Osteria La Frasca

Tel: +39 041 528 5433
Address: Corte della Carità, Cannaregio 5176
Notes: Closed Sunday evenings
Tables outside? Yes

We were a bit daunted to find that one of our all-time favourite restaurants in Venice – the sort you have to visit at least once on every visit – has changed hands. Fans of the delightful Mehdy will be pleased to hear that he hasn’t disappeared off the scene, and can be found at Tavernetta San Maurizio in the much more fashionable San Marco sestiere.

And there’s more good news in that La Frasca may have changed, but it’s still worth a visit for honest, basic cooking if you find yourself near Fondamenta Nuove.

The establishment itself hasn’t changed much – still a tiny restaurant / bar in a quiet courtyard a couple of blocks in from the Fondamenta Nuove vaporetto stop. In summer the tables are sheltered underneath the vine, in winter they’re enclosed in a sort of marquee – the building is so small there is hardly an inside at all.

Mario is now in charge and offers a very simple menu, chalked up on a blackboard, but there’s a sure hand in the tiny kitchen. Spaghetti Amatriciana is one of those dishes that is utterly familiar even to those who have never set foot in Italy, but if you want to taste it as it should be, La Frasca isn’t a bad place to start. Fresh, good ingredients, and perfectly cooked (€9).

Before you reach the pasta however you can kick off with a range of fishy dishes (€8 – €12), including sarde in saorinsalata di polpecozze and a plate of gamberetti – tiny fresh shrimps that were utterly delicious.

Fish secondi also looked good – whole branzino or orata looking very good value at €13. There are meat options too, such as fegato alla Veneziana and filetto.

There’s a small range of dolci and house wine is highly drinkable (€4 per ½ litre).

There’s nothing fancy about La Frasca, but the bread is good, it’s laid back and it won’t break the bank.