Osteria al Bomba

Tel: +39 041 520 5175
Address: Calle Oca, Cannaregio 4297/4298
Tables outside? No
Cuisine Type: Venetian
Vaporetto Stop: Ca D’Oro

Osteria al Bomba is one of the charming family-style restaurants to be found off the beaten track in Venice, though in this case not far off the track as it’s a stone’s throw from the bustling Strada Nuova. After negotiating the bar area with a tempting array of cicchetti a long wooden table runs the length of the narrow restaurant area, with bench seating split into lengths for two people and helpful backrests at intervals.

Service is informal and very friendly, with a splendidly Biblical-cum hippy waiter – long beard and ponytail – proving to be as efficient as the young ladies on duty. Food is a cut above the basic family fare, however.

Scampi in saor con polenta (€9) was delicious and succulent. I’ve seen plenty of sarde in saor in Venice – it’s one of the signature dishes, marinated sardines served with a sweet-sour mixture of onions – but not scampi. I then encountered the same thing at a number of restaurants on this trip, so either I haven’t been paying attention or it’s a new fashion. Their salami selection (€9) looked good too, and the antipasti misto vegetariano (€10) was, unexpectedly, not grilled but boiled, and an interesting mixture of flavours and textures with a good hint of chili thrown in.

Pasta (€8 – €12) is homemade, pappardelle alla pescatora looking tempting, but we had earmarked some secondi and didn’t dare go there. You’re also likely to find spaghetti con vongole veraci and tagliatelle con scampi rucola e pomodorini – primi in particular are predominantly fishy.

Fegato all Veneziana is almost certainly good here, if the soft polenta that came with my scampi is anything to go by. However I couldn’t resist trying scallopine di maiale al Gorgonzola (€15), and although the flavours didn’t meld as well as I had hoped they would (I still have fond memories of sedano con Gorgonzola in a tiny restaurant in Treviso) it was a good dish, with very tender thin cuts of pork. My companion’s orata ai ferri was absolutely perfect: there is a sure hand in the kitchen.

Puddings are limited, but do try the house tiramisu – for once it does what it’s supposed to and is small enough, with a good shot of coffee, to pick you up.

There’s a small but interesting wine list with good house wine at €10 per litre; we also tested (purely in the interests of research, you understand) a Rabosino at €15. We’ve become very fond of the local Raboso – a soft, fruity red with a bit of fizz – and this version was OK but not special.

A good meal in pleasant, friendly surroundings – we were very content as we tottered back to the vaporetto.