Trattori Alla Fontana, located in the Cannaregio neighbourhood, is a new restaurant to add to your list! I had never been, I tried it today for the first time and I found it wonderful. The restaurant presents itself very well, at the same time simple and sophisticated, from the choice of the furniture to the service.
There is both outdoor and indoor seating and the menu changes daily. Before describing you our meal, I just want to make you notice how lovely the place is: wooden beams, a fireplace, dried flowers, a red marble counter, vintage bottles (there is even a bottle that celebrates the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution!) and contemporary paintings on the walls.
The background music was ideal for chatting and relaxing: blues. It seemed to be in an American movie. Bronze candle holders on the tables, herbs and plants placed at different corners, a lovely suffused light and a very professional staff.
The owner aims high, he truly wants everything to be perfect and for what concerns the cooking style, I'd say that at Trattoria alla Fontana the main keywords are freshness, local and homemade. The wine list too caught our attention, a very well selected canteen. I had a Carantina Monteforche 2015, an extremely elegant Merlot from the Veneto, while Vito had a Vitoska from the Carso area, in Friuli.
I was enthusiastic about my wine, in a way it reminded me of French wines, with an intense scent of leather and earth, elegant and round, very easy to drink despite its 13,5%.
Even if the menu was short, it still took me some time to make up my mind, but as always fate decided for me: I was undecided between fresh ravioli stuffed with pumpkin and served with a Tuscan beef ragù (not with minced meat, but with thicker pieces of beef, more like a stew, to give you an idea) and the homemade spaghetti with fresh tuna, black olives and tomatoes. But the ravioli were finished, so...
Before our main we shared a starter, a warm octopus salad with potatoes, black taggiasche olives, tomatoes and celery. So good...tender and moist. The contrast of textures was delightful: the softness of the potatoes and of the octopus combined with the crispness of the slightly steamed celery and the sweet acidity of the tomatoes left a delicate, fresh and balanced aftertaste in the mouth.
So far, so good. Curious to know how the lunch proceeded?
Just two words: very well! We were both impressed by their homemade pasta, mouthwatering. We both had spaghetti, but Vito's were thinner and with no egg, while mine were a sort of mix between tagliatelle and spaghetti, anyway: delicious.
The consistency of the pasta was just right and it was cooked perfectly al dente. Take a look:
As you ca see, Vito had spaghetti with clams. The clams were local, in Venice we call them bevarasse, and they are a little smaller than other clams, of a lighter grey colour and characterised by a more intense flavour. The sautéed sauce was viscous and creamy, pure pleasure.
While, as you already know, I ordered fresh pasta with tuna, taggische olives (a smaller variety of olives with no pit from Liguria) and a cherry tomato sauce; I was glad about my choice. The tuna was fresh (not canned, but arriving straight from the Rialto market) and it was cut by hand in thick pieces. The quantity of fish was very generous and I have to say that the tuna was cooked perfectly, soft but still firm. And this is good, because there is nothing I hate more than overcooked and rubbery fish...
The sauce was flavourful yet delicate, the acidity of the tomato was calibrated by the cooking water and everything amalgamated exquisitely.
Both pastas were superb. In general, I greatly appreciate the choice of proposing a shorter menu but to assure high quality dishes. You should know that in Venice there are some clear signs that signal that a place is a fake, some of these are: posters with pictures of the food, very long menus and a waiter outside insistently inviting you to go in. Remember that, unless you go to a hotel or a high end restaurant, a long menu is often synonym of frozen food. And please, keep in mind that things such as spaghetti bolognese and macaroni and cheese are not Italian dishes, they are American inventions.
At Trattoria alla Fontana the only thing that is frozen is ice. The attention paid to the sourcing of ingredients is a must, here quality wins over quantity.
The pasta was gone and the wine finished, but, although the dessert menu was very inviting, we decided to stop there. We aren't very big eaters at lunch time, we tend to relax more in the evening. Anyway, the next time I'll go I want to try their Tiramisù.
In my opinion, Tiramisù is the litmus test or proof of the pudding of the cooking philosophy of a restaurant. This dessert is so well known and loved that 99% or bars, pizzerias and restaurants propose it in their menu. But only few make a really good one. So, now I have another excuse to go back.
Before leaving, we drank an espresso and a grappa by Capovilla, my favourite producer in the Bassano area. His grappa is very nice, but -if you have the occasion- try his fruit distillates.