It’s not easy to find a good meal in Venice. For a city that gets 10x its population in tourists each year, restaurants offering set tourist menus are the norm. So when I arrived, a variety of factors kept me well fed in Venice.
Toilet Break/ So my travel buddy is bursting at the seams when we head for the first café in sight to for a snack and a wee (in reverse order). Unknowingly, we stumbled upon an authentic and undeniably Venetian culinary experience. We immediately notice that everyone is speaking Italian. Shortly thereafter we find an Italian only menu. As the waiter delivers his orders, it’s evident that the food in this place is going to please me. I’m talking the diner scene from “When Harry Met Sally” kind of pleasing. Unfortunately, we had just eaten, but ordered a small snack. It was then that I tasted the best tiramisu of my life. I would fight people for this tiramisu. The lady fingers were light and fluffy. The creamy filling was in limited supply so you could appreciate it’s silky goodness all the more. And the smoky essence of the coffee tasted almost like mocha with it’s bitter-sweet roast.
Investigative eye/ After our tiny taste of culinary genius, we would no longer accept sub-par dining in Venice. So in-between Carnival festivities,we kept our eyes open for a family-run restaurant. The osteria we found was conveniently tucked around the corner from a campo, or small square, close to our flat. It was filled with Italians and had a warm glow reverberating from within… Now the glow could have just been a hunger-induced halo effect, but it still made the moment special. Later that evening as a blizzard ensued and all of Venice was tucked into their warm homes, we wrapped ourselves up with insulated jackets, pulled on snow boots and set off for the tiny osteria. Before entering, I made a pact with my travel buddy – Tonight, we dine Italian style – Wine, 3 courses and a digestive drink.
No self-respecting Italian can enjoy a meal without wine. So we wet our palette with a bottle of valpolicella, a wine unique to the region. Do I sound all high society? Don’t mistake. Valpolicella is a common table wine that usually doesn’t require much ageing (this puppy is good to go in as little as a week). Nonetheless, it’s light, berry flavours can be easily paired with most meals.
For my first course, I had a mushroom and richotta tortellini in a white wine cream sauce.
Next, I ordered the pizza al funghi. I’m obsessed with the flavourful mushrooms you can find in Italy. Nutty and aromatic, porcini and gialletti mushrooms are my favourites right now, but I’m always looking for new frontrunners.
I finished with tiramisu. It wasn’t as good as the cafe in Burano, but it was a nice way to sweeten my tongue after an amazing meal.
At the close of a meal, it’s customary in Italy to finish with an alcohol. Limoncello was to be my drink of choice, but when I reached this point… I could not consume any further. Oh, how I disgrace myself.
Nonetheless, the waiter and I formed a mutual respect for one another – I, for his timely and tasty delivery and he, for my capacity to consume.
At the time, I didn’t know that I would be starting a blog so I don’t have the name of this restaurant. However, simple and delicious food can be found in Venice it just takes a little bit of hunting. So snack on a gelato, or sip on a coffee as you wander around this maze of a city because there’s nothing worst than ending up at a restaurant just because you’re cold, hungry or in need of WiFi.