Address: Fondamenta Manin 48, Murano
Notes: Closed Monday. Open for lunch other days, and Friday/Saturday evenings – call to check for other evenings in high season
Tables outside? Yes
Vaporetto Stop: Murano Colonna
Murano is growing better and better for good eating and one of the newest restaurants comes with a great Murano pedigree. Opened in Spring 2012 by Giovanna Arcangeli and Caterina Nason, both natives of the island, Acquastanca offers great fresh food and a very welcoming atmosphere. The name is a naval term for the still water at the turn of the tide, and the restaurant is a haven of calm even when busy. Tiny outside, at the foot of one of the bridges crossing the canal leading from the Colonna vaporetto stop, the inside has a good bar area and tables for about 30 people.
Converted from an old bakery, the brick walls, subtle lighting and quirky artefacts are warm and the plain wooden tables and charming flowery tablecloths are both modern and utterly traditional. Which is a reflection on the cuisine – Caterina in the kitchen conjures up some very good twists on the classics of Venetian cooking.
The menu is short and interesting. Antipasti (€10 – 21) included a wonderful caprese with buffalo mozzarella and cherry tomatoes (€12) and scampi e carciofi violetti (€18) which matched lovely prawns with thinly sliced baby artichokes, just coming into season. Gamberoni croccante con maionese piccante (€12) also sounded – and looked – good at a nearby table. Pasta dishes range from the simple pasta e fagioli (€8) to the Venetian classics of spaghetti with clams (€10) and gnocchi con capesante e zucchini (€12) or gnocchi con canoce (€14) – the latter being a peculiar type of seafood fished in the lagoon, and for which I don’t think there is any translation… sort of like a large prawn but with a seriously strange looking head.
You may have noticed the menu is very fishy, not surprisingly, and this continues in the main courses with a cotoletta alla Milanese (€12) the only concession to carnivores. The day we were there there was branzino con pepperonata e riso (€18) – sea bass rolled in seasoned flour and beautifully cooked, with a round mold of pepperonata and perfect rice; wonderfully flavoured tuna (nicely charred at the edges) with zucchini puree (€18); orata (sea bream) with tomatoes and olives (€16) was also good though slightly too salty.
Do try to leave room for pudding as there are some delights on offer (€5 – 8). Mascarpone cream was lovely, runny like zabaglione and served with excellent local biscuits; coviglio al caffe was fabulous; lemon meringue was deliciously tart; but all paled before the sublime salame al cioccolate which has to be tasted to be believed.
The wine list is well balanced, consisting mostly of whites because of the fish-based menu. A sauvignon blanc (Vigretti San Stin di Lirenza) was a class act and only €15 – a fresh, fruity and very complex wine.
Giovanna and her small staff provide wonderful service and this restaurant definitely makes a trip to Murano worth while, even if you don’t have any interest in glass.