Having been to many places in the intervening weeks I still found myself drawn back to comment on this experience. We've since been to Majorca and naturally I intend to talk about that. In the meantime I must get this down now.
Although it's unlikely that I'll ever forget.
Like I said previously we tried to get a reservation at Osteria alle Testiere for dinner but as it was fully booked we had settle for the next day. After the wonderful experience at Bistrot de Venise I was both hopeful, because I now knew that the food here could be wonderful, and cautious, because I thought there can't be any way that our experiences could be matched. I should have been more optimistic.
Osteria alle Testiere
This small seafood restaurant isn't fancy or luxurious, but it has an air of quality that I've encountered before; at dell'Omo.
Imagine my eager anticipation.
Well it's been too long to remember exactly what we had and the website menu is unavailable to jog my memory so this is an approximation. The names don't really matter...
We can't remember! It was nice though.
Z: Prawns in sweet and sour sauce
A: Sea bass
I have to say - I'm not a fan of sweet and sour in the West. It's just not done right in my opinion and I wouldn't have chosen sweet and sour in Venice of all places. Despite this it was quite nice. A little too vinegary for my taste but Z enjoyed it and the prawns were, of course, cooked just right.
My bass on the other hand was fantastic. I chose it because I'm more often than not disappointed with it in the UK but I should have known that the Italians know what they are doing and in particular; this restaurant knows what it's doing. So I have to be careful here; this was the best bass I have have ever had, hands down. But it's not the best meal I've ever had. Perhaps it's my lack of experience with bass but this was just wonderful. Juicy and moist but not wet, tender but not disintegrating, fresh and tasty and utterly disarming.
It's a shame the wine we had here wasn't really up to much.
I had to convince Z to have a tiramisu because when Bistrot de Venise turned out not to have any Z was very disappointed. Yet here, where they have it, Z initially didn't want to try it. I was right and it was pretty much perfect and it was alcohol free.
The prize for best location goes to Riviera. It's not on the Grand Canal, which would be gauche. No, it's on the even bigger canal at the north of Venice and half of the outside tables are right on the water's edge.
It's impressive and you might think that it's all show and no action. You'd be wrong and you'd soon know it - before you order a trolley of fresh seafood is brought for you to choose from with fish, shellfish, the odd lobster. We ordered off the menu and this one is bookmarked for going back to and doing it properly. There was only time for a one course lunch by the water and what a shame that was.
Main (and only course)
A: Black (squid ink) gnocchi and scampi.
Z: Ricotta and spinach ravioli
The menu changes so you likely won't find these on there all year around.
The gnocchi was good, the accompaniments were good. The scampi was perfection and it's only flaw was that it was so, so good every scampi dish I have from now on is bound to be a disappointment. I don't know how they do this but it's kitchen wizardry and no doubt about it. Just cooked and delightfully sweet by virtue of this, the scampi was otherworldly. I didn't know it could be so tender, so soft and flavoursome. I'm afraid to attempt this for fear of undercooking but the chef here is clearly a master and this is one of the reasons I want to go back.
Z's ravioli was also wonderful but I didn't care for anything at that point; I ate my scampi so slowly Z thought I was being silly. I wasn't. It had to be savoured with care. This won't happen to me again anytime soon.
Venice, we salute you. The food was, and this is no exaggeration, amazing.