Relaxing at AMO by Alajmo inside the Fondaco dei Tedeschi
Most people go to the Fondaco dei Tedeschi to shop, but personally I like to go there to eat, drink and -particularly- chill out. Yesterday I had a free morning and mum suggested we do something together so we met and after visiting a museum, we decided to treat ourselves to a casual yet gourmet lunch at AMO - Alajmo.
The Fondaco is always an experience. So many things have been said, especially before its re-opening to the public with relative transformation from central post office to luxury shopping centre. Personally, what I can say is that I like it, that the restoration is awesome (yes, even the internal escalator), the view from the terrace terrific and the cafe really cool! Plus, if in the past I used to go there to pay my utility bills, now I go for my pre-dinner cocktail, which makes me feel much better!
As you know this is a historical venue that carries great importance for the city, the word fondaco (fontego in Venetian dialect) means warehouse, and this was the warehouse of the German community, founded around the XIII century for commercial purposes. I studied the facade at university because it was frescoed by Giorgione first (but then the fresco got ruined and now we have some fragments which keep being moved from one local state museum to the other) and eventually by Tiziano Vecellio. The pictorial decorations are not visible anymore (and haven't been for at least two centuries) and, if you allow me joke a little, we can say that currently, with its transformation in shopping centre, the venue has re-acquired its original status.
Four floors of boutiques: from cosmetics to fashion, from watches to food, a real paradise for shopping lovers. I will confess that occasionally I buy a fancy face cream, not that I believe it will actually help, but it does give me the illusion that I'm taking good care of myself, which is always positive! As already mentioned, when at the Fondaco, most of my money ends up at AMO's bar, in fact it is not rare for me and Vito to stop for an aperitif. Alajmo is the surname of a family from the mainland that became famous with their first -super fancy, super good and super worth the bill- restaurant called Calandre, located in the province of Padua (where they have other 3 restaurants, just check their website), while in Venice they have become renowned for the lavish tasting menu featured at the Caffè Quadri in Piazza San Marco (check their Carpe Diem offers for special discounts!) and, now, also for their easier-going cafeteria/restaurant AMO in Rialto.
Vito and I have always been big admirers, we particularly appreciate the creativity and originality of the dishes and the reinterpretation of traditional recipes. Besides, the choice of ingredients is top quality, really, and even simple preparations are enhanced by the natural flavours of the foods. Mum, on her side, eats here about 3 times a week with her boss, they sit at the bar and work with their laptops (there is free wifi) while enjoying teas and coffees and then, they have a small lunch. I wanted to go specifically to try their super vegan salad for the Vegan Restaurants and Eateries in Venice post I published yesterday and mum was simply enthusiastic about the idea of dining there. She ordered a delicious Italian onion soup with an incredible velvety and enveloping texture that contrasted perfectly with the crispness of the breadsticks. So good! And warm, ideal with this weather.
Then she continued with a rib-eye beef steak (precisely Fassona meat) with herbs and potatoes. Oh my gosh... yes, the meat was tender and moist, but the potatoes were to die for, so pleasantly fatty and crunchy. Y U M !!! With regard to myself, I tried the vegan salad (this dish is available only for lunch and it costs 9,50 - which, if you ask me, is very good value for money). One may think it doesn't seem as alluring as my mum's lunch, but it was actually great! Tasty, full of flavours, with contrasting textures and filling. It had ripe avocado, lots of different seeds, something that reminded me of hazelnut but I wasn't able to identify, a local variety of salad and a surprising dressing with a pinch of soy sauce and extra virgin olive oil. The bread and round spiced taralli served on the side were very good too, and you know that when it comes to bread I am really fussy.
We both drank tea, a habit that my Venetian friends will never really understand or -anyway- fully tolerate. In Italy with your meal you either drink water or wine, which can sometimes be replaced by beer, but tea is kept as a morning or afternoon treat. But I'm for the live and let live philosophy, thus I just do what I like without worrying too much! Unfortunately mum had to go back to work so she left, but I must say that our weekly meeting exceeded my expectations and now I have to think of something special to thank her.
I still had time, I didn't have to work and had arranged to meet a friend in the afternoon, so I seized the opportunity to go to the terrace. The day was chilly but sunny, with a clear and bright blue sky, and there didn't seem to be the usual long queue (which is worth the wait). In less than five minutes I was standing in front of one of the best views of the cities; just look: the Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge and all the rooftops, chimneys, tower bells and, all around, the waters of the lagoon.
No need to add any word, I'm sure the view alone says a lot more...
So, to conclude, what I can suggest is to stop at the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, enjoy a gourmet treat or a snack at AMO and climb up to the top floor to breathe in that unique magical atmosphere that Venice is able to convey.
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