This spacious café, oddly decorated with bike frames, lies on the north end of the Sausalito strip. Its name is pronounced “CHEE-bo”, Italian for “food.” (Though we did find an amusing online reference where someone suggested it is pronounced “SHEE-Bow” — which sounds more like M&M-Mars for “decommissioned cat food“.)

There are a few outdoor tables among the front parking lot, and inside there are several tables on multiple levels. It is also a bakery and offers a number of breakfast and lunch items. But the Blue Bottle Coffee branding is laid on heavily — as exhibited by the many varieties of roasted coffee available for retail sale.

Entrance to Cibo in Sausalito Inside Cibo

They offer a Melitta bar for coffee service, but the focus is on their espresso shots from a two-group La Marzocco GB/5 machine. Using Blue Bottle’s 17 Ft. Ceiling blend, they pulled shots with a dark-to-medium brown crema, a good body in a properly short shot, and a lot of baker’s chocolate over some general herbal tones in the background. Served in classic brown Nuova Point cups.

It’s not often we come across a café that gets the chocolate thing down well. Maybe it’s no chocolate bomb like you can get with the Maui Moka coffee bean — long infamous among a number of home roasters. But they do espresso proudly here, even if it comes with a few quirks.

Read the review of Cibo in Sausalito, CA.

Cibo's La Marzocco GB/5 and Blue Bottle Coffee for sale The Cibo espresso against one of their stark white tables

UPDATE: Jan. 14, 2010
It seems that there’s been a Peet’s-or-not-to-Peet’s controversy brewing in town ever since the closing failure of Northpoint Coffee Co.: Local: In Marin : Peet’s Coffee a no-go in Sausalito. At issue: does a Peet’s moving into town add just another big chain store at odds with the town’s efforts to ensure its uniqueness?

Oh, the comedy vitriol that ensues: Sausalito is stoopid (well, Peet’s chains have grown like a cancer in recent years), Peet’s is just another Starbucks, Peet’s is so much better than Starbucks, why can’t I have the coffee I want where I want it, etc. Sadly, lost in all of this is that places like Cibo — counter to Carmel-by-the-Sea’s failed anti-chain efforts — make the need for a Peet’s irrelevant on any quality level. This leaves just a band of brand-loyalist Peetnicks to complain and their supporters who endorse sub-par chain stores on principle.