Restaurants & Bars

[Venice] Al Covo

Harters | Apr 5, 201210:41 AM

We’d booked this place for our first night, as it was only a couple of minutes walk from our hotel and, arriving in the evening, wanted somewhere nearby and easy to find. Good choice. And not just for the location. Food was spot on for what we might have wanted for a perfect first night dinner.

There was gnocchi to start, accompanied by a ragu of wild duck. This was long-cooked and much reduced and so was packed with flavour. The other starter was simplicity itself. Clams and white beans served in the cooking pan. Delicious sweet clams, mealy cannellini beans and a winey, garlicky, salty broth.

And there was excellent bread to accompany it – grissini, ciabatta, the excellent thin stuff that I think is called “music paper”. And the basket was replaced with a fresh supply even before we’d finished off the first.

As for mains, neither of us could see past frito misto. And what a good choice it proved to be. Each serving a really good selection of battered and fried seafood (squid, octopus, tiny fish that may or may not have been whitebait), a fillet of baby sole, another small fish of indeterminate origin and three tiny scallops served on the half shell. A little dish of sea salt was a thoughtful provision. As was a paper cone of matchstick potatoes.

For desserts, we both opted for ice cream. In one serving, house made hazelnut , the flavour heightened by a sprinkling of nuts on top. In the other, very good vanilla, topped with liquorice powder. Now liquorice seems to be the “in thing” to add to desserts. It’s appeared on a number of menus in recent months. And, here, as in the other places, it is used so sparingly that, frankly, you can’t taste it. But this was the only slip in the cooking over the evening.

We finished with reasonably good espresso.

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