A recent foray to Hyde Park found us dining at Alfio’s Buon Cibo, a relatively new joint in the square that mixes Argentine cuisine with Italian fare.
And yes, that’s a delicious mix.
Alfio’s occupies a prime yet difficult spot in HP. Though the locale has hosted numerous restaurants, few (if any, really) have found much stable success. As we walked in, we saw no trace of the former Poco a Poco. Instead, mood lighting, exposed brick, and a cozy atmosphere seduced us inside.
The wine list consists mostly of varietals from Argentina and Italy (fitting); the cocktail list includes the usual suspects. We ordered a round of red wine -- I stuck with a delicious Cab while my date chose a darker Merlot.
Right away the Argentine flare reveals itself with empanadas featured on the top of the menu. The heartier entrees are divided into Italian specialities and Argentinian grill delights, with an array of pastas, fish, chicken, and steak.
My calorie counting date chose a cup of the butternut squash mascarpone soup to start and added the empanadas as her entree. I elected to try the more traditional rib eye with chimichurri sauce.
The soup had just the right mix of squash and cheese traced with a hint of sweetness. She liked dinner even more when the empanadas arrived. Each was different -- one had chicken, another squash and cheese, and the third one tomatoes and mozzarella. My rib eye, meanwhile, was equally as tantalizing. The Argentinean restaurants are known for a love of meat, and that love is delivered by the plateful here.
Stuffed to the gills, we were unfortunately too full to try one of the half dozen desserts our server described. That’s always tough when the head says yes but the stomach says no. Extra compartment occupado.
In all, Alfio’s is a wonderful place for a night out. A little more upscale than a standard bar and grill, this restaurant offers an interesting mix not often seen in the city -- two countries famous for wonderful food melded into one romantic dinner. My date says she wants to go back.
I assure you, we will.
Alfio's Buon Cibo is located at 2724 Erie Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45208