Venice is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to, if not the most beautiful. It is full of canals and tiny laneway streets (similar to but cooler than Melbourne), and the buildings are all rustic looking and look nicer as they age. But being surrounded by water means that the city is also known for its seafood.
One thing about Venetian restaurants is that they’re all delicious – all Italian restaurants seem to be able to produce good food. The food offerings are also relatively similar at each restaurant. You have the usual pizzas, pastas and risottos but at Venice there is a larger seafood offering on their menus. So this post will outline some of the dishes I’ve eaten which you can find at most restaurants.
Black Ink Squid with Polenta – €16
Probably one of the more interesting dishes and definitely not for the faint hearted, this dish is jet black. The colour comes from squid ink, but fear not, it’s not poisonous nor does it smell like a whiteboard marker. Underneath the ink is a serving of fresh squid – it is a bit chewy and cooked without much flavours other than a slight cheesy flavour. I’ve chosen the dish to be served with polenta which is meant to be an Italian specialty, however I find the polenta a bit boring and bland tasting even when covered in sauce. This dish can also be served as a spaghetti or risotto which is what I would highly recommend over polenta. Just a warning, the ink will give your teeth and lips a black tinge after eating but this fades shortly.
The following dish I found at Rossopomodoro, a very large restaurant boasting locations and multiple large European and International cities. Despite the restaurant spanning a huge area, there were lines the night before as well as when we went for lunch. The service was also very slow and we waited a while for a table and ages before a waiter was free to take our order. However, there is a fantastic selection of food at great prices so if you don’t mind a long wait, this is the place to go.
Fru Fru (three seasons oval pizza) – €9
The pizza I ordered was called Fru Fru and is basically three types of pizza in one. On the handmade pizza base sits the flavours margherita, goats cheese and ham, and mushroom. Despite the one hour wait since arriving for our table, order and service, the pizza was served fresh and hot from the over and was absolutely delicious! Each flavour tasted exactly spot on like their descriptions, but my personal favourite was the goats cheese which went well with the ham. The pizza base is also fluffy and the crust also tasty just by itself.
Peschella (peach flavoured sparking red wine) – €3.80
With my pizza I ordered a drink a Peschella, which I think they should definitely introduce in Australia. Made in Italy, this drink is a fizzy fruity red wine (imagine Sangria in soft drink wine) except with hints of peach enveloped throughout. Absolutely delicious!
Spaghetti with mixed fish – €16
A dish you will find at almost every restaurant is spaghetti with some sort of seafood. This time I have chosen mixed fish to get a variety and it includes calamari, clams, mussels, scampi and squid – a beautiful selection. The sauce is a tomato based sauce and tastes strongly of seafood chowder which goes well with the spaghetti. For this price, I think I’ve received quite a generous amount of seafood and I was extremely happy with this dish. Add some cracked pepper and I’d happily gobble up this dish every single night.
Risotto with scampi – €20
My friend had never tried risotto before (crazy right?!) and I finally convinced her to give it a go! In Venice, risotto is usually quoted as the price per person and is served as a minimum two people, however the waiter said since there was another table that also wanted the risotto the kitchen could do three servings and hence we could order just one. This risotto is made with a cream based stock with lots of butter and scampi scattered throughout. There is also a large scampi plopped on top which we have to peel but thankfully the rest are already chopped up. The scampi is soft and soaks up all the risotto juices and this dish is definitely one of the better risottos I’ve ever had. I’ve now managed to convert my friend and boy was she fortunate to have such a delicious dish to burst her risotto cherry.
Linguine with lobster – €18.90
By the time I had this meal, it was my last day in Venice and I wanted to try spider crab which I saw at the first restaurant I visited but regrettably did not order. Regardless, I opted for another type of seafood I hadn’t tried here yet, lobster. Cooked in a tomato based sauce, half a small lobster and claw is hidden within my linguine along with small chunks of meat scattered throughout. The dish has a strong lobster taste but I find that the lobster is a bit small, and I much prefer spaghetti over linguine. Although still a well cooked dish, I think in Venice for a similar price you’re better off ordering other types of seafood (mixed, clams, cuttlefish, scampi) where you will get more value for your money since the servings of lobster are quite small.
Within Venice, I dined at the following restaurants:
Ristorante Pizzeria Marco Polo
Castello S. Lio 5571, 30122 Venice
Trattoria Ai Leoncini
S. Marco 352-372, Venice
Calle San Marco 403, 30124 Venice