couches.

Cibo Miami Beach patio

Decision No. 2: We were quickly greeted by our server, who prompted our next big decision: wine. There is a tempting cocktail menu and plenty of fine beers on offer, but it’s called Cibo Wine Bar for a reason. The restaurant is engulfed by wine bottles, the focal point of which is the two-story cellar at the center of the first floor. If your desired bottle is up top, a harnessed “wine angel” ascends to retrieve it. We learned that the restaurant in total has some 2,500 bottles on offer.

Cibo Miami Beach wine

After settling on a bottle of Italian white, it was time to for the next—and perhaps the most monumental—decision of the evening: what to order.

Decision No. 3: This expansive menu is Italian cuisine at its finest, featuring fresh ingredients that have either been flown in from Italy or are made in-house. Hats off to Chef Massimo Giannattasio, who has created a menu of mouthwatering pizzas, pastas, and main courses. Again, there were no bad decisions here. Our words of advice: be sure you come hungry!

You’ll be tempted to fill up on the freshly baked loaf of rosemary-sprinkled bread that’s presented to the table with a side of the restaurant’s signature special chili-pepper olive oil blend (warning: spicy!), leaving us with the difficult Decision No. 4: “More bread for the table?”

Decision No. 5: For appetizers, we settled on the Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato and the Black Tiger Shrimp served with a spicy wine-garlic tomato sauce. Both looked so incredible, we had nearly devoured them by the time we realized we’d forgotten to take our obligatory hashtagged photos of the dishes.

Cibo Fusilli

Decision No. 6: For entrées, we selected the Chicken Parmesan and the Fusilli with chicken and mushrooms in a light cream sauce. Both were served in beautiful heaping portions that made our eyes wide with awe and amazement. A happy food coma soon followed—that magical moment just past the point when your stomach tells you it’s full and your brain allows you to take that one last bite.


Then, the final debacle: Decision No. 7–dessert. How could we resist? We opted for the Cannoli, which seemed like an appropriate Italian choice. Fair warning: the plate comes with four! We again dug in immediately before realizing that a proper photo had yet to be taken. Before we left, we surveyed the bustling bar area, which was significantly more crowded than before. It was a Thursday, which meant that it was Ten After Ten Thursdays: two drinks for just $10 after 10pm.

As we made our way out in a lethargic, sleepy daze—an astoundingly blissful experience that one could only hope to have after relishing in a large meal and finishing off a bottle of wine—it occurred to us that life, at least at that very moment, certainly was beautiful.