Venetian Wanderings | Episode 9: Vino Vero
Not everyday is the same, sometimes it happens to wake up in a bad mood and today it happened to me. So, I did what I usually do when I'm a bit grumpy: I went for a walk, stopped for some props shopping at my favorite store -Tiger - and treated myself to a cozy lunch.
I was in the Cannaregio neighbourhood, so I immediately thought of Vino Vero, a small and really cute wine-bar located in Fondamenta della Misericordia , the perfect spot for true wine lovers and foodies. Here, in fact, you will be able too choose among a wide range of high quality wines and snacks like crostini, selections of cheese and cured meats or small fish cicchetti.
The place itself relaxes me, small and welcoming, with herbs all over the place and a friendly atmosphere! As you can read from the sign: forget spritz, here the focus is all on wine, mainly natural. There is also an interesting selection of beers and spirits and, yes, they serve soft drinks too.
The cicchetti aren't just ordinary cicchetti, I'd go as far as to define them as gourmet snacks. They have a tiny kitchen where in the morning Barbara prepares the yummiest dishes ever, like seppie in nero (squid in their black ink), cod, prawns and other delicacies, all based on local and fresh ingredients. I can see from her plating that she cares about what she does, in fact her plates are always tasty and beautiful to look at. And I greatly appreciate that she always prepares veggies!
I come here more often during the week, generally at lunch time, when it's quieter, while in the evening it's frequented by many locals, who come here for their (long) aperitif, and university students.
There is a great research of wines so don't be afraid to ask them for advice. Just explain what's your taste and they will surely know what to serve you. Today I wanted a red wine, but not too strong since it was still early and quite warm, so they made me taste a Zeno by Voltumna, a blend of San Giovese and Pinot Noir grapes - perfect for this time of the day, light and easy to drink.
My mood had already changed and when my plate arrived and I saw what I was about to savour I felt even better. I had asked for a small fish dish and got to savour three different things: smoked sword fish with a puntarelle salad, a potato purée with octopus and a cold beet purée accompanied by a couple of slices of goat milk's cheese in cocoa powder! Yum...
I suppose that by now you've understood why I like this place so much! And now that they have outdoor seating it's even more appealing... At Vino Vero you can unwind and chill down in total peace, sitting along a canal overlooking a church, taking your time and focusing only on nourishing yourself with good food.
Anyway, going back to my dish: I started with the sword fish, which was succulent and with the right amount of saltiness. The puntarelle had probably been cooked only for a few minutes, so they were firm but with a tender heart, the way I like them. All garnished with some thyme.
Just in case you don't know, puntarelle are a variant of chicory and the best part is their shoots, which are characterised by an extremely pleasant and delicate bitterness. Healthy and delicious. At home I just chop them and dress them with some olive oil, lemon juice, anchovies and black olives... and that's it.
Then I moved on to the octopus served with a potato purée, which was creamy and soft and very very very nice! Oh yes... I imagine there were butter and Parmesan. The octopus had been pre-boiled and then passed in the pan and garnished with some paprika. Sorry, I know I'm repetitive but...Yum!!! It was so good... especially combined with that purée.
Then the perfect ending: a cold beet purée (even if it wasn't exactly a purée, it was more of a cream) with the goat's milk cheese. The beet purée had some spice I wasn't able to identify ... oh my, so perfectly balanced and so flavourful it would have been nice even on its own. But, I have to admit, the pairing with the goat cheese -rigourously hand rubbed in cocoa powder- was supreme.
Everything was dressed with a delicate olive oil and just a pinch of salt and pepper. Just for you to know, I am against an excessive use of salt, I think it spoils things. While here everything was just right, especially the smoked sword fish. It was perfect. So...thank you guys!
I was feeling content, my worries had disappeared and the smile was back on my face. The only thing missing was a bit of sweetness ... but that problem was easily solvable: with three small S-shaped biscuits, typical from the island of Burano in the Venetian lagoon and a small -but definite- glass of sweet wine, precisely the San Zeno by Fasioli Gino, made using 100% Garganega grapes, characterised by an intense amber colour and a slightly bitter aftertaste, that enhances flavours like honey, hazelnut and ripe fruit. A must try and a perfect ending!!!!
Vino Vero is another peaceful corner in this crazy city called Venice. Ideal if you are looking for high quality wine and small gourmet snacks.
Come here during the day if you want to savour a moment of peace or in the late afternoon and evening if, instead, you want to meet locals and see how a real Venetian aperitif works.
My only recommendation is to be open minded and seize the occasion to try new things! At Vino Vero they always look for new producers and products ... another good reason to keep going and learning.
Address: Fondamenta Misericordia, 2497, 30100 Venezia
Phone: +39 041 275 0044