When I visited: April 2014
Location: Piazza San Marco, Venice
Team: Silvio Giavedoni (Head Chef), Stefano Munari (maitre d’), Nico Rebesco (Head Sommelier)
Rating in the Michelin Guide: 1 star – then and now
What to wear: Men – shirt and jacket and nice trousers and shoes; women – a smart dress and/or smart trousers and a top
Ambience: Buzzy, view of St Mark’s Square
Course of the meal: Black cuttlefish risotto with spring peas and sea urchin
If I could change one thing: Slightly more friendly waiting staff
I had a gorgeous Italian meal at this gorgeous Venetian restaurant in April 2014, to the sounds of St Mark’s Square at night. Anyone who has visited Venice will know that this is the epicentre of the city and at night it transforms into a square full of orchestras, food, wine and tourists milling around and marvelling at the atmosphere.
My partner Owl and I enjoyed a tasting menu at dinnertime. We started with a glass each of Bouzy Louis Martin Brut champagne with canapés of quail eggs and langoustine on bread.
With the food, we had a delicious Soave white wine. The first few courses were very light: an amuse bouche of broccoli and sea urchin soup, with a fish pate bite, followed by a Dentex carpaccio with fresh tomato, asparagus and chard soup with smoked onion sorbet, and Burrata cheese ravioli seafood stew with tomatoes and oregano. All were sensibly-sized and tasty.
The business end of the meal was heralded with a black cuttlefish risotto with spring peas and sea urchin, followed by a cappuccino of baby Venetian shrimp and curried clams. There was then a choice of Venetian-style fried fish with Quadric sauce or steamed sea bass with tomato green beans, taccole and bottarga mayonnaise. We both went for the fried fish which was incredible.
There was also a choice at dessert-time: either ‘Mela-mela-mela’ (Apple-apple-apple: a ‘game of consistencies’) or a tartlet with zabajone cream, almonds and coffee. Again, we both went for the same course – the innovative apple, probably one of the reasons this restaurant has a Michelin star – i.e. innovation on a plate.
I had my usual green tea to help digest all the food and it came with some impressive petits fours: a white chocolate, a mint and raspberry chocolate, a cappuccino chocolate and a fizzing dark chocolate.
The funniest point was when my partner Owl complimented the quality of one of the main courses and the waitress replied “This is a Michelin restaurant!” Very sweet that they wanted to make sure we knew … but actually we’d deliberately booked the restaurant for that reason. I would definitely recommend doing the same and booking in advance, due to the popularity of the restaurant’s location as well as the fact that it does, indeed, have a Michelin star.
Overall, I’d highly recommend this restaurant and think it is a great example of a 1-star; it misses out on having 5 hoots as it is solid rather than constantly amazing, but I don’t think you would ever be disappointed by a visit.