Venetian Wanderings | Episode 4: Basara
Today sushi! I know, I know...sushi isn't very Venetian, but come on, I'm human too and I can't always eat traditional food! Plus, Venice has had a long history of exchanges with the Orient! Now, let's not be too specific, I know Marco Polo went to China and not Japan, but let's focus on the big picture, after all they're both in Asia, right?!
And besides, I adore sushi. In Venice there are a couple of places where you can have sushi but I only go to Basara Milano. Two minutes walk from Saint Mark's Square, the restaurant is hosted in a three-storey building with a lovely and modern ground floor, with big glass windows that illuminate the room, an elegant first floor with a see-through kitchen and a beautiful terrace on the top floor, open from April to September.
As the name suggests, the first Basara sushi restaurant opened in Milan and its success was established not only by the quality of the food, but also by its interior design. In fact, movable furniture and sliding panels change the style and atmosphere of the different rooms from daytime to evening. Simple and light menus for lunch, teas, coffee and pastries in the afternoon and a more classy restaurant in the evening.
I particularly appreciate the brightness of the place. There is a lovely and warm feeling, quite relaxing. Many locals come here for their lunch break, in fact you will easily meet gondoliers, shop sellers, managers, clerks and so on. The staff is friendly and helpful and it's perfect if you want to have a quiet chat with a friend or if you want to impress your loved one.
For lunch it's possible to order a set menu, which includes three courses (like, for example, a miso soup, a mixed set of sushi and sashimi or a selection of uramaki rolls and a salad) and the cost goes from 18 to 22 euros, which I consider quite fair. I mean, we're talking sushi here!
Anyway we didn't have a set lunch, my friend Silvana was about to leave for Cuba, so she preferred not to eat raw fish and ordered a hot dish with grilled salmon, rice with pan-fried veggies (probably with soy sauce) and a salad. Simple and yummy. The salmon had a super crunchy crust and a tender heart, while the rice with the veggies is one of my all times favourite. I know it's something really basic, yet I find it irresistible. In fact...I ordered it too!
I opted for a salmon tartare and was very happy with my choice. It was really good and I particularly appreciate the fact that all the condiments were placed aside, so one can decide how much and what to add to the salmon. The fish was placed over a blend of soy and sesame sauce. At the sides of my plate : salt and red juniper berries, a sort of spicy ginger jam, parsley, wasabi, misozuke (miso pickles) and a Japanese spice. Loved it: the salmon was fresh and I combined it with a little bit of soy sauce and wasabi and savoured all the combinations one by one.
We both had tea, green tea for her and a toasted rice tea for me. They also serve Japanese and Italian beer, wine and soft drinks.
I come here relatively often and I have tried several things. I am a big big fan of sushi (which is the raw fish) and sashimi (raw fish over steamed rice), while my husband always gets the uramaki rolls. If you like uramaki, the ones with lobster, avocado and a little bit of tempura batter are superb...and, of course, the tempura is amazing! Really, crunchy, not greasy at all, fried just perfectly...
I also recommend trying their desserts. They are so beautiful to look at... you will be shown a black plate with nine little and extremely colourful Japanese cakes, so you can see before you choose! If you think this is going to make things easier...it won't! You'll probably end up -just like me- trying everything! My first choice are always Daifuku, which are small glutinous rice cakes stuffed with ankle, a sweetened red beans paste. Otherwise I go for the green tea cream...
The place is very popular on Friday and Saturday evenings...so I highly recommend booking!
Address: Campo San Gallo, Sestiere San Marco 1089, 30124
Phone:+39 041 5225955
Closed on Mondays