Canaletto – Caneva

Tel: +39 041 521 2661
Address: Calle della Malvasia, Castello 5490

There is the restaurant called Canaletto, and the enotèca called Caneva… but as far as I can tell the difference is in the timing, as they seem to share the same space. Run by Mauro Lorenzon, who keeps a cellar of 600 labels and is apparently perfectly willing to open any bottle for just one glass, this is a classy establishment for those with a serious interest in either wine or food.

The menu changes every couple of weeks, according to what’s in season, and that can include some very tempting dishes as well as classics. Preparation is meticulous (and prices reflect that – this may be a Castello address but it’s a stone’s throw from San Marco).

Antipasti range from €12 for sarde in saor and other local fishy specialities to €29.50 for the full-blown selection of eight different ones. Capesante (scallops) in garlic and oil were beautifully presented in their shells on an oblong glass platter. For the meat eaters there is an impressive range of salumeria, including the Canaletto selection (a meal in itself) at €17.

Primi piatti are in the same price range. Classic spaghettino alle vongole was superb. Tortelli di bruscandoli – a local delicacy looking slightly like very thin asparagus, but with a different flavour – was equally good, especially with its burro di pistachio e pecorino.

Secondi (€18 – €30) included lots of lobster when we were there but also simpler seasonal dishes such as asparagus with quails eggs, the yolks of which were runny for easy dipping. Again, classics are there for the tasting – Venetian-style liver with polenta, rabbit, octopus…

We really should have chosen one of the wines of the month but it was late and we were hungry, so we asked for house red – usually a perfectly safe (and inexpensive) option. The Valpolicella that arrived was wonderfully smooth but the bill of €25 per bottle was unexpected. It was worth it, especially by UK standards, but if we’d realised what we were going to pay we might have chosen something more unusual. Our fault not theirs, though.

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