There’s been a lot of fuss about Venetian restaurants lately but, personally, I keep finding amazing places where to eat! In fact, the past weekend Vito and I tried a new spot in campo San Giacomo dell’Orio and literally loved it. The restaurant is called La Patatina and it opened about 2 years ago. Anyway, for us it was the first time.
Located in the centre of the campo, La Patatina is an elegant restaurant offering quality food and wine. The space is considerably big for Venice, with outdoor seating in the campo (great in summer), two modern indoor rooms and a beautiful back courtyard, covered and heated in winter. The furniture is refined and modern, the lighting soft and the service attentive.
The first impression was good. I arrived early and drank a glass of Cabernet Franc while waiting. The managers are two brothers who have been in the business for ages, in fact they also manage the other –more rustic- Patatina in San Polo.
When Vito arrived we chose the table next to the window and had another glass of wine. Within a few minutes we were brought the menu and some bread and as soon as we had chosen, the kitchen sent a small welcome. How nice: soft white polenta with local clams sautéed with a slightly spicy tomato concentrate. Delicious! A small gesture that made a huge difference.
With regard to our starter, I don’t know if you are into raw fish, but we are! We asked for a selection of raw fish to share, but the portion was so generous that we didn’t know where to begin. There were umbrine, sea-bass and salmon carpaccio, then we both got three scampi, three red Mazara del Vallo prawns, one oyster, a smooth clam and a Venus clam each. Oh my gosh, it was superb! The only things we didn’t eat were the shells, but for the rest nothing remained on our plates!
For his main Vito ordered a frittura mista, the dish he always gets the first time he tries a restaurant, the one preparation that will establish whether the place is up to his standards or not. Well, La Patatina passed the test! What’s important for us is the variety of fish, its freshness and the dryness of the fry. This frittura had local barboni (red mullets), small sardines, calamari, prawns and a fillet and it was really good, well fried and “light”. It was accompanied with soft polenta and, for a little bit of freshness, we also asked for a salad.
My main was a grilled bream that must have weighed at least half a kilo, served with vegetables and roasted potatoes aside. Wow! I wasn’t expecting such a big fish. The fish was cleaned on a tray in front of my eyes, with firm and precise moves. Vito asked to keep the head, he likes to eat the cheeks and –yes, I know, it’s a quite disagreeable act- the eyes of the fish. While I love the cheeks too, I’m concerned about the eyes, but I suppose the positive side is that I always have a tester that guarantees my food is fresh.
The vegetables were lovely, served with edible flowers, and the potatoes perfect, tender inside and crispy outside. I think they had been boiled and then roasted, which is the only way to obtain that type of texture without using animal fats (at least that I’m aware of).
We were feeling satisfied. We ended our meal with a glass of Scottish whiskey while deciding what to do next. In case you are wandering, the bill was 108 euros, which places La Patatina among the medium-high range quality options. Honestly, I can’t complain about the price because considering what we ate, the service and the location I think it’s right. A lovely gourmet treat in a beautiful location.
When we left we headed back towards Rialto and stopped at Ca’ Pesaro to see the temporary exhibition of paintings by Venetian artist Luciano Zarotti inaugurated on the 20th of January, but there are plenty of things you could do. For some more inspiration, have a look at my Rialto – San Giacomo dell’Orio round trip post on The Venice Insider blog.
Going back to food and restaurants, La Patatina is a great option if you are looking for a gourmet experience in an elegant location, ideal for an intimate dinner and if you want to impress. Fresh fish, excellent wine and lovely vibe. Highly recommended!
Address: Santa Croce, Campo San Giacomo dell’Orio, 1587, 30125 Venezia VE