Nestling at the back of the charming Campo San Stefano in Murano – the eponymous tower on one side, a canal, bridge and the imposing bulk of San Pietro Martire opposite – is a small building with a first story colonnade that looks as it it’s been there since Roman times.
It houses a great restaurant with a large, ebullient red-headed host (Lele of the title), and serves some of the best food on the island. The tables spreading out over the Campo are a good place to spend a sunny lunchtime and indulge in a feast of fresh fish.
The huge spider crabs (granseola) make great antipasti but there are plenty of other options, including clams, polpetti (baby octopus) and generally, whatever is being fished at the time. Primi include meltingly tender and buttery gnocchi al grancio (€13) with plenty of crab.
To follow, the fritto misto is recommended from earlier visits, but there’s a huge variety of fish and shellfish to choose from. Meat dishes have improved in range since we first came here some years ago and now include fegato alla Veneziana, filetto al pepe verde (€17) and entrecote steak – good flavour and good value at €11 though it could have been more tender. But this really is a fish restaurant, and a whole branzino (sea bass, €13) was cooked to perfection, though rather badly filleted.
The home-made tiramisù makes up for all those awful approximations elsewhere (mostly outside Italy) – it’s wonderful, and so is torta di amaretto - a delicate treacle tart with amaretti (€6).
The house white is a delicious apricot-coloured pinot grigio Lison Pramaggiore and is a complete steal at €10 per bottle, or €7 for a mezzo.
Service is good, friendly and efficient and the atmosphere and the setting make this a restaurant to return to. Before or after, be sure to go across the bridge and into San Pietro – there’s a fabulous Bellini Virgin with Saint Mark and a couple of Doges…