Castello has some of the best restaurants in Venice. Below are my reviews of two upper end restaurants and a decent pizzeria. You’ll find them all on my map.
Al Covo (Advanced B+), 3698 Campiello de la Pescaria, www.ristorantealcovo.com
Al Covo is a Slow Food restaurant, meaning they specialise in top quality products from specialists, although there are national and international ingredients on the menu as well.
The meal began rather inauspiciously with a Francobollo (see my Rialto Market Food post) as an amuse bouche, which is rather underwhelming for a British person because we eat similar ‘postage stamp’ sandwiches (made with cheap (?) bread with the crusts cut off) at home in the UK.
However things improved massively with a first course of Cappellacci Fatti in Casa con Ricotta di Capra e Zucca Barucca, Fondo Bruno, Scaglie di Mandorla Chiodini e Tartufo Nero della Lessinina, or homemade ‘little hats’ pasta (typical of Ferrara) with goat’s cottage cheese, local pumpkin (from Chioggia), brown stock, almond flakes and black truffle (from Lessinina) (B+).
The following Fritto Misto di Paranza con Verdure e Salsa all’Aglio Bianco, or a ‘trawler’ mixed seafood fry with vegetables and garlic white sauce, was immaculately presented and perhaps the best I’ve ever had (A+).
The wines (one local, one German) were fine and I enjoyed the local cheeses at the end (all B).
I’ve always enjoyed Amaro Braulio as a digestivo but this bottle of 2016 Reserva Speciale took my appreciation to the next level (A).
This was an excellent meal, and the service was really good, so definitely somewhere I’d return to.
Osteria Alle Testiere (Advanced B+), 5801 Calle del Mondo Novo, www.osterialletestiere.it
According to my research, this was the most hyped restaurant in town (in October 2020) and it did indeed prove quite hard to get in, even during the Covid period when there weren’t many tourists in town. They get mentions in ‘1001 Restaurants You Must Experience Before You Die’, ‘Where Chefs Eat’ and the Michelin Guide. Also Fred Sirieix visited in ‘Remarkable Places to Eat’ on BBC2 and they are Angela Hartnett’s all time favourite Venetian restaurant. There are only ten tables but I eventually bagged one after a few attempts.
I kicked off with their Misto di Molluschi allo Zenzero; mussels, carpet and razor clams with ginger, which was nice if a bit expensive at 23€ (A-).
The following Ravioli alla Zucca e Ricotta al Ragout di Tonno Ross del Mediterraneo, or pumpkin and cottage cheese raviolis with a Bluefin tuna sauce, was okay but not as nice as I was hoping (B).
For dessert, Panna Cotta con Coulis di Cachi, or ‘cooked cream’ with a persimmon puree, which was very nice (B+).
The local grappas on offer were excellent as well (A).
This is undeniably a good restaurant, but I didn’t quite feel I got value for money. I’d definitely give it another try though.
Al Vecio Canton (Intermediate B+), 4738/A Canton Ruga Giuffa, www.veciocanton.it
One night when we couldn’t get into Testiere above, three of us came here for a pizza instead. The Mozzarella was fine if run of the mill (C+) but the Bresaola (air-dried salt beef) was some of the best I’ve ever had (B+). The pizza, reputed to be the best in Venice, was good too (B+).
Here are a few other places in Castello that I’ve heard good things about but not had time to try out:
Local www.ristorantelocal.com at 3303 Salizzada dei Greci.
Il Ridotto www.ilridotto.com at 4509 Campo Santi Filippo e Giacomo.
Corte Sconta www.cortescontavenezia.com at 3886 Calle del Pestrin.
CoVino www.covinovenezia.com at 3829 Calle del Pestrin.
Off to the islands next!