Venetian Wanderings | Episode 1: La Cantina
PLEASE NOTE: This wine-bar has recently changed management and I can no longer guarantee quality (Post updated on the 19th of April 2018)
Venice, Venice, Venice. There isn't a single place in this city that hasn't been reviewed, written about and photographed. A city with more than 22 million of tourists per year, where life is wonderful yet difficult, where locals are often forced to leave due to the high cost of living and where things are ever changing.
I decided to start this series of blog posts because many of my friends, who now live abroad, and a lot of people I met and that are frequent visitors of this city, always ask me for advice when they return, so I thought to gather all this precious info in one place!
The series Venetian Wanderings is completely dedicated to food - from street food to one-Michelin star experiences and visits to local farms- and wine.
One post a week...which for me is an excellent excuse to keep eating delicious food! I don't know about you...but I'm already excited!
Before I begin though, I ought to make a premise: I care about supporting local businesses that focus on quality and that work with passion. I won't write about chains or other type of businesses that -in my opinion- are damaging the city, its inhabitants and visitors all the same. I know people want to read only positive things, but -living here- I can't deny that what is happening to Venice hurts me. I won't go on about this, but what I ask you is to -please, please, please- support local businesses!
Having said this, let's move on to the first place: La Cantina.
This wine-bar is one of my favourite places in town. Located in Strada Nuova, the main street in Cannaregio , La Cantina has a warm atmosphere, with a dark wooden beamed ceiling, a red brick wall and indoor and outdoor seating. Here you can enjoy a good glass of Italian wine watching people pass by.
What you will find: great selections of cheese and cold cuts, but also pasta with seafood, warm Pata Negra belly, fresh fish (raw and cooked), steamed veggies, oysters and an an inviting assortment of cicchetti. Not once have I been disappointed. And today is a further confirmation.
We didn't want to have a big lunch, just a snack. And this is what came out of it:
What you see in my plate is:
1 baby octopus served over a steamed fennel and asparagus salad
4 raw Sicilian prawns
4 small monkfish fillets with polenta and
2 meaty squill fish
Attention to detail is a must here, in fact our dish was served with hot bread, a glass of Sicilian Syrah for me and a Morgana beer for Vitto. Morgana is the name of their craft beer, produced in Morgano, just outside Treviso. I find it delicate and slightly, but pleasantly, bitter. A bottle contains 1/2 lt of beer, so it's perfect to share!
As already said, the wine offer is wide and excellent! Plenty of Italian, but also French, Australian and South American wines. Other products I really like are the distillates by Capovilla, in particular the quince apple and cherry flavours. And I really have to mention their incredible German ice wine and rum selections.
If you don't have time to sit down you can always have a beer and some cicchetti - I would recommend a plate of mortadella- standing. Every once in a while we allow ourselves a treat: a glass of Franciacorta - a sparkling white wine from the province of Brescia- and a couple of French oysters!
Here you will meet locals, workers and curious travellers. It's not a place where university students go, it's a place for gourmets, wine lovers and for whoever wants to relax and have a chat with a friend! If you are planning to have a meal, I recommend booking, especially in the evening. Last but not least: good value for money and excellent service.
From here you could then go to Fondamenta della Misericordia and Fondamenta degli Ormesini, studded with bars and osterie, and end the evening sipping a drink along a canal!
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