Readers of Fred Plotkin's terrific book, Italy for the Gourmet Traveler, have undoubtedly read his description of this place, located in the far western reaches of Dorsoduro. Last week I gave it a try. Concerned that Plotkin's review might have made snagging a table difficult, I walked over to the place around noon last Thursday. Although the place was not yet open for business, the owner was inside setting up.....I walked in and requested a reservation for that evening. He replied that no reservation was necessary, he would remember us.
At 8pm we arrived once again and walked into an empty restaurant. We were eventually joined in the simple dining room by one other couple. The rest of the place remained empty. The surroundings, the service, and the meal were what I imagine is a close approximation of what you would experience if you lived in Venice and visited your parents for Sunday dinner and mom was a great cook. Unpretentious to the utmost.
The signora comes over to our table, takes one look and pronounces that the signor (my partner, that is) does not want fish. (true) She then lists the evening's possibilities, which as far as I can remember, were comprised of about two primi/secondi and two or three main courses. I did not recall seeing a written menu..perhaps you have to ask..perhaps there is none. Now remember this is January so things may be quite different in tourist season. We both place ourselves in her hands.
A painted china pitcher of wine..no choice here..is placed on the table and a few minutes later the first courses arrive. My partner has pasta with fagiole, an excellent rendition although I am no expert. I receive an absolutely terrific, fantastic, lasagna de carciofi...which definitely "merits a detour." This turns out to be one of the dishes I am still salivating over a week later. These are followed by a perfectly grilled whole branzino.....I never thought fish skin could be so addictive! And for the signor, small meatballs..(polpetti di carne??) with a light tomato sauce served over polenta. (He was very happy.) No dessert was offered. The bill came to about 55 euro. No English is spoken/no credit cards accepted. Although I did not ask, I would guess that with a call the day before, you could request a dish (type of seafood, for example) and they would prepare it for you as a special order. The trattoria is located on the Piazza Angelo Raffaele which is about a 20-25 minute walk from the Accademia Bridge. Phone is 041/523/7454.