Acqua Pazza

Tel: +39 041 2770 688
Address: Campo Sant’Angelo, San Marco 3808/10
Notes: Closed Monday
Tables outside? Yes

Several food writers have lavished praise on this relatively new and certainly very slick restaurant, gleaming with plate glass, with white umbrellas on the pretty Campo outside. The food is good – though not special. The ingredients are trumpeted as “fresh”, but this is no more than I expect in Venetian restaurants that I visit more than once.

On the plus side, the mozzarella used in the pizzas is buffalo, but that just makes it sadder that the portions are so enormous: the waste must be terrible. Pizzas with a 15-inch diameter are regularly half or two-thirds eaten and the rest disappears to the kitchen bins. This size principle seems to apply to all dishes. Do not be coaxed into ordering extensively on arrival – let the first course appear and then think again.

Book to be sure of a table – at least in the evening. This is currently a hot spot among tourists and young trendy locals, who are presumably not deterred by the steep prices (€12 – €15 for pizza, about twice the average for Venice). The service is efficient, though some of the waiters are more interested in the demonstration of their legerdemain than in giving service.

The Maître d’ – him in the white jacket – is incomparably rude and unaccommodating. “What’s in a Pizza Saracena, please?” “Margherita.” At these prices, the customer deserves better, especially when the information comes with a sneer, as he looks elsewhere. It is surely a simple courtesy to address the customer when asked a civil question (In Italian, in case you’re wondering), and not to carry on a – presumably more interesting – interchange with other diners at the same time.

We have read good reports of baked mussels in pepper, fried vegetables in batter (hardly an unusual dish outside Venice) and bucatini with scorpionfish. However unless we hear that the service has improved, I doubt we’ll be trying them. Cover charge is €5, rather high when in our case at least it didn’t seem to include bread. There is a decent wine list, though on our visit a high proportion of the listed wines were unavailable. All in all, an experience that didn’t beg to be repeated.