Algiubagiò has long been a great bar, and one very handily placed right by the vaporetto stop where you catch the boats for the islands. With a view across to the serene cemetery island of San Michele, you can have a glass of wine from a huge range of local varieties, all in top condition, and choose either a delicious panino or something gooey from the pasticceria counter.
You can still do all that, but there are new options too – a large room behind the main bar area is now a full restaurant and the large terrace jutting out over the water can be a fabulous place to try some very tempting food. This is much more than just a bar extension – there’s good linen and Murano glass water glasses, and very good service.
Antipasti (€12-€25) include prosciutto aged for 20 months at the low end of the price scale, to mixed fresh fish of the day at the other. The waiters are very accommodating, too, quite happy to make up a plate of salami misti for us to share, even though it wasn’t on the menu. Pasta dishes (€13-€19) look very interesting: Ravioli al formaggio fossa, oca e tartufo nero was featured on one of the four set menus available, from €29 to €50. I think we’d have been tempted to try one but we actually weren’t all that hungry… hence sharing our starter.
Secondi are a good mix of meat and fish dishes, from around €20 for a very good tagliata di manzo con rughetta up to €38 for lobster. Vegetarian options abound, such as grilled vegetables with smoked provola cheese (€9.80) and a thoroughly decadent burrata d’Andria in millefoglie e senape dolce (€12) – the creamy Pugliese cheese with sweet mustard. Heaven on a plate.
Dolci are a treat here too (mostly €8). Tortino di pasta fillo con pere, creme e cioccolato amaro was a delight: a filo parcel filled with tender pear, pastry cream and dark chocolate. Lemon sorbet with mint and basil was a real taste sensation, piped in squiggles in a big brandy snifter – it was worth the visit for this alone.
Even if you aren’t hungry Algiubagiò is worth a visit. It’s so much more than the equivalent of a bus terminus bar, though its clientele is similarly mixed – local workers, vaporetto pilots (and as we discovered on catching the No. 5.2 home, vaporetto ticket inspectors), a few tourists…
There’s no dress code whatsoever, and time doesn’t seem to exist as you relax inside, lean back on a Rennaissance-retro chair with sumptuous cushions, glass in hand, and admire the high beamed ceiling of what possibly started life as a boathouse, listening to soft jazz. Some people just know how to do things.