Art Burn: More than Tummies Growling at Cibo

Categories: Art Burn

Some of the worst restaurant art is found (unsurprisingly) in the restrooms. I can understand the urge to tuck away a bland floral print purchased on clearance at Ross or an ugly oil painting done by the owner's nephew and thus forced to be on display somewhere. But when a hip, "urban chic meets vintage cool" place like Cibo Urban Wine Cafe & Pizzeria decides to put this in the ladies room, I can't help but scowl.

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Acrylic Tiger by Pierre Hambur
While pondering mean-spirited and highly verbose ways to eviscerate the artist (and whomever decided to put this gem on display), my husband glanced at the image on my camera and said, "Oh, God! That looks like the picture I drew for my high school yearbook cover. I'm still embarrassed about it!" I couldn't have put it better. Hambur may be fabulous at capturing landscapes or abstract designs, but this acrylic tiger really does look like an illustration from a teenage lit journal.

Does Cibo's art selection continue down the drain? More after the jump. 

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On the largest wall of one room, a dark cityscape is alive with flickers of white and yellow light, reflected in a deep pool of water below. The adjacent Martingilio painting of a jazz musician in hues of purple and violet, together with the room's exposed brick walls, make it feel like you're in a cozy Chicago club. Both pieces complement the space nicely.

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This work, also by Martingilio, has interesting flow and movement (really, how do these contortionists do that??), but the carnivalesque look is probably better suited for Cirque du Soleil than a historic converted bungalow.

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It's bad enough when the creepy old dude at the end of the bar won't stop staring at you. The last thing you need when perched at Cibo's cute brick bar sipping a martini is a creepy old dude and his half-naked grandson permanently checking you out. Ugh. Luckily, my mind was totally on the food. 

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Award-winning pies like those of Chris Bianco and Grimaldi's aside, Cibo offers some of the best 'za I've had in Phoenix. And as a former New Yorker, I think I've got pretty high standards where this particular foodstuff is concerned.

I've sampled a few of their pies, including a newer option with walnuts and arugula, but this time I opted for the classic Salsiccio with red sauce and Italian sausage. De-lish, as always, with plenty of spicy-sweet meat crumbles and a thin, crispy crust that still folds easily should you not join the knife-and-fork crowd. A spinach salad with sliced strawberries, caramelized walnuts and goat cheese was a light and refreshing starter, perfect for a couple to share. 

Cibo is my perfect -- well, almost perfect -- downtown dining match. Just ditch the tiger (or hey, move it over to the men's room) and offer lunch versions of your fabulous pizza, and I'd be yours forever.   

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