Casin dei Nobili

Casin dei NobiliTel: +39 041 241 1841
Address: Calle del Casin, Dorsoduro 2765
Notes: Closed Monday
Tables outside? No
Cuisine Type: Classic Italian

Casin dei Nobili reputedly gets its name from the fact that the gentry used to disport themselves upstairs with ladies of doubtful virtue. Whether true or not, this is certainly a popular restaurant now – now only with students who come for the good range of pizze (€5-€8.50) but with diners of all types: booking is essential.

The decor is cosy: simple brick spiced up with all sorts of paintings and bric-a-brac, and the main room has a retractable roof for a semblance of open-air dining when warm enough.

The menu is interesting, with daily specials. I tried lasagne morbido di asparagi e gorgonzola (€8) – a deliciously light and delicate combination. Carpaccio di tonno e spada (€10) was sliced so fine you could have read through it, and came with excellent spicy wild rocket.

There’s a choice of five or six secondi, again with specials. Sanascette di vitello con cicoria (€10) turned out to be a meltingly tender veal stew in a very rich sauce. (Sanascette was our new menu word of the trip – you can never find them in the dictionary but it’s always fun taking pot luck.) Tagliata croccante di manzo al balsamico e sesame (€13) was good; the beef was beautifully tender, but I was amazed to discover it is possible to have too much balsamic vinegar. The sauce would have been better tempered with more meat juices.

The dolci are also interesting here (€5). Lots of chocolate options, crepes and souffles, but I chose a semifreddo alle amarene e croccantino. I’d forgotten that amarene are bitter cherries – I had unthinkingly assumed I would get something with almonds in – but it was a great choice, the bitter-sweet mixture really something to remember. Now I need to go back to sample the millefoglie, or the carpaccio di ananas con semifreddo…

House wine is in bottles rather than litres. The white is chardonnay, the red a very soft merlot (€10). Service is cheeful and efficient and altogether this a place that warrants regular visits.