Venetian Wanderings | Episode 17: Fritoin del Gondoliere
Post Updated on July 14, 2018 - This place is now closed
Everyone complains that Venice is expensive. On the one hand there is some truth in this statement, but on the other I must say that there are also lots of places that offer great food at an excellent value for money rate. Really, it's not necessary to spend a lot to eat well and, if you are into street food, you should really consider stopping at Fritoin del Gondolier.
Located in campo Santi Apostoli, this tiny place specialises in fresh pasta and gnocchi and fried food. It was opened some months ago by Donato, the owner of Riccio Peoco, another very popular bar close by.
At Fritoin del Gondolier you will be welcomed by the warm smile of two lovely ladies wearing the typical gondolier's black and white striped t-shirt and by the owner himself, wearing the red version of the same t-shirt, normally engaged in pasta making or some other preparation.
To underline the authenticity of this fried food shop, outside there is the Gonfalone of the Most Serene Republic of Venice, showcasing a proud Saint Mark's lion with his paw on an open book (which meant that Venice was in peace)! Obviously great attention is paid to tradition, in fact you will find dishes like bigoi in salsa (a thick type of spaghetti with an anchovy and onion sauce) and spaghetti al nero di seppia (spaghetti with the squid's ink), mixed fried fish and other Venetian delicacies like the famous mozzarella in carrozza (two slices of white bread with no crust normally stuffed with anchovy or ham and mozzarella cheese, then fried. At Fritoin del Gondolier they also have a version with baccalà! O M G!!! That you must try!).
Not to mention my husband's favourite: the tiny squares of fried cream! Simply mouthwatering, pure pleasure. Something really traditional, an "old" taste. Fried cream is also one of the ingredients of the renown "fritto misto all'italiana", which is a traditional poor dish -prepared in different ways in different regions- composed of fried offal, seasonal veggies and sweet ingredients like apples, pears or cream.
You should try at least one of these little fried creams! Believe me, they're addictive.
Anyway, the choice of opting for a short menu with fresh food and to keep fair prices is winning. No wonder there is always a long queue ...
I had a pasta: spaghetti with curry, prawns and aubergines. May I say something? Boy, that was good! The spaghetti were nice and thick, with a super yummy texture and the curry left a pleasant aftertaste. The sauce was really nice too.
A great alternative to the usual sandwich and you definitely won't be starving afterwards. The portions are generous and the dishes filling. There are some benches close by, but I doubt you'll find a free space... I just eat standing outside, there are two quite narrow "counters" on the windows and I normally stay there.
The atmosphere is friendly and bustling, the furniture is simple and bright and the place, as already said, really tiny. It used to be an electrician shop, then a soap shop and then a mask and souvenir shop, but it never really worked (well, it did with the electrician). Now... it's always crowded with people!
There has been a great diffusion of take away pasta and fried food shops in Venice lately, but only few offer quality food and Fritoin del Gondoliere is definitely one of them. I find it a great option for my lunch break: affordable and good! So, don't worry: even if you are on a budget, you can still get a taste of our traditional Venetian cuisine.
I recommend this place to anyone curious about traditional Venetian street food. It's great for families, groups of students and workers.
Very popular among locals too! I discovered that many of my friends order a mixed dish of fried fish to take home, so it could be an excellent option also if you are staying in an apartment and don't want to do all the food shopping and cooking you'd normally do at home.
Address: Fondamenta Trapolin, 4544, 30121 Venezia