Venetian Wanderings | Episode 28: Pane e Vino San Daniele in Calle dei Boteri
Sometimes, as my mother says, good things simply just happen by chance and today, for the first time, I went to Pane e Vino San Daniele in Calle dei Boteri, two minutes from Rialto. This cozy restaurant has been open for ages (since 2003) but, maybe because -in the end, I'm a creature of habits- I tend to go the places I know, I had never been here before. My husband, instead, used to be a regular client, long before he met me. (Maybe I should ask myself why, then...in 10 years he never brought me here, but I think I'm just going to look the other way!).
As the name suggests, the cuisine is the one of Friuli Venezia Giulia and the focus is meat and, of course, San Daniele prosciutto and other cold cuts. The wines too are mainly from that region, characterised by a full body and lovely scents, particularly the aromatic white wines (even though I prefer red wine, like Schioppettino). The restaurant is located in the heart of the city, but being at the far end of a Calle it's lovely and calm. Lots of locals come here for their aperitif and enjoy a long chat with the staff.
It was so hot that, incredibly, I didn't feel very hungry, but Vito ordered for two, so I imagine this balanced things. We sat outdoors, under the shade, and relaxed sipping a beer and dreaming of our holidays (in July!!!! Can't wait!). While waiting, I couldn't refrain myself from eating their delicious bread made with the pizza dough and the taralli, small roundish breadsticks with olive oil. Seriously addictive, but a lovely git to take home from Italy!
As a starter, we shared a plate of San Daniele served with pickled peppers. Oh my... I apologise for my lack of imagination but the only word that comes to my mind to describe prosciutto is mouthwatering and this variety is so tender and soft that it slowly melts in the mouth... yum! Prosciutto di San Daniele really is a worth trying food, it has no preservatives or additives and it's made, according to tradition, only with sea salt and the meat of pigs bread in Italy, in the small town in the province of Udine, obviously fed with gmo-free and natural fodder.
After this tasty appetiser I had a dish of marinated sardines with yellow polenta and grilled veggies: simple, tasty and exactly what I was looking for. I had this as a main, but consider that in their menu it's actually a starter, and the veggies -aubergines, zucchini and bell peppers- a side.
Anyway, I enjoyed it! Vito, who has been craving meat lately, asked for a roasted pork with potatoes and rosemary. Really good! I know I said I wasn't hungry, but I had to taste it and it was delicious. The meat was cooked perfectly, nice and moist in the inside and crunchy on the outside. Plus, the fat of the meat enveloped the potatoes making them gorgeously sticky and tasty. I could tell that the quality of the meat was good because it wasn't salty in itself. Thumbs up!
We skipped dessert and opted for a small grappa. Everything was lovely and the slight breeze made our lunch perfect, we had no hurry to leave. The food was very good, but the best part of this place is the staff: Willy, the owner, and the cook, both friendly and helpful, available to chat if you want to but also very attentive to leaving clients enjoy their privacy. I still find it incredibile that I have lived in Venice nearly all my life and I had stopped here only once. Luckily today we rediscovered it and will surely return soon.
So, if you are close to Rialto and want to savour some delicious Italian prosciutto, cured meats, warm dishes and good quality Italian wines, Pane e Vino San Daniele is definitely a great option! Excellent value for money. Highly recommend it.
Address: San Polo, Calle dei Botteri, 1544, 30125 Venezia
Phone: +39 380 410 8446