My 30’s have been rather UK bound to date and coinciding nicely with a London heatwave, we head to Venice for a Med break.
A friend has recommended that we pay a visit to L’osteria di Santa Marina, a restaurant he declared as one of the best & most reasonable authentic joints in Venice (And so agree Trip Advisor, Lonely Planet, Timeout and many more) and it is here we set off on a warm Friday night.
Our Italian friend has been kind enough to reserve us a table outside and it is so much the better to soak up the atmosphere.
We opt for the Traditional Tasting menu amongst a wide variety of tasting menus, including a more carnivorous one for those seafood averse which I thought was a nice touch.
Greetings from the kitchen came in the form of a simple (or so we thought) potato soup with a touch of 2 perfect anchovy fillets and a drizzle of pesto. We used the bread to mop it up, leaving soupy remnants is not an option.
Cichetti up next – Cichetti being the Italian version of Tapas. These are seafood themed, we have crab meat salad, prawn deep fried in a coating of angel hair pasta, scallop au gratin and a crab mousse. I think my favourite would have to be the crab flavoured ones, although of course Husband begs to differ and has plumped for the scallop & prawn.
Now this course continues to mystify me – it doesn’t feature on the menu and of course I failed to write down the name when told.
Some canny googling reveals it to be Razor Clams; which is far from what I had expected – my only prior experience being an occasional dose of clam-topped sushi.
This was meaty but tubular and with a resemblance to calamari, it was served simply grilled with lemon juice and some crunchy garlic couscous.
This next course was not a favourite – I wanted to save precious tummy space for more preferred courses and seafood sauce doesn’t hit my top list. Husband (Naturally) disagreed and polished off the lot.
Now for the mains – Tempura’d Squid & Courgette slices. The batter was light and perfect and tasty but my heathen tastebuds did long for a squeeze of lemon. And I don’t even want to confess to wanting some mayo.
Also not featuring on the menu, a palate cleanser of tangerine sorbet. I would have been happy with that alone as a dessert!
Dessert – well worth the wait.
Hazelnut torte layered with cream and ice cream and an almond biscotti was a happy blend of rich without being overpowering and offered a sugar hit to see us through the walk home.
And just as we thought there couldn’t possibly be any more food arriving, along come the petit fours. In the name of research,we had to sample them and my favourite would be the pistachio madeleine look-alike masquerading as a macaroon.
By now, there was a strong chance I could have lain my head down and snoozed on the table so very well satisfied, we called it a night.
A real treat to experience where the locals ate and drank, we had a really special evening without breaking the bank. The restaurant is not hard to find, Google Maps is a trusty advisor and its only a short walk from St Marks square.
We’ll be back one day.