Venice – Laguna di Venezia – a perfect day out in Burano

Burano is the island with the famous technicolour houses lining its canals, which are pretty much an essential experience for anyone visiting Venice. I’ve been twice, the first time on the same wet visit as Mazzorbo (previous post) and a second sunnier day when I’d finally managed to get a reservation for one of the best restaurants in the lagoon…

Trattoria Al Gatto Nero (High Intermediate B+), 88 Via Giudecca,

This restaurant gets props from all the right people in my food universe. Fred Sirieix visited for ‘Remarkable Places to Eat’ on BBC2, as did Angela Hartnett the TV chef, Katie Parla the Italian food blogger, the restaurant guide Where Chefs Eat and my good friend Nicky, who somehow contrived to arrive by boat at her reserved table next to the canal. I obviously don’t have the same cachet as her and it took me three attempts to get a reservation, even during the time of Covid when there were hardly any tourists! It’s definitely worth persevering though, the food and the location are wonderful.

They are all about the seafood which is super fresh. Although it looks a bit plain, the restaurant is particuarly famous for its Risotto alla Buranella. However they can only make it for a minimum of two people and as a single diner I couldn’t really justify the 40€ price tag, although I was tempted. Next time I’ll make sure I go with an easily tempted friend!

I began with the Gran Antipasto “Al Gatto Nero”. The main plate featured lagoon prawns, canoce (local mantis shrimp), stewed baby octopus, cured swordfish, Baccalà Mantecato (creamed dried cod) and a baked scallop. One side plate featured Sarde in Saor (fried sardines and onions in sweetened vinegar) while another had some more grilled baby scallops and (I think) Sgombro Mantecato (creamed mackerel) .

I followed this with the Tagliolini alla Grancevola; homemade ribbons of pasta with spider crab, beautifully presented on a bed of courgette flowers (A+).

To drink, a chilled bottle of 2019 Lison Classico DOCG by Mazzolada hit the spot.

For dessert, a traditional tiramisu and a glass of Verduto Passito 2016 by Bosco del Merlo, also from the Lison Pramaggiore DOCG.

And to send me on my way, a shot of Grappa di Villanova by Val de Rosa.

Al Gatto Nero isn’t cheap but the quality of the ingredients makes it good value. The staff have a bit of a rep for being brusque but I had no complaints about the efficient service I received.

Afterwards I walked my meal off with a stroll around the island. The whole place is a photographers dream. The eye-catching color scheme was apparently adopted by local fisherman so that they could see their houses more easily from the sea. Despite the riot of colour, it’s not a free-for-all. You have to apply to the council when you want to paint your house and have to choose from a limited range so as not to clash with your neighbours.

Click on the photo gallery to go to whole screen for the best view.

These are only about a quarter of the photos I took! It’s impossible to stop snapping, it’s such a lovely place.

So, pretty much a perfect day out for me. Much more enjoyable than my first soggy visit anyway!

It’s a forty-minute vaporetto ride back to Venice, however this blog is going on to the next island, Torcello…

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