Thanks for sharing your blog post and recommendations! Its good to see that you are travelling again.
I think I wll make reservations on this visit of 5 days - made the first for Alle Testiere, which we have never visited. We have a lot to revisit and I am particularly looking forward to visiting the Lagoon islands with a view to birdwatching and a visit to Alla Maddalena as well as seeing Torcello again. I was last in Venice in 2015 on a lagoon-based Uniworld Cruise with my Mom, which included private visits to San Marco and the Accademia (good, not crowded) and an attempt to navigate with her through the passages to the Rialto Bridge (a painful ordeal, this was in season). For my husband its been several years longer.
Finishing up our 5th and final day in Venice staying in lovely Cannareggio. One restaurant meal a day. All very, very good. These were all lunches achieved without a res, except at Alle Testiere which we booked ahead. All half carafes except for, again Alle Testiere, all white except at Alla Zucca.
First and last meals at Vini da Gigio, the seafood mixed appetizer, bigoli with duck ragu fora primo and aplatters of grilled eel laid over a veg sautéed and fegato alla veneziana as secondi. Every element of the meal was fresh and full of flavor, a high level of cooking and service. The bread basket was particularly nice and their practice of including a wide assortment of wines by the half carafe, along with their very deep wine list was admirable. We went back today and had a very delicate sarde in saor, delicious spider crab sauced tagliolini, a very correct and fresh mixed frittura of seafood and vegetables and a very deeply flavored, wonderful actually, stewed seppie in its ink. Very nice hospitality, warmed up when they realized we were enjoying their cooking.
Second destination was Alla Maddalena on Mazzorbo as part of a day spent in Torcello, Mazzorbo and Burano. We enjoyed the absolutely classic presentations of mixed seafood appetizers, risotto al go (goby fish) and mixed grill of fish served there by the kind and professional staff. They serve with pride and deliver! Our cheapest meal, around 70€ thanks to ordering the house white.
Over the years, vini da Gigio has become my favorite–somewhat due to the consistency of freshness and wine choices.
We will be back in Venice for 3 weeks in April and plan to try Alla Maddalena.
I will add to this thread.
Day three was the Accademia and Alle Testiere. Yes it is cramped and they take some risks in their innovation within the classic cuisine but the suberb quality of the hospitality and food make it a wonderful experience. They offer both a set of classic dishes and their own innovative treatments - we ordered a mix of these. As antipasti we had their vongole verace dish cooked with fresh ginger and a tepid squid and puntarelle salad with a slightly (I think) sesame paste tinged dressing and a sesame seed garnish. All the ingredients were impeccable and the dishes delicious but I could not get around the feeling I was eating a chinese seafood dish with the clams slightly overwhelmed by the ginger, my husband disagreed. Didnt keep me deom mopping up the sauce with their good bread! Likewise it took me a couple of forkfuls to get into the salad -but i adjusted, stopped analyzing and started really appreciating and enjoying it how the fishy, nutty sweet anf bitter flavors merged and complemented one another. Similarly our next dish, a fine plate of gnoccchi with tiny squidlike critters hit me with a very strong cinnamon fragrance at the start, which merged with the savory rich sea flavors of the sauce for a very enjoyable dish.Our traditional roasted fish platter for 2 was perfectly prepared with monkfish, sea bream sole , scampi and shrimp, the grilled green and red chicory which the kind server urged us to order (they have a significant vegetable choice) was delicious and my finishing panna cotta with strawberries was fresh and a perfect light close. At some point I stopped taking pix, the room was getting convivial and the very nice and reasonably priced Manzoni Bianco Veneto blend (riesling and pinot bianco) was taking hold but you get the idea. An experience not to miss.
The last meal of the set was at Alla Zucca, which proved they are still turning out delicious food in their rich, non-fishy vein. They offer a huge range of interesting veg apps , primi and contorni, using their wonderful local produce, mostly decidedly not vegan as many are enriched deliciously with butter, nuts and a range of cheeses. Their flesh offerings too are varied with our menu including guinea hen, duck, veal tongue and rabbit as well as more common meats. We ordered their classic zucca (Pumpkin) flan, served with smoked grated ricotta, pumpkin seeds and brown butter, missing the sage I remembered which would have balanced off the cinnamon touch a bit more., to start paired with a perfect plate of tagliolini with gorgonzola, cream and toasted pistachios. Our main coursed of rabbit perfectly roasted with aromatic herbs and Jim’s improbably tender and tasty veal tongue paired with braised chicory followed. It would have been plenty but then the contorni, a luscious dish of steamed and chopped broccoli/caulifower romana, blended with butter and melted cheese and topped with toasted almonds arrived along with a dish of potatoes and radicchio similarly enriched. It was too much! Next time I will go for the braised chicory or peperonata with eggplant for one of the choices! Meal was a good deal under 100€ with a tasty house red. very civilized spot, and has been a difficult res for us in the past and we lucked into a spot because of a no show.
Conclusion, as always there are places I am sorry to miss, new and old. go at lunch if you can, easier to experience the special places then. Its still a special place to eat with its seafood specialties and remarkable market gardens. Try to get the special stuff. There are little soft shell green crabs coming in now. We missed them. They and the moscardini, tiny octopi , and schie, tiny grey shrimp, are special - get them if you can.