This is a small restaurant in a narrow street near St Mark’s Basilica, located to the east of St Marks Square and a short walk from the hotel Danieli. Head chef and owner by Gianni Bonaccorsi also runs a successful pizzeria called Aciugheta, just opposite the Il Ridotto. The name means “reduced”, which refers to the size of the establishment, originally having just a handful of tables. It has actually expanded since it began trading, taking over the next door building in 2011 after having originally opened in 2007. However it is still intimate in scale, with perhaps ten tables in all.
You can either opt for a five course tasting menu at €70 or go à la carte. The wine list started at €28 and featured bottles from across Italy as well as labels from France and further afield. Soave Cantina de Rocca 2012 was €40 for a wine you can find in a shop for €14, and Ronco del Gnemiz Chardonnay Sol 2010 was €70 compared to a retail price of €48. At the high end of the list, the pricing showed some disconnect with the realities of the market. Penfolds Grange 1991, 1993 and 1995 were all priced at €350, yet their current retail market rates were respectively €638, €217 and €196.
A nibble of pumpkin puree, chicory and an anchovy was pleasant enough, though hardly thrilling, but at least the fish was of good quality (13/20). Bread was bought-in and was not particularly fresh (12/20). A starter of cauliflower and langoustine (€30) perked up the meal, the shellfish quite sweet, tender and paired with a few almonds, the balance of earthiness and seafood working well (15/20), Eel ravioli (€30) was initially delivered almost cold. After I sent it back it was remade and appeared piping hot, the pasta having good texture and the eel flavour coming through well, with Swiss chard and apple balsamic vinegar that usefully cut through the richness of the eel (14/20).
Sea bass (€25) came with spring onions and cauliflower and was complemented by an earthy garlic puree that provided good balance, though violet artichoke was almost cold (14/20). Suckling pig (€25) came with raspberries, mushrooms, fried potato and green apple. The pork flavour was fine, but in what seemed to be a recurring theme the meat was not piping hot (13/20).
For dessert, tiramisu (€10) had good texture in the sponge and plenty of coffee flavour (15/20). This was better than apple tart (€10) with quince ice cream that was decent enough but lacked tartness (13/20). Coffee was excellent and at just €3 was a fraction the price of what is common in this city.
Service was charming, friendly and efficient. The bill, with pre-dinner drinks and a good Italian Chardonnay, came to €127 a head (£100). If you shared a simple bottle of wine then a typical bill would be around £80 a head. By Venice standards this is quite modest. However the Michelin star felt wildly optimistic based on this meal.
We ate here in 2015 and then it was reasonably good however our last visit in September 2020, as you quite rightly point out, it is now well below 1* standard, especially at 95 Euros per person for a 5 course meal. Only the tomato risotto course was up to scratch. The Garganega wine we drank was better than the food. We were even made to feel embarrassed when their card machine refused to work, until we went to their neighbouring bistro when of course it did. We shall not be returning.
John Brossaeau, Venice only has 270,000 people if you include the sprawl on the mainland that for some reason is part of the Venice municipality. Venice proper, including all islands, has 55,000 people.
Just as a matter of friendly conversation, Mr. Hayler, is how small Venice is in spite of its importance. I discovered this after learninf how many opera houses they were closing in Italy's many larger cities, some of them barely known. Venice only has about 270,00 people, about the same as Newark, New Jerse. It might not be expected to have a large number of good restaurants,and I wonder why Marcella Hazn moved there. Sincerely, John Brosseau