CiboDivino is a flexible business, bending with the varied needs of its patrons. It is a restaurant for those who crave a Neapolitan-style pizza or maybe just a night free from dishes. It is a budget-friendly wine bar with an open patio playing host to those looking to imbibe a glass or two. It is a small specialty grocery store, a breakfast spot and a grab-and-go counter, among other things.
When CiboDivino opened in the spring of 2015, it was the latest endeavor for owners Christina and Daniele Puleo (of Daniele Osteria and Brix Pizza and Wine Bar). The Puleos found the perfect home for their jack-of-all-trades marketplace in the mixed-use, master-planned, uber-hipster West Dallas/Oak Cliff development that is Sylvan Thirty. Two years later, CiboDivino boldly went where many have before but where few can emerge victorious: It went to the land of brunch.
Yes, you know this land. It is both magical and haunting; a place where every television channel plays The Brady Brunch, where every stream flows with hollandaise and where most conversations end in Prosecco-fueled tears. And while there is no hollandaise to be found at CiboDivino, there are Prosecco cocktails available by the glass ($5) and by the carafe ($22). Try the hibiscus cocktail, which looks like a sunset in a glass and tastes like one, too, with bright florals and lots of bubbles.
To order brunch, walk up to the main counter; you’ll find hand-held menus and a helpful staff member waiting to take your order. Most entrees are between $10 and $12, with prices topping out at $15 for a smoked salmon pizza and $17 for steak and eggs. The menu might be described as casually Italian, making use of Italy’s language and some of its favorite ingredients while also paying homage to American palates with dishes like stuffed pancakes ($10) and brisket sandwiches ($12).
For those doubting the efficacy of CiboDivino’s brisket sandwich (formally known as ciabatta uova e manzo), rest assured that this Italian-style marketplace can, in fact, produce smoked brisket that can satiate even the most Texan of taste buds. Tender, beautifully smoky brisket was paired with a hearty ciabatta roll — one that provided just enough crunch while also being malleable. A few pickles provided little spikes of acidity and freshness. This sandwich’s success was ultimately made by its simplicity, with good meat and bread prepared and delivered with little bravado.
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The star of the meal, though, had to be the polenta Valsugana. At just $10, this plate is likely the best brunch deal in town. Here a square of griddled polenta is topped with melty Provolone, Bolognese sauce and a fried egg. The Bolognese is a delight on its own, with little bites of green peas and carrot breathing lightness into this quintessentially comforting, cool-weather sauce. Swiped up with a bite of nutty polenta and runny yolk, the Bolognese achieved new, brunch-kissed heights. The accompanying side of fresh fruit and potatoes fried generously in fat were thoughtful additions to a dish that needed none.
It's true that CiboDivino wears many hats: restaurant, market, wine bar. And now it is all of these things and an excellent place to brunch, too. And its sunny, open-air environ make this new brunch all the more notable.
1868 Sylvan Ave., D100. Sunday brunch is served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.