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Dorsoduro: La Piscina

Dorsoduro 780 , Phone: 041.520.64.66
www.lacalcina.com
Closing day: Monday

Reviewed by: Monica Pileggi from USA, review #3510

When: 2010

Wonderful dinner.

Directions: Head due south from the Accademia bridge, turn left at the Giudecca canal and the restaurant is down the street before the first bridge. La Piscina is located at Pensione La Calcina on the south end of Dorsoduro.

Duck ragu, photo by Monica J. Pileggi

There is both indoor and outdoor dining on the terrace– make reservations in advance to sit outside and enjoy the views. I met up with three other Slow Talk friends for dinner.

I had the crostini misti to start and the pappardelle pasta (wide ribbon-like noodles) with duck ragu. I love the texture of the pasta and there was enough ragu to coat the pasta and not be overly rich. Others in the party had a seafood risotto, which I tasted. The risotto was creamy and flavorful. We shared a bottle of wine. 32 euros for my portion. This was my second time dining at La Piscina and again, a great meal.


Reviewed by: poet123 from UK, review #2354

When: 2007

A long awaited dinner which did not live up to our expectations. We felt the food was mediocre and the atmosphere a little pretentious for a Pensione.

We were greatly looking forward to our evening and dining experience. We were very disappointed. On entering we were very surprised at the decor and general ambience. For a Pensione it was overdone and slightly pretentious, an attempt to be something it was not was our overriding impression. That said, the staff were pleasant and friendly in the main.

We were seated almost immediately even though we were very early, no offer of pre-dinner drinks. It was as though they wanted to re-use the table by seating us quickly and rushing us through. When we perused the menu it seemed to us very limited; aside from the plethora of similar bruschetta, starters were non existent. Similarly, the main courses were limited. Indeed we thought we had been given a menu with a page missing!! After some deliberation we chose: mixed seafood bruschetta and tuna bruschetta, followed by minced beef with Savoy cabbage and spinach. One starter arrived and we decided to share it whilst we waited for the other. It never arrived.

However, as it was nice but not great we did not complain and just ate what we had been given. The main course arrived and we looked in disbelief - two large meatballs wrapped in a cabbage leaf with pureed spinach poured atop. It did not look appetising but we reasoned it had to taste better than it looked. We were wrong. Bland, tasteless and unappealing best describe this dish. I attempted to eat some of it, but after one meatball I was defeated, and strangely my husband declined to assist me by relieving me of the other one, nor did he mange to finish his own portion!

Still hungry we ordered dessert, this was a saving grace, obviously homemade, the apple tart with sultana was melt in the mouth, and the puff pastry cream concoction was also lovely.

With wine this meal came to 110€. Not mega bucks but we did not feel we had value for money, rather a mediocre dining experience in an establishment which had delusions of grandeur.

An evening we had really anticipated with relish turned into a meal we hope never to repeat. In fairness, perhaps there was a page missing from our menu, perhaps it was an off night or perhaps it is just not to our taste. The restaurant was full (of residents, it seemed to us) but we did hear other diners quietly express similar views to ours re the menu choice.


Reviewed by: Monica Pileggi from MD, review #1934

When: 2006

My best meal in Venice!

Duck medallions and stuffed tomato with a gorgonzola sauce, photo by Monica J. Pileggi

Had a fabulous dinner at my hotel -- at the Ristorante La Piscina. I was tempted to dine there the next night, but I had reservations already for another restaurant.

La Piscina serves two fixed menus (choosing two courses, dessert and a glass of wine) for either 22 or 32 euros for their hotel guests. I chose from the more expensive menu, which has better food choices. I had a wonderful dish of tagliatelle pasta (orange color - was it pumpkin?) with salmon in a light butter sauce and thin string beans. For my entrée I had duck medallions and a stuffed tomato (breadcrumbs) topped with a gorgonzola sauce. Dessert was vanilla gelato topped with sliced pears and amaretto. I could only eat half of it but it was unbelievable.

Portions are not huge; however, with everything, including a nice variety of breads, it was quite filling. Service was impeccable and I felt like I was dining in a 5-star restaurant. If you are not staying at this hotel, I still recommend dining here.

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

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