Happy Hour

Cibo in Phoenix: Happy Hour Report Card

The Spot: Cibo Urban Wine Bar & Pizzeria 603 N. 5th Ave., Phoenix 602-441-2697 www.cibophoenix.com

See Also: - Last but Not Least on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: DeFalco's Italian Eatery in Scottsdale and The Duce in Downtown Phoenix - Co-Founder of Arizona Cocktail Week to Open New Bar at Downtown's Luhrs Building This Fall - Caprese Clash: Pane Bianco vs. Cibo

The Hours: Happy Hour is offered daily from 3 until 6 p.m.

The Interior: Time after time, Cibo has had us coming back for pizza when we're in downtown Phoenix, but when we saw the new happy hour menu Cibo announced last month, we decided to return to the little historic home off of Fifth Avenue and Filmore and try something new. The cozy, intimate atmosphere extends from inside out onto the patio, which somehow looks inviting even in the summer months.

The Food: Six different menu items, all priced at $6 or under, total up to $26 if you order all of them, so bring a couple friends and a big appetite and just go for it. The straccetti ($4), puffy and crispy dough topped with parm, tomato sauce and basil, are a crowd-pleasing way to start your happy hour off right. The crispy polenta fries ($4) are a bit bland and definitely need to be dipped in the accompanying red pepper aoli.

While we loved the flavor of the polpette dish ($5) with meatballs, crusty bread, tomato sauce, basil and parmesan, the smushy, one-dimensional consistency of the meatballs turned us off a bit. We think the meatballs would have sung with a quick seer in a pan, giving them a nice crispy outside. Cibo's best happy hour dish has to be the gnocchetti sorrentina ($6). The creamy, cheesey, tangy tomato and mozzarella sauce covering the pillowy gnocchi is Italian comfort food at its finest.

Most impressively, Cibo even offers a dessert option (a rarity for most happy hours) of palline 2.0 ($3), which are essentially fried dough balls on a stick, covered with sugar and served with a Nutella dipping sauce.

The Drink: With $2.50 Peroni bottles and $4 glasses of house red or white wine, the drink selection is a lot more limited than the food menu. Peroni is Peroni and the wines are pretty standard. We'd like to see some more options, be it more wines to choose from or different local or craft beers.

The Conclusion: While the drink selection for Cibo's happy hour leaves much to be desired, the food menu is full of super-cheap and delicious options for authentic Italian food lovers. Admittedly, there were some execution issues with our dishes, but overall, they were tasty and worth another taste in the future.

Grade: B+

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Heather Hoch is a music, food, and arts writer based in Tucson. She enjoys soup, scotch, Electric Light Orchestra, and walking her dog, Frodo.
Contact: Heather Hoch