I thought that after all the delicious food in Florence, Venice would have to be pretty fantastic to compete. This city definitely stepped up to the challenge.
We arrived in Venice early afternoon, so after we’d gotten settled into our hotel, we ventured out in search of food and drink. I wanted to go to Osteria da Alberta as the description in the Lonely Planet guide sounded good. We stopped at an enoteca along the way, and then proceeded to walk a 2 block radius for 30 minutes or so to no avail. We were about to give up when I saw the Church of Miracles, which I remembered from the map being around the corner from the restaurant we were looking for. As is evident from the pictures below, we made it and it was well worth the 2 hour adventure we had finding it.
We started with the vongole veraci, steamed clams in olive oil, garlic, and butter. The clams were little, but they were extremely tender and sweet.
We also ordered the quatro formaggio gnocchi. According to my note written on a piece of paper, BEST EVER!!! Tasty, melt-in-your mouth potato-y pillows. The four cheese sauce was out of this world good. One of the cheeses was gorgonzola which upped the creamy/savory factor. This dish is the stuff that heaven is made of! Mike and I both ate up every last bite of sauce with our bread.
And while no picture exists (a testament to its tastiness), we ended this lovely meal with the tiramisu. My notes on the tiramisu: ALSO BEST EVER!!
This was only the start to the onslaught of awesome that were our meals in Venice. On our first full day, we went searching for Osteria I Rusteghi. Like almost every restaurant/eatery listed in our guide book, it was an adventure simply locating the place. But once again, worth it. The guide book said this would be the place to make you like lardon; this is an indisputable fact. Mike and I got a small lardo di collonata sandwich, grilled eggplant, and grilled cherry tomatoes to share. Then we each got another sandwich; I went with the copacolla and black truffle, Mike with the copacolla and eggplant. Everything was quite good, particularly the lardon sandwich (creamy texture with a good cured pork flavor) and the copacolla and truffle. Just as in Florence, the use of truffles is amazing and with gusto! Every bite of the sandwich was overflowing with truffle-y flavor! Mmmm!
After that, we stopped by SuSo (click here for someone else’s flickr photo) for some gelato, another randomly delicious find! On this first visit, we tried the peanut gelato and another flavor I can’t quite recall; all I know is that they were delicious, particularly the peanut! On our second visit, we had the green apple and the hazelnut; both were awesome. No pictures exist as the gelato was gone before we could even think to take a picture!
For lunch the following day, we went to Al Merca, an osteria similar to I Rusteghi. For drinks I went with the prosecco (decent, but nowhere near as good as the Collalto Extra Dry!) and Mike had the Valpolicella classico. For food, we shared a polpette di carne (meatball). I also had the parma, robiola, and black truffle sandwich while Mike had the osso collo sandwich. Both were so delicious. Once again, truffle explosions in my mouth complimented by the salty parma cut with the freshness of the robiola. We then shared another meatball and each got one more sandwich! What could beat eating delicious food and drinking wine outside on a beautiful day in Venice?
Later that day, Mike took me on a gondola ride. It was pricey but the experience was one of a kind, most importantly Mike proposing! I just had to include some pictures from that; a view from the Grand Canal, just before going under the Rialto bridge, and then a post-gondola ride capuccino photo.
To celebrate being engaged, we decided to go out for a fancy-ish dinner. After reading some reviews, we headed for Anice Stellato. It was a nice restaurant known for its seafood. To start, we ordered the small misto di cichetti di pesce. Once again, another dish so tasty we forgot to take a picture until it was gone. Ultra fresh seafood cichetti. From what I recall, it included pickled anchovies which I surprisingly enjoyed. The vinegar really worked with the salty fish. We also had some of the best octopus in vinaigrette I think I’ve ever had. And to Mike’s extreme delight,the misto included fried eel, something that isn’t easily found here in Seattle!
As for things we have photos of, we started with the seafood risotto. In order to ensure you get a bit of seafood in every bite, the mussels, soft shell crab, and langoustines are shelled and chopped up into the risotto – pure genius! All I can say is that the risotto was quite yummy although I don’t have much to compare it to as I’ve only had it once or twice stateside.
Then Mike and I shared the pistachio crusted branzino (sea bass). Yum, yum, yum, yum! The fish was flaky and light, a great protein dish to follow up the rich risotto.
And for dessert, we opted for the panna cotta with mixed berries. Neither Mike nor myself had ever had panna cotta; this was a good first! The creamy texture was incredible, and the sweetness in tandem with the tartness of the berries was outstanding.
Our last day in Venice we were walking along the main road, and I asked if we could take a look at a menu. A pasta dish with langoustines was on it for a reasonable price (9.50 euro), so I had to get one last taste of langoustines before leaving Italy. Thus, our lucky lunch at Hosteria Al Vecio Bragosso began. We started off with the beef carpaccio; with lemon juice drizzled, each bite of sliced beef with parmagiano reggiano and arugula was a perfect start (no picture again)!
We followed that with the star of the meal, the tagliolini scampi e zucchine. Hand made tagliolini pasta with langoustines and zucchini in a light cream sauce, need I say more? It was so delicious, we only remembered to take a picture once we’d eaten about half of the dish! Check out that succulent langoustine meat!
Have no fear though, it was so delicious that as soon as we’d eaten the last bite, we came to the instantaneous decision that we needed another plate! It was *that* good. The langoustines were fresh, tender, and sweet. The zucchini were ridiculously sweet and flavorful. Who knew zucchini was capable of such awesomeness?
And that, folks, is our trip as our stomachs experienced it. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed recounting it! This upcoming week, back to our regularly scheduled happy hour programming!