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Orta San Giulio: Ristorante Venus

Piazza Motta, 50 , Phone: 0322.90362

Reviewed by: Gavin Crawford from Australia, review #650

When: 2003

Right on the lakefront in a corner of the piazza with views out to Isola San Giulio.

Directions: In the main Piazza.

Friday night is the locals night out in Orta San Giulio. They are too busy servicing tourists on Saturdays and Sundays, so we noted many of them at the restaurants and bars around the piazza this evening. Unfortunately, it was drizzling with rain, so most people ate inside. We had planned on our last meal to be outside, looking at the island as the light faded and the lights came on. It was cool enough that I had to return to our apartment between courses for my jacket (and a Koala for the waitress). {The restaurant is} Right on the lakefront in a corner of the piazza with views out to Isola San Giulio.

We had dined here in 2000. Either it has gone up market, or I did this time. Ches reminds me that I had pizza and a pasta dish last time. This time I started with what I’m sure the menu said was ravioli filled with prawns and smoked shellfish. In actuality it was sheets of lasagne topped with large prawns in a rich tomatoe sauce (chopped fresh tomatoes in a sauce like reduced stock (prawn shells and maybe that’s where the smoked shellfish were-pureed). A good portion thankfully, because my pan fried perch fillets wouldn’t have touched the sides. Ches had taglionini with spiny lobster, and lamb encased in bread (crumbed cutlets) with the best roasted potatoes she has ever had in Italy.

We shared a Chocolate Flan (really a layered chocolate and almond or marzipan blaumange (cucapum)) and a creme caramel. The creme finally a silky smooth challenge to Marie, but the caramel slightly burnt. I don’t care if it was predominantly seafood, we had a bottle of Parusso, Barbera D’Alba, Ornati, 2000.

Throughout the meal, we were serenaded by a chap playing keyboards and a clarinet. He asked for requests, which readily came to Ches while I drew blanks (well, after first requesting “Michelle”).

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

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