My partner and I just spent two days in Venice and have eaten very well. Arriving mid-afternoon on Saturday, we wanted a light snack, so we headed to all’Arco, where we had an assortment of two each of three different cicchetti, one with brandade, one with prosciutto and parmesan, and one with salami and gorgonzola. All excellent, and pretty filling. With a glass of wine each we spent 15 euros total.
Dinner that night was at Alle Testiere, thanks to the many recommendations on this board. It did not disappoint. We started with a wonderful gazpacho with octopus (very generous with the octopus) and a big portion of delicious razor clams. Then we shared an order of potato gnocchetti with baby calamari. Main courses were turbot and sweet and sour prawns with polenta, and a side of grilled vegetables. Everything was extremely fresh and tasty. The chef likes to use middle eastern and Asian spices in a subtle way. We found the food a bit more creative than typical Venetian. With a bottle of Ribola Gialla for 29 euros, and water, the total came to 144 euros.
Sunday we stuck with the tried and true, returning to two of our favorites from previous trips. Lunch was at Alla Madonna, where we had some excellent seafood at a very reasonable price, simpler than Alle Testiere, but still fresh and delicious. We began with zuppa di pesce and stuffed baby octopus, then had filet of san pietro and a whole fried sole, along with plates of vegetables and artichoke hearts. With an 18 euro bottle of Ribolla Gialla, coffee and water, cover charge and the 12 % service charge they add to the bill we spent 90 euros. Not bad.
Sunday dinner at Al Covo was, as in the past, very enjoyable. My starter of saor included sardines, eggplant, prawns and monkfish, partner’s starter was a house-made lemon spaghetti with spider crab. Both were delicious. Next came a breaded veal cutlet with a basil mayonnaise, fried potatoes and broad beans, and filet of sole with potato puree and zucchini. Heavenly desserts were an intense, fudgy chocolate cake and a semifreddo of grappa with grappa-soaked raisins, pine nuts and crumbled pie crust. We once again had a delightful conversation with Diane, who is the pastry chef (her husband Cesare is the chef). She lamented that the recent heat wave prevented her from baking cookies, but noted that the advent of cooler weather was providing new inspiration. With a 22 euro bottle of valpolicella classico and 2 bottles of water, the check came to 146 euros.
Tomorrow we drive to Trento, stopping for lunch in Padova. Watch for further reports.