Axis Building, 91 St Georges Bay Rd, Parnell. Ph 303-9660, cibo.co.nz.
Lunch Monday-Friday, dinner Monday-Saturday. $$$
At Cibo, you glance around and every face reveals blatant enjoyment. Cibo’s a place for celebration, for family get-togethers, for un-stuffy business lunches, for ordering that special bottle of wine (who can resist the glitzy allure of the Francis Ford Coppola Cabernet Diamond Collection Sauvignon?). The atmosphere inside the large dining room is both cosy and sophisticated, while the courtyard, complete with fish pond, is a delight. Chef Kate Fay’s menu is laced with deliciously clever Asian influences, resulting in some wonderfully flavoured dishes such as the roasted hapuku, slipper lobster, home-made XO sauce, snake beans and coconut congee. The way service is done at Cibo is an example to the rest of the pack, with intelligent, smartly attired staff right there when you need them, but never hovering awkwardly when you don’t. One stroke of genius: the large offering of “treats” as a smaller alternative to a dessert.
A favourite dish: After-dinner mint: a warm fry-pan brownie with Vietnamese mint ice-cream.