Tag Archives: best osteria

THE BEST SECRET VENICE OSTERIA

1 May

English: The bow of a godola in venice

The handsome, perspiring gondolier cheerfully explained the day’s primi (appetizer) and secondi (main course) before taking our order. Wandering just off St. Mark’s Square in Venice, in the midst of throngs of tourists awaiting gondola rides in the humid, 100 degree heat, I noticed a nondescript open door set back from the canal. Curious, I thought—if this was a restaurant, it might provide a memorable experience. Indeed, it was one of the highlights of the trip to Venice. The male owner gestured for us to be seated while serving two tables filled with gondoliers and another table with local, smartly-dressed women. With no written menus, the owner shared the daily offerings. Due to our limited Italian, even hand signals were not enough to understand the day’s menu. To the rescue came a gondolier who sprung from his seat, translated the menu options, took our order and served us our wine! As more locals entered, each immediately went behind the small bar and retrieved water, wine or sodas. In the meantime our food was being skillfully cooked by the owner’s mother in the small kitchen in the back. Keeping a watchful eye over the family’s osteria is the Nona (grandma) whose large picture hangs in a prominent position near the entrance. The wafting aroma of garlic and fresh herbs signaled the impending arrival of our meals. The homemade pastas, grilled chicken and lamb were simple, yet delectable, the hallmark of good Italian cuisine. The locals appeared to be running tabs, but we settle “il cuonto” with cash, as no credit cards are taken. I don’t recall the name of the establishment and couldn’t find it on any restaurant websites or travel resources. Even if I knew its name, I wouldn’t reveal the location of this local gem.