While most people tend to think of New York when the subject of good Italian food is broached, New Orleans has a long and rich history of Italian immigration and cuisine. It is, after all, the birthplace of the muffaletta, the home of the famous gelateria Angelo Brocato, and the host of a vivid St. Joseph’s day parade. Even my freshman year TIDES class was entirely devoted to New Orleans’ Italian culture. All of this is to say that, when I discover a new Italian restaurant in the city, I trust that it will probably live up to my expectations. That is why, when I was strolling down S. Carrollton a few months ago and saw this tiny deli tucked away, I knew I had to give it a try.
“Cibo” (chee-bo for the uninitiated) is the Italian word for food, and among their food offerings is a variety of bagels, sandwiches, hot plates, salads, and desserts. According to the restaurant, they bake many of their own bagels fresh as well as import some frozen from New York. Their lox bagel sandwich nicely showcased the thickness of the bread and featured generous schmears of cream cheese.
I decided to have the Milano for lunch when I visited, which is an oven-roasted turkey sandwich whose star toppings include roasted red peppers and cream cheese. I have always found cream cheese to be under-utilized in non-bagel sandwiches, and needless to say it worked perfectly with the sweet and tangy peppers and the melt-in-your-mouth deli meat. All lunch sandwiches come with a side of pasta salad, which was a delightful yet simple snack that I am definitely going to try to imitate at home.
Other notable sandwiches include the classic Italian Combo, which is stacked with cold cuts and served on toasted bread from New York City. This was the largest of the sandwiches that I saw, thus making it my recommendation if you’re looking for the most bang for your buck.
For those craving Caprese, there is a vegetarian sandwich, a chicken sandwich, and a refreshing salad option to choose from. A caprese salad can only be as good as its ingredients, and the tomatoes and mozzarella were notably fresh and uniquely drizzled in truffle oil rather than the average balsamic glaze I tend to see.
Cibo is a very small business, so much so that they took their own Spring Break for a few days right before I gave them a visit. For any Northeastern Tulanians that miss their hometown’s local Italian cuisine, I think this tucked away spot is a good place to start.
All photos by Lauren Capozzi