Antica Trattoria alla Maddalena

Antica Trattoria alla MaddalenaTel: +39 041 730 151
Address: Isola di Mazzorbo
Notes: Closed Thursday
Tables outside? Yes
Cuisine Type: Venetian

Mazzorbo is the little island you don’t normally bother to explore, the vaporetto stop alongside Burano. On a good day however you may well wish to sit in the sun outside this little trattoria. We first reviewed it back in 2001 and nothing has changed – from the slightly cool service until you prove your credentials as someone who appreciates good cooking, through the wonderful flavours on offer, to the exceptional value. It may be simple and non-nonsense but it’s worth the vaporetto trip for lunch, expecially on a sunny day when you can make use of the (mostly outside) tables and look across the calm channel to Burano (which you can also reach on foot from Mazzorbo).

Antipasti (€6 – €11) mix up meat and fish – there are sardines, mussels and clams (cozze e vongole saltate at €10) but we went for a plate of prosciutto (€6.50) which was good and one of soppressa – a mild, soft salami – which was wonderful. It was absolutely fresh, very delicate and a bargain at €6.

Primi are also very good value, with a top price of €8.50 for gnocchetti al granchio (difficult to know exactly which type of crab if was, as there are so many dialect words for the various crabs in the lagoon – gransèola is the spider crab, grànso the shore crab. When you add the shifting spelling of the Venetians it’s a tricky business but they’re all delicious.) Thegnocchetti were delicious too, very creamy and moreish. On a previous visit I’ve eaten thetagliatelle all’anatra selvatica – wild duck – which was also very good.

Secondi are all fish (€10 – €15). The pesce misto ai ferri consisted of coda di rospo(monkfish), langoustines and a whole small-to-medium flatfish – probably sole – all simply and perfectly cooked.

Dolci are also simple but you are advised to try the home-made biscotti with a glass on vin santo passito. Sometimes these will be the classic Buranese bussolài, ring-shaped biscuits made with egg, or the variant S-shaped esse buranèi; on this occasion they were simple rounds, some flavoured with coconut and others with raisins.

It was at this restaurant we first tasted Raboso, the local light red, slightly frizzante wine (€9/10 per bottle) and it’s been a firm favourite ever since – I just wish they’d export some.