The restaurant of the boutique Aman hotel is on the second floor of this 16th century building, with a few tables looking out directly over the Grand Canal. The menu features fish caught in the nearby lagoon, and vegetables from the local market. Executive chef Riccardo De Prà works three days here and the rest of the week at his Michelin starred Ristorante Albergo Dolada in the countryside. He grew up in this family restaurant, which has been operating since 1921, and worked in Japan with chefs Hiroisha Koyama and Chef Hiroyuki Kanda. At other times in his career he has also worked with Ferran Adrià, Albert Roux, Jean Pierre Bruneau and Gualtiero Marchesi.
The dining room is in two sections, with well-spaced tables, granite floor and an ornately decorated ceiling. The chairs are very low indeed, so much so that sitting down almost feels like the horigotatsu style sunken seating of a traditional kaiseki restaurant in Kyoto.
The mostly but not exclusively Italian wine list ranged in price from €40 to €1,200. Example wines were Allegrini Valpolicella 2012 at €50 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for €14, Antinori Chianti Classico 2009 at €85 compared to a shop price of €23, and Bolgheri Gravia Cacchia al Piano 1868 vintage 2008 at €130 for a label that retails at €31. There were plenty of grander choices too, such as Masseto Ornellaia 2008 at €850 for a wine that will set you back €606 in a shop.
Bread was made from scratch in the kitchen, with enjoyable brown loaf and decent but not particularly delicate grissini (13/20). A nibble of fried soft shell crab had reasonable flavour and avoided any greasiness (13/20). Artichoke salad (€9) with Pecorino cheese was very simple indeed but pleasant, the vegetables of good quality (13/20). Marinated tuna (€16) with herbs featured pieces of silky textured local tuna with a citrus marinade and olive oil, the simplicity of the dish allowing the quality of the fish to speak for itself (14/20).
Tagliolini with white truffles (€75) had pasta that when delivered was not quite hot enough; a slightly more buttery feel to the tagliolini would have improved it further, though the lovely scent of the white truffles was a pleasing distraction (13/20). A deconstructed spaghetti carbonara (€28) had tasty guiancale but again the pasta was not quite hot enough, though the seasoning of the dish was fine (13/20).
Zabaione (€12) had enjoyably rich sabayon flavoured with passito wine (a sweet wine dried on straw mats) rather than the traditional masala, served with pleasant vanilla ice cream, though the local baicoli dry biscuits could have been better. As ever with this dish, it is better if the sabayon arrives hot, which this was not (12/20). Tiramisu (€13) lacked sufficient coffee flavour, so came across as too tentative when it should have plenty of kick (12/20). If you want a cup of tea after your meal it costs €12, or a little matter of €10 for double espresso, this being Venice.
Service was impeccable, the staff friendly and attentive. The bill came to €175 (£139) a head with some good wine. The restaurant at the Aman is in a striking setting with a lovely view, but the recurring issue of the slightly tepid temperature of the hot dishes is a concern.. The charming staff and the impressive room make this quite a romantic place to eat, though the overall pricing here can feel a touch ambitious given the level of the food, especially in terms of the incidentals like the coffee and tea. Still, the Aman hotel brand is all about exclusivity, so few diners here will be price sensitive. If you shared a modest bottle of wine and skipped a hot drink after the meal then a typical bill per head would be around £75 a head, which is actually not that bad given that you are in Venice.