Daily Archives: 13 April 2017

Ristoteca Oniga, and the Best Meal I Had in Venice

Restaurants in Venice are likely to be more famous for their high prices than for their great cuisine. It should be a first-rate seafood city, but Barcelona and New Orleans have no need to fear Venetian competition. Of the dozen or so places I tried, all of them highly recommended by Yelp, TripAdvisor, or other independent sources, only one of the full-service restaurants made me crave a second visit.*

That was Ristoteca Oniga, near Ca’ Rezzonico, in the Dorsoduro sestiere.

Like many of the restaurants in Venice, the exterior looks shabby and uninviting—Island weather conditions can be rough on buildings. I never made it inside, though, because it was a perfect spring day, and Oniga, which fronts on a pleasant square called Campo San Barnaba, has lots of outdoor seating.

Campo San Barnaba

Campo San Barnaba

Breads

Breads

A nice selection of fresh bread is always a good sign. I’d never seen those round baked goods that look like big Cheerios before, but I ate every crunchy one of them, and could have eaten more.

Mussels and Clams

Mussels and Clams

These sautéed mussels and clams with a tomato and garlic sauce made up the single best dish I had in Venice. The picture is deceptive in that it doesn’t convey the size of the serving. Those croutons, for instance, were the largest I’ve ever seen. I didn’t count the mussels, but the discarded shells filled two big bowls.

Monkfish

Monkfish

The shellfish starter set a high standard for anything that came later. The monkfish with tomatoes, olives, and capers, came close.


The people at the next table were from Los Angeles, and, like me, were delighted by the quality of the food, and impressed with the American-sized servings. We joked about being overwhelmed, and they let me take these pictures of what was left of their meal after five hungry adults had had a go at it.

Must also mention that the service was also excellent, and the server was exemplary.


*I’m specifying “full-service restaurants” to exclude things like cicetti bars and Venice’s multitudinous gelato shops, which are irresistible and addicting. It was a rare day in Venice that I passed up a double scoop of wonderful.

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Odds and Ends at Mocenigo Palazzo

In what seems like a familiar story, Palazzo Mocenigo was the home of a branch of the powerful Mocenigo family—seven family members became doges—for more than 300 years. The line died out in the mid-20th century, and the palace was willed to the city on the death of the last Mocenigo widow, with the stipulation that it become an art gallery to complement Museo Correr.

Today the museum is the home of the Study Centre for the History of Textiles and Costumes.* It also houses a mixture of partially restored period rooms, with their contents largely drawn from other Venice museums, and a small but fascinating section devoted to the history of perfume in Venice’s society and commerce.

A reconstruction of a perfumer’s workshop.

From the costume collection.

Remember the door that I plotted to steal from Ca’ Rezzonico? These waistcoats are worthy of that door.

I’ve decided that once I smuggle the door past customs and install it at home, I’m going to establish a detailed dress code for anyone who uses it. Vests like these will be required; if you think you can enter wearing your ratty black Ramones t-shirt, forget about it.


Murano, of course, like the picture at the top of the posting. They’ve been making chandeliers like this for centuries, but the design looks absolutely contemporary


*You can see some beautiful examples from the collection on the Mocenigo Palazzo’s page at the Google Arts and Culture site.