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Castello: Pizzeria -Trattoria Aciugheta

Campo S.S. Filippo e Giacomo , Phone: 041.522.4292

Reviewed by: Doru from Canada, review #704

When: 2003

Maybe a great bacaro, but forget lunch...

We chose to have a late afternoon meal at All' Aciugheta and sat at a table outside, after going inside and glancing at the front counter which didn't have much of a choice in terms of cicheti. My wife ordered a mixed vegetables salad con polpettine, I chose spaghetti con le cozze (mussels) e vongole (clams). The result was very mixed: the salad was made of some limp slices of deep fried eggplant and zucchini over a bed of cabbage and lettuce, the polpettine a few small meatballs really, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried, kind of a meat falafel.

My spaghetti were a surprise: the clams were probably engaged at the time in a Houdini act and nowhere to be seen, absence seemingly compensated by a huge mountain of mussels. A closer examination revealed that there were on the plate two types of mussel shells: from about half of them the mussels have gone probably where the clams were (not) and therefore not on my plate, while the other half of the shells were bearing the most miniscule mussels I have ever seen. In fact, I would have thought these were mussel embryos if not for the size of the shells covering the spaghetti below. I carefully scooped the tiny mussels the size of shirt-buttons and discarded the profusion of empty shells and discovered that all was not lost, because the spaghetti were bathing in a delicate and delightful sauce and so, after not being tempted by my wife’s salad leftovers, I cleaned thoroughly the last drops of sauce with lots of bread and shined the plate.

With my Nastro Azzuro, water and two espresso, one of them a great doppio lungo, we left Aciugheta after 40 euro and asked ourselves for what.

Now, I know that Aciugheta's reputation is as bacaro, but I thought the usual meals would be quite acceptable in quality. Not so. I should have read Fodor's, which says, I will find later: "A mediocre pizzeria-trattoria, Aciugheta (Tiny Anchovy) leads a secret life as an enoteca, with some of the best bottles in town. Show up in the late afternoon and let wine expert Gianni Bonaccorsi guide you. Cicheti and a variety of other tasty bites -- including tiny pizzas, stuffed red peppers, and a fine selection of cheeses -- will keep you from going hungry between sips." I am sure this is true, particularly because I've also heard this opinion from other sources, but I should have read it before deciding to have there a regular meal.

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

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