Venetian Wanderings | Episode 25: Alla Vedova
As you may know, this is the week of the Biennale openings in Venice and the city is wild! My husband works for a company that manages historical venues and organises events...so you can imagine he is crazy busy right now; he has been working non-stop since last Saturday and this evening there is the final -and most important- event, so for lunch he just wanted to sit down and relax in front of a nice traditional Venetian lunch: no frills, he wanted the real stuff.
His office is at the Abbazia della Misericordia, in the Cannaregio district, so we went to Trattoria Alla Vedova, one of the most known and spoken about restaurants in Venice, a certainty: same owners, same staff and delicious traditional old-style food. I don't know if this post is actually going to add anything new, take it as a further confirmation of the deliciousness of their dishes and the charme of the place.
I love every corner of this trattoria: dark wood, art prints on the walls, copper pots and pans hanging from the ceiling, flowers, old Venice maps and strange arty objects. This is the sort of place I go to when I come back from a holiday, the type of restaurant that knows what tradition is. Plus, the owners are very knowledgeable and passionate about art and history, in fact I can go as far as to say that this trattoria is governed by a tidy and creative mess.
Alla Vedova is extremely popular for its polpette -fried meatballs-, the best in all of Venice, garlicky at the right point, crunchy on the outside and soft and tender in the inside, made softer by the addition of a little bit of potato. Warning: these gold and brown delicacies are mouthwatering and addictive.
An unmissable quintessential culinary experience in Venice!
It's quite typical for us to come here for an ombra and a polpetta before going home for dinner. In the evening the street can get so crowded that passing by sometimes seems impossible! Anyway, today we sat down and had a proper meal.
Everyone in Venice must have been at some sort of event, so the restaurant was wonderfully -and incredibly- quiet, with the usual locals having their drink and daily gossip and a few groups of people sitting at their table.
I wanted to have fish and vegetables, so I ordered the "misto mare", with lots of different delicacies! This is a traditional starter in Venice and I tend to get it often; at home I generally cook one thing, while with the antipasto misto I get to savour a little bit of everything! Just look at my plate, isn't it comforting? Fresh local fish simply steamed or boiled and dressed with a few drops of extra virgin olive oil and parsley. Lemon aside. Amazing. If the fish is fresh...the less one messes with it, the better it is!
The plate may seem small, but it actually had an interesting variety of fish: there was a little bit of octopus salad with potatoes, a grilled baby squid (so good...I adore baby squids), a boiled baby octopus, a piece of grilled tuna, one squill fish with a lot of coral and my favourite, the latti di seppia, cuttlefish eggs. This is what I call home food.
As veggies I asked for peas and fondi di carciofo, the heart of the artichoke, another local delicacy, something you can have just in Venice. Fondi di carciofo are one of my preferred vegetables, they are a bit pricey (around 0,70-0,80 cents per piece at the market) but I buy them quite often... If you are in Venice, you really ought to try these dark green artichokes.
Vito, instead, had a pasta: spaghetti alla busara, with tomato sauce and prawns, lightly spicy. Busara is a traditional Istrian dish; the origin of the name is uncertain, some say it was a terracotta or iron pot used by sailors to cook soups, others say it derives from the word intruglio (mixture of things) and others say it derives from the dialect word buzzo, meaning stomach. To be honest, I haven't got a clue about who's right, what I know is that it's good !!!
The pasta was well enveloped by the tomato sauce and firm to the bite, delicious and filling, for people who appreciate strong flavours. The portion was generous and the sauce super tasty, I loved the fresh chilly and the sweetness released by the prawns.
As you can see from the photos, both presentation and plating are very simple. The focus is entirely on food and I have to say that I have never remained disappointed.
The prices are medium range, to give you an idea, for these three courses, two meatballs, a glass of Cabernet sauvignon, half a litre of house wine and some natural water we spent about 50 euros. The quality of the fish is excellent and the atmosphere unique.
Trattoria alla Vedova is perfect if you want to get a taste of authentic Venetian cuisine and enjoy some good wine. Booking highly recommended!
Address: Calle Cà d'Oro, 3912, 30121 Venezia
Phone: +39 041 528 5324
Closed on Thursday