You can see pics here: http://rainydaysandsundays-c.blogspot...
My friend and I stumbled upon a fantastic restaurant on La Giudecca island called Ristorante Riviera and had one of the most memorable meals either of us have ever had. We shared two appetizers, and one was hands-down the best dish I had in Italy. This is an octopus carpaccio, and it was perfection on a plate. Paper thin slices of octopus, drizzled with what tasted like a shallot/Dijon/balsamic/olive oil vinaigrette. I am going to try very hard to replicate this at home.
Our second appetizer was the baccala with polenta. This, too, was excellent, though I prefer baccala with crostini to balance out that creamy texture. No worries, though, since we had plenty of bread at the table.
Sandra ordered the farro penne with ricotta insalata and green cauliflower. She loved it and said it was loaded with rich, hearty flavors. Oh, I should not that Ristorante Riviera is run by a female chef (Monica) and the front-of-the-house guy Luca. I think they are a married couple. It's very unusual to have a female chef and a male host in Italy, so that's just another thing that makes this place so special.
I ordered the anchovy and onion spaghetti. It was AMAZING. The anchovy was clearly ground up into a paste then tossed with the spaghetti. The onions just melted into the pasta - they were that soft and delicate. I'd say this was my favorite pasta dish that I had in Italy.
For dessert, we shared the almond cake with pear sorbet and caramel drizzle. Again, another fabulous dish. This was our one, big splurge meal, and it was worth every Euro. The total, including two carafes of one (one of which they gave us, on the house, for some unknown reason) came to 50 Euros each. Not too terribly bad, considering what I've paid for less-than-stellar meals at numerous Los Angeles restaurants. Kudos to Monica and Luca for their fantastic restaurant!