Le Bistrot de Venise

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Liam Hetherington on February 14, 2007

I am going to propose in Venice. And I am going to propose in le Bistrot de Venise.

What a superb restaurant. For someone who inclines more to the budget and economy sectors when travelling, let me just say that if you are intending to have a blowout in Venice, or if you have a certain special someone in your life, this is the place to take them.

Upon entering it is clear that this is not going to be a cheap meal. As you might spot from the name, the atmosphere aims more towards an upscale French bistro. Modern art on the walls, subdued classical music, waiting staff in black tie, and dressed up couples holding hands between courses. Across from my table the restaurant's award-winning cookbook (only available in French) was displayed. The restaurant specializes in traditional historic Venetian dishes culled from old documents and Goldoni plays. I went for the €55 menu degustazione to try a bit of everything.

1) Pre-starter. A nice thick chewy lump of octopus in a hearty mushroom sauce.

2) Starter. A flaky filo pastry crown containing prawns, grapes, and what tasted like the filling of a chicken-and-mushroom pie. The prawns were dense and juicy.

3) Zuppa. A white rice-flour soup called Bramagere that tasted quite grainy. It was flavoured with roast chicken and flaked almonds, and decorated with jewel-like pomegranite seeds that exploded tartly in the mouth.

4) Main course. Lamb. Delicious lamb. Crispy on the outside, juicy in the centre, with a light orange sauce. You could really taste the lamb's melt-in-the-mouth succulence. It came with what I thought was polenta but turned out to be pumpkin (bleeargh!) and some candied orange.

5) Pre-dessert. A test-tube style affair of delicate cream with a chewy purple thing on top (actually a walnut!)

6) Dessert. An orange mousse with a little parcel of sweet meats.

7) Aperitif. Satsuma liqueur served in a chocolate thimble.

They have a wine list thicker than a phone directory, but to be honest, for just one wine would have been overkill. A bottle of mineral water is really sufficient to cleanse the palate between courses and prepare you for the next treat.

The damage? €55 + €3 for water + €5 for a spritz + 12% tax. With a Venice card you then get a 10% discount. In total I paid almost £50. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Yes. The tastes I really like - prawns, grapes, lamb (oh God, that lamb!)- were really made the most of, and those I don't tend to care for - almonds, walnut - were so subtle that they enhanced the meal. I will be returning to Venice, once I have found the love of my life. I just hope I can keep my mind off the food!

Its website is fairly classy too - www.bistrotdevenise.com. It offers a reservation service. I was lucky enough to get in without (I turned up early) but I'd recommend making sure they have a table!
Bistrot de Venise
San Marco 4685 Calle Dei Fabbri
Venice, Italy
+39 (041) 523 66 51


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