Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Venice, Italy: Da Ivo; Corta Sconta, Cantinone Gia Schiave, Da Fiore, Alla Testiere, Alla Vedova, The Gritti Dining Room (Club Del Doge), Da Lele (Busa della Torre)

Cantinone Gia Schiavone

A hole-in-the-wall, standup wine bar where small sandwiches ( a selection of about 25) are served.

My selection: shrimps saor, octopus (I took a bight); herring, tuna salad, squid ink risotto topped with shrimp on a slice of egg and cod puree topped with a bit of frisee.

Corta Sconta

This very long standing restaurant's composed dishes (other than simple fish or shellfish, which were quite fresh) were a bit tired, but the simple shellfish presentations and the desserts were perfect.

Steamed mantis shrimps were very fresh, sweet and tasty.

Steamed spider crab.....all of the work was done for you, was very fresh and combined the sweet meat and roe.

Spaghetti nero with shrimp, calamari, mussels and cherry tomatoes. The spaghetti seemed house made, the ingredients were fresh, but, there was no wow to this dish at all.

Very good fresh artichoke hearts with walnut pesto.

A very popular, grana padano pudding on potatoes with truffle cream and fresh chopped Alba truffles.

Hazelnut savarin with star anise glazed figs and pistachio ice cream. 

Green apple (with bits of skin....a very tasty addition) and raspberry sorbet, in a caramel basket. 

Da Ivo

 Very good bruschetta.

Zucchini flowers stuffed with schie (a specialty of the season, baby lagoon shrimps) (on the right); on the left, seasonal, steamed manti shrimp with radicchio, lemon and olive oil.

Seasonal, fried baby soft shelled crabs. They were delightfully crispy.

Fresh gamberone grilled over charcoal with green beans, rice and rapini.

Club Del Doge (Gritti Palace Dining Room)

Bresaola wrapped around goat cheese with radicchio and fennel frond.

Sweet and fresh, steamed scampi with orange and grapefruit pieces, arugula and shaved fennel and a citrus olive oil dressing.

This was pasta perfection: perfectly cooked linguine with a lovely mixed shellfish reduction and mussels, clams and shrimps.

The only disappointment. Sole was on the menu, but nothing was said about it being coated and fried. I am not a lover of fish that has been coated and fried and prefer the pure simplicity of the fish either grilled or sauteed. The fish had a mealy texture and the coating was unpleasingly oily. It was dressed with a pleasant caper, lemon, olive oil sauce.

By special request I had the chef make a dried apricot and vanilla souffle. It was tasty and the texture pretty good but, it was a tad over cooked.

Da Fiore

This is another longstanding restaurant, which was still very good.

Fried small shrimp, seasonal schie and gamberetti, with polenta.

Spider crab with coral sauce.

Deep fried veg: onions, zucchini, squash, carrot and turnip, were a verly lightly battered and crispy.

Seafood tower with mussels, squid, shrimp, octopus, pickled red onions, clams, manti shrimp and cherry tomatoes all dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. 

The best dish of the meal, fabulous, light, hand made pasta purses stuffed with white fish, sweet potato, thyme and ginger, with scallop sauce, shad roe and chopped thyme.

Lightly battered and crispy fried shrimps and scallops with carrot, onion and eggplant.

Roasted wild eel with bay leaf; the eel spine was deep fried and crispy.

Wonderfully refreshing pomegranate sorbet.

Raspberry, blueberry, blackberry and red current tart with lemon cream. Don't miss this. 

Miscellaneous cookies: shortbread, meringue and shortbread and chocolate.

Alla Testiere

This is one of the toughest reservations to get. A very small resto where the menu changes daily depending on the catches of the fishermen they deal with. Every item was the freshest and best quality that I tasted in Venice. Frankly, I could have simplified dinners and just eaten here every night.

Schie (gamberetti di laguna) with light and creamy polenta and olive oil, the freshest and sweetest schie that I tasted in Venice. The dish was accompanied by a fennel frond and thread-like fried hot pepper.

 Bbq'd prawns.

 Spaghetti with bevarasse clams.

 Grilled caciaroli calamari, very sweet and tender.

 Lovely grilled sole.

 Chocolate tart and almond tart. Gone in a flash.

Delicious apple tart with cinnamon. This restaurant did well with their desserts.

Da Lele (Busa della Torre) (Island of Burano)

When visiting the glass factories, this is the place to have lunch!

Ravioli bolognese (meat sauce). Very delicate pasta with very good sauce (and note the style....not too much of it).

Simply grilled dover sole, perfectly cooked

The not to be missed tiramisu. This one is worth every calorie!

A fabulous walnut tart.

Where we ate.

Alla Vedova

When we arrived at this resto, we wondered if we were in the right place! Walking down the very small alley that led to this resto, the alley was packed with young people drinking and eating snacks and this packing of people went right into the resto where the standing room bar was located in front the chiccheti that were being ordered and handed out with drinks. We could barely squeeze in to the resto seating. As for the rest of the meal, it was ok, but hardly worth the 7 stop water bus trip.

This is the dish that everyone was getting at the front of the bar. Waiters were carrying trays of about 30 balls up to the bar, every 3-5 minutes. This was dish I was advised not to miss and it was well worth it. "meatballs" consisting of ground pork with a bit of rice that has been bread crumb coated quickly deep fried. Really good.

 Spaghetti alla amitriciana.

Schie with polenta and olive oil (hardly held a candle to the quality of schie at Alla Testiere).

Lasagna with porcini mushrooms. The mushroom flavour was heavenly but the lasagna was a bit heavy.

Fegato alla Veneziana, the traditional Venetian dish of liver and onions (chicken livers were used here).

Skip the apple strudel. Come for the meatballs, but only if you are in the area.

The restaurant below had such a promising presentation of possibilities. However, the meal turned out to be remarkably mediocre so I am not mentioning the resto........but, look at all of the terrific possibilities. I was so disappointed.

 Squid in it's own ink. The best part was the ink.

 Ravioli with meat sauce (Bolognese).

Grilled sole was ok, but a bit overcooked.

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