And, before I upset anyone even more, the bellini is made from Bisol Prosecco and fresh peaches…
The lagoon surrounded city offers a host of eateries – more informal restaurants than Danieli’s, many offering damn decent cichetti, the Italian equivalent of Spanish tapas.
You could join the tourist throngs with their picture menus if you like, but that’s not for me. I’d prefer a little local action even if this means an embarrassing struggle with the lingo, pointing and manic ‘tourist abroad’ smiling at the unusual shell-encased dishes behind the counter-glass or eccentric wine bottles on the shelves behind.
Local is good. More so when you realise that most of the other patrons are locals too.
I hear more than one visitor has suffered extreme disorientation trying to locate some of these little gems (or was it just the hotel, Douglas? Excellent write-up though). A decent map or a guide might be useful – those iPhone-possessors should utilise a superb little English language app that I played with while in Venice (TapVenice).
From the S. Lucia railway station and Scalzi Church cross over the Grand Canal via the Scalzi Bridge, wander down to the left passing the church of S. Simeon Piccoto. Turn left at the little bridge and walk down to Fondamenta Minotto and you are there! Yeah, you need a map! Ristorante Ribot (Santa Croce 158, Fondamenta Minotto, Rio del Gaffaro, 30124 Venice) has an attractive wine shop attached – a magnet in itself – but the relaxing, covered rose garden at the back is well worth trying to get a table in. If you know the right nod and can wink meaningfully you might be lucky in being given access to a ‘secret wine list’ – this includes a whole raft of older vintages of Sassicia for example and other very limited gems.
No producers mentioned obviously – the wines were picked from a chalked list on the side wall – but a nicely perfumed Gewurztraminer and a glass of Tocai Friulano were procured at Bacaro da Fiore. The latter wine was all fruity-minerality and the better match to the freshest plate of prawns I’ve enjoyed since Madrid and to a fine plate of fried courgette flowers. At a corner table a huge bowl of tiny whelk-like shellfish was devoured by two youngsters; they do a lot of odd shellfish do the Venetians apparently.
Bacaro de Fiore – described as a half-taven, half-bar – specialises in just the wines of the Triveneto (that’s the land immediately behind Venice covering the Alto-Adige, Trentino, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and the Veneto itself). It’s a tiny place down the narrow Calle de Le Botteghe, right opposite our hotel the Locanda Art Deco (and I do loves me a bit of Art Deco! And with rooms like these would you want to stay anywhere else?). I would have been happy to stay at Fiore all evening, sampling the rest of the wine list and those tempting cichetti… but no, onward…
More local, city-rustic character can be found in Trattoria Ca’D’Oro “Alla Vedova” (Cannaregi 3912), a few steps from the water taxi stop of Ca D’Doro. A great atmosphere, lovely, value-packed cichetti, a little warren of rooms packed full of food and wine related artefacts hanging from the ceiling and covering the shelves. The food and wine are the stars here, the place being famous for their polpetti (meatballs). Perhaps just here would be a good place to spend the evening…
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