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Cannaregio: Al Fontego dei Pescaori

Calle Priuli 3726 , Phone: 041 5200538
Closing day: Monday

Reviewed by: Susie L from CA, review #3875

When: 2012

Fantastic seafood restaurant in a vibrant neighborhood

Directions: Vaporetto stop - Ca' D'Oro

The owner, Lolo, is the President of the Rialto fish market and he brings the best of the market to his restaurant everyday.

We chose the tasting menu, which was 3 courses for 45 per person.

The antipasto course began with one very large and three small broiled scallops, with the roe, in their shells and was beautifully presented. Next up was a large plate with a pool of white polenta in the center. Surrounding the polenta was: baccala, sarde in saor, several connochie (a shrimp like animal) and a fish mousse.

For the main course, there was a choice of fritto misto or a mixed grill of fish. Since there were two of us, we ordered one of each. The fritto misto was the best I have ever had! So light and non-greasy. It also contained carrots and zucchini. The mixed grill of fish was wonderful as well and contained prawns, branzino, orata and cuttlefish. The servings were very generous.

For dessert, we opted for a plate of Buranelli cookies and a glass of moscato. As we were finishing up, Lolo came by and offered us grappa, which we happily accepted! He took the time to chat with us for a bit and he was very gracious. The service was excellent and the welcome was warm. We felt that for the stellar quality of the seafood, the price was very reasonable.

There is also seating in a pretty outdoor courtyard, weather permitting.

Reviewed by: BJinNM from NM, review #3149

When: 2008

We had an excellent, unhurried meal here and would love to return.

Directions: From Ca d'Oro walk to the Strada Nova and turn left. Cross the first bridge you come to and take an immediate right. Go over the first bridge on your right across the Rio di San Felice and after walking under the archways, the restaurant is on your right a few steps further.

We got to the restaurant for our 8:30 reservations and found a very busy, very friendly place. After we got to our table, we started by splitting a tuna tartare. It was brought to the table surrounded by berries and was dressed tableside with olive oil, fresh pepper and very old balsamic vinegar. I wish we would have had two or three of these, it was so good.

We also split a primi of gnocchi with tiny scallops complete with their coral. So good. Then I had fegato alla Veneziana and my husband had a mixed seafood grill. My liver was wonderful and I would order it again and again. My husband loved the variety of grilled seafood, the only problem being he didn't realize the sole had not been boned and got a mouthful of bones with his first bite! We shared a contorni of mixed vegetables including eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, and peppers, and then split a panna cotta for dessert.

With wine and water we paid 94. We ate slowly, talking to the people at the next table and didn't leave until 11:10. We never felt rushed by the wait staff and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Reviewed by: jgk from FL, review #2983

When: 2008

Fabulously fresh seafood with a bit of a twist--especially the inventive crudo plates. Super friendly service. Risotto to die for.

We ate here twice and loved it both times.

Complimentary prosecco was a welcome starter. We shared "The Poker" which included small rounds of some really creative (and although they sounded a little suspectly new-agey they were delicious!) seafood tartar - shrimp with raspberry, squid with blackberry, orata with a small chinese fruit, and my favorite, branzino with green apple. The plate is beautifully presented with garnish of the whole fruit in the case of the berries and a lovely slice of apple.

Next we tried small razor clams. These were simply tossed into a very hot pan with olive oil and salt. The exterior carmelized and the full briny sea flavor of the interior sang through. This was Venetian simple seafood at its best, to me. Next we each got a plate with a half portion of perfectly prepared risotto with arugala and shrimp with a small crepe stuffed with sliky smooth artichoke. What a great combo! We all shared one portion of "John Dory" with shrimp - all just simply pan fried. We drank a Friullian Pinot Nero - red enough to make the red wine drinker happy and light enough to make the seafood happy.

For dessert we shared a warm thoroughly chocolate tart. As good as any I've had (and these have been many) in the USA. With it we drank a revelation - Barolo Chinato. I am not reaally sure if it was one wine of the big red mixed with another bitter liquer but it was a flavor sensation with the chocolate.

The bill, for three of us, was 180 euro or thereabouts - but I don't remember if we had one or two bottles of wine.

On the second visit we had some of the same dishes but also tried the plate of typical Venetian appetizers which I found wonderful. Small samples surround a puddle of white polenta. The risotto this time was with vegetables - very nice again but not as sublime as the first one. We also drank a teriffic Tocai - the label had a name like "Sirch".

I would say this is a great place for a higher end meal. Service was perfect, both times. The second time we didn't leave the restaurant til close to 11:30 and they were still totally friendly.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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