Around the world, one plate at a time | April 4, 2014 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Eating Out - April 4, 2014

Around the world, one plate at a time

Castro Street's Cijjo has something for everyone

by Sheila Himmel

If you Google the word "Cijjo" you get the restaurant in Mountain View, and only the restaurant in Mountain View. That is by design. The three-month-old Cijjo Cosmopolitan Tapas Lounge is one of a kind.

This story contains 621 words.

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Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of another community
on Apr 4, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

Thanks for doing this review.

I wanted to point out an error that some of us caught and corrected in earlier writing on the Voice website about this new restaurant (links below), but that unfortunately reappeared in this review.

This restaurant's novel name is correctly phoneticized "sy-jo," not "shai-jo." That was a point of confusion created by the web site, as I'll explain.

This information comes directly and emphatically from co-owners Jon Tran and Trisha Pham, who asked me in the past to make it clear. Jon said he put the phoneticization "shai-jo" originally on the restaurant's web site; he told me he'd intended the H to be "silent," as in sy-jo, and that he planned to correct the web site to make this clearer (which evidently hasn't happened yet, no doubt amid the myriad issues that new restaurateurs must deal with). All of the restaurant's personnel, including the owners, say it "sy-jo."

Web Link

Web Link

Posted by Misunderstood, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 6, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Was this store in Spain or Catalonia? In Catalan, it would be, " see-jho". The name does not ring true to Castilian Spanish, which I am fluent in. It appears to me to be another dialect, and Catalan is pretty much a different language. The name could not be Aragonese, either. Perhaps some fairly obscure dialect?

Maybe the owners were confused about where in Spain they were.

In reality, the origin of tapas is Moorish, and " became" Spanish in the fifteenth century in Granada, in southern Spain.

I suspect the owners of this restaurant are mistaken or misunderstood something.

True tapas include a LOT of vegetables and salad, not evident on the menu. This sounds more like " fusion", not authentic tapas.

Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of another community
on Apr 6, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

"Misunderstood:" Please be aware --

1. As Cijjo's owners earlier explained it to me and to others, "Cijjo" actually is a wholly made-up name, _inspired_ by, but not literally the same as, a business name they encountered in Spain. (This article seems to've condensed that explanation somewhat.) Cijjo was chosen for the restaurant because it's a unique word, as the article's first paragraph mentioned.

2. Regardless of the inspiration, and of English or Castilian phoneticization rules, the new restaurant is indeed spelled Cijjo, and meant to be pronounced "sy-jo."

3. This (I believe, single-visit) review article did not try to describe the full scope of Cijjo's small-plates menu, which numbered at least 30 dishes on my most recent visit (of a dozen or so meals there). The article didn't, for instance, mention the bowls of flash-fried peppers, the nuts or olives, the several diverse salads, that figured in some of the small plates I've enjoyed.

I suggest to stop by Cijjo a few times -- try some range of its offerings -- if you wish to know both where the menu reflects and where it departs from Spain's famous tapas traditions.

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