Il RidottoVenice | Italy

  • added: Apr 12 2010
  • author: foodsketches
  • comments:
Editor's choiceHidden jewel
There was something very intimate & inviting in this “smallness” of the place. The hostess brought us the menu – both in Italian and English. It was not a lengthy document, nor was it one of those thick books.. Menu was a nicely done 2 page cover with primarily seasonal products for antipasti, primi piatti & main course ...

Before going to Venice, as usual, we decided to do a little bit of research about the gastronomical arena in the city. After checking numerous websites and recommendations by true Venetians, our choice was finalised. The weather in Venice was rather crisp & to be frank – cold; luckily for us there was no rain! This certainly was a challenge as we did not bring too many warm things... Hunger was getting worse and the only solution was to courageously walk out & opt for a speedy walk across the city to the restaurant. Getting on Vaporetto was not a choice as we would have turned into an icicle by the time the boat would have brought us there. After 10 minutes of intense walking , things started to improve! It felt nicely warm and the idea of good Italian dinner was helping us to accelerate even more. Finally we appeared in front of the restaurant door and the 1st thing that caught our attention was a red sticker stating “Michelin guide 2010”. This only reinforced our expectations of the place & we opened the door. The place was not big, but looked very cosy. Walls were done of “aged” brick paired with the warm cream colors of modern chairs; ceiling was a typical Venetian wooden work. The hostess took us directly to our table which was 10 seconds walk from the entrance. It was only after we sat down that we realised that the place had only 5 tables!

One wall was entirely covered with a mirror which made the place look more spacious than it really was. However, there was something very intimate & inviting in this “smallness” of the place. The hostess brought us the menu – both in Italian and English. It was not a lengthy document, nor was it one of those thick books.. Menu was a nicely done 2 page cover with primarily seasonal products for antipasti, primi piatti & main course... a desert menu was yet to come... We started to explore the offerings; in the meantime we were served a plate of different breads and the amuse-bouche from the chef arrived. It was served by the chef (Gianni Bonaccorsi) himself & he explained to us that it was a Venetian style dish made of minced bread with fresh tomatoes & olive oil topped with a few steamed mussels. The dish looked very appetizing not to mention the aroma... and when we had our first bites we were more than pleased. It was delicate, fragrant and yet somehow rustic Italian. We ordered our meals and toasted to an enjoyable evening with a glass of Prosecco. It was recommended to us by Gianni and was from a very small wine producer. Prosecco was divine. It had a flavour of summer flowers & berries and left such a creamy freshness in the mouth! We no longer complained about the cold weather, nor did we feel tired. Looking around we noticed that we were not the only ones enjoying this warm atmosphere and good food. People at one of the neighbouring tables spoke English and we heard them commenting on their food – both were very pleased with their starters as well as with the choice of the wine (recommended by the chef). We were getting already jealous of them! And soon our starters arrived. I was having steamed selection of local seafood served on a thin layer of mashed potatoes and my husband ordered scampi millefeulle served with the chef’s interpretation of a vegetable & fruit salad. Both presentations were tastefully done and served on big white porcelain plates accompanied by true silverware which is not so common these days (with an exception of a few Michelin stars restaurants, of course). Water glasses also deserve to be noted as they were hand made from Venetian glass and each glass had a unique pattern. I certainly could not miss an opportunity to taste my husband’s starter. And when I did, it became very clear to me that his was something extraordinary. Scampi millefeulle was made out of raw thinly sliced scampi which was wrapped around a filling of egg & melted bread accompanied by a salad made of tiny zucchini cubes, small pieces of blackberry and strawberry; all seasoned with olive oil & good balsamic vinegar. Such a combination - crunchy in nature & very summer-flavoured - was a perfect pairing for the melting texture of the scampi. 1:0 in favour of my husband starter!

As many of you may know Italians have a very special place for pasta on the menu. Pasta is offered as a 2nd starter before your main course. Those of us who are brave & trained certainly go for this traditional version of the Italian meal – my husband was no exception. I decided to spare myself & save some room for desert (a surprise yet to come!). The pasta he ordered was Piedmontese special pasta with lamb ragu. The size of the portion was very reasonable and I also managed to get a bite. Pasta had a beautiful dough consistency and ragu was done to perfection! The only thing that was missing, to our opinion, was a presentation of the meal. It could have been served with a piece of fresh rosemary, for example, or some shredded parmesan... On to the next! For the main course we both picked the same thing – local squid stuffed with vegetables and paired with steamed spinach. Vegetables were all ground into a consistency of a mash. The squid was grilled itself, however, the meat was very tender as the mashed vegetables gave a lot of juice during the cooking. A really fine taste and a great spring combination. After 1,5 hours of continuous eating we needed a longer break. I was not ready to give up the desert and I must say it was worth it. Desert menu had only a few items as well as a short but good selection of desert wines. Finally my husband & I agreed on a pistachio desert. The desert was brought to us on a white plate and comprised of 3 masterpieces: pistachio sorbet; small pistachio warm cake & pistachio semifreddo with chunks of pistachio. The combination of different textures, different temperatures and yet the same ingredient was mouthwatering. The cake was almost melting in your mouth and if you paired it with semifreddo, this nice creamy liquid, it felt as if you are eating a good pistachio fondant & then you finish it with a small spoon of fresh & invigorating sorbet ...

It was certainly an evening to remember and we heartily thanked Gianni for such a memorable meal. As we enjoyed the food so much, we were hoping to get a small peak into the kitchen. And it was possible! The kitchen was just as small as the restaurant and there were 3 people working in it including the chef himself. There is certainly something about the intimacy of this place. On one hand you felt being part of the cooking team, an on the other, the cooking team was charging you with their love & passion for the local food. Such enthusiasm is contagious and I am happy that there are places like this!

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  • Campo SS Filippo e Giacomo
    Castello 4509
    30122 Venezia
  • +39 41 5208280
  • Restaurant