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2023 Author: Cody Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 11:20
Strada Nova, Venice, is the long artery that leads from Piazzale Roma to Rialto. To be precise, the name should refer only to the final stretch, the one that ends with Campo Santi Apostoli. The restaurant I'm talking about, Osteria la Bottega ai Promessi sposi (which has a longer name than the calle in which it is located), it is hidden in the maze of calli that are to the left of the path, just before arriving in Campo Santi Apostoli.
Between souvenir stalls and the smell of fried food, it seems unlikely that one of the most recommendable trattorias in the city can be found in the area, yet it is. If Venice, over time, has become capable of hosting gastronomic spaces of dubious morality, it is also true that something good is still there, well hidden.
The chronicles say that Calle dell’Oca once hosted a greengrocer's shop and a small theater: what do we do with this information, you ask? We keep them tight so that, once we cross the threshold of the Promessi Sposi (so from now on, for the sake of brevity), we will have a topic of conversation with the staff at the counter, intent on arranging shots and pouring shades of wine to old patrons, who philosophize in dialect and comment on the customs of modern youth with a progressive loss of inhibitions.
As the most attentive will have noticed, the presence of cicchetti and shadows identifies a bacaro: and in fact the Promessi Sposi flank a double soul, that of the bacaro and that of the trattoria and they manage very well in both cases. Thus, if the counter at the entrance with trays of traditional specialties is a prelude to the possibility of a series of tastings consumed standing up and in the company of a glass, the sight of tables and chairs anticipates a seated meal, accompanied by ruspanterie in the service.
Ambience and service
A decorated and illuminated glass sign, the menu affixed to the window, a tiny entrance with saloon-like doors and a low ceiling: the welcome of the Betrothed is honest, like a firm handshake.
The rest is like a speech that continues and confirms what the handshake had announced: a beautiful large wooden counter that invites you to lean on and which is a prelude to a service in which the one at the counter entertains the customer gracefully, juggling requests. and unexpected events like a juggler; exposed beams on the ceiling to warm the soul, a chromatic choice between red and white-yellow walls that taste like a trattoria as much as the checkered tablecloths and never mind if the tablecloth is not there and has been replaced by a paper representative with logo. And then cloth handkerchiefs to cover the lamps, shelves and bottles, wooden chairs and tables, vintage photos and to close, a Venetian floor that refers to the past and underlines even more the daring and questionability of many recent restoration solutions. seen elsewhere.
I Promessi Sposi don't scream smug authenticity and don't sell samples of typical pimp.
The confirmation comes from the service, never haughty or servile, on the contrary: thanks to a particularly crowded evening, which fills the two internal and external rooms, the waiters run, they are courteous but dry, they explain if necessary but without transforming the dishes into moving narratives of lost lagoon traditions.
The wine list follows the intentions of the menu, with a Venetian look, which broadens towards regional proposals, without too many ambitions.
A linear and understandable menu, not overcrowded, which combines fish dishes with meat dishes, with Venetian references and ideas that come out of the lagoon and allow themselves trips beyond the borders of the ancient Serenissima, to reach Piedmont (fassona, in tartare, cost or tagliata), Puglia (orecchiette) and Sicily (red prawns). The appetizers range from 10 to 16 euros, the first from 12 to 14, while the second from 15 to 22. Altogether there are an average of 6-7 proposals per course, sufficient to adequately present Venice (saor, bigoli, fried and cuttlefish there are, in short) and to say that one is also capable of doing other things. The choice falls on two starters (which will be divided into three), three first courses and a second.
If some reviews read on Tripadvisor complained about the small size of the portions, we can deny: a meal that includes everything, including dessert, is a test for fit stomachs. Driven by the fact that seeing them on paper is not frequent, we order the canestrelli, a choice that will prove to be very happy. Fleshy, they concentrate a full and decisive flavor in a small size. The melted butter - dosed - and the orange respectively give roundness and freshness. The leek instead of the onion in the prawn sauce, and the creamed sea bass instead of the ubiquitous cod show a willingness to re-read but not overturn. Successful attempt in full, with delicacy and good balance.
From the first, we choose the Bigoli in Salsa (great Venetian classic, here proposed with cherry tomatoes) and orecchiette with monkfish cheeks ragù. An applause for the consistency and thickness of the bigoli, large and nervous and able to cope with a condiment that suffers a little from the lack of a correct amount of anchovies to balance a perhaps slightly abundant presence of onions. Overall, however, a good dish, like the orecchiette, with seasoning that does not skimp. Among the latter, we focus on squid. Usually attractive and chewy as satisfactory as a tire, generally the poor quality is covered with a mixed frying - in which they end up confusing and even making them acceptable - or with a hyper tasty filling. Here the squid is himself, naked, without shields or vestments. Vegetables accompany him (aubergines, courgettes, peppers, in crunchy cubes), but he plays it all by himself. And it wins. Cooking enhances the flavor: it is fresh, fleshy, crunchy at times, with personality. It manages, bite after bite, to forget dozens of tires tasted over the years.
Traditional trattoria along a tourist route, La Bottega Ai promessi sposi, is a safe and reliable reference in the often bragging offer in the city. Double soul - bacaro and osteria - offers typical Venetian dishes alongside proposals that come out of the lagoon (and from the offer of only fish) without wanting to overdo it, but keeping exactly what is promised and confirming the first - good - impression that has. Particular not to be taken for granted in the city and which often leads to disappointing experiences.
Address: Calle dell’Oca 4367, Cannaregio
Website: Facebook page
Opening hours: Monday 18.30-23; from Tuesday to Sunday 11.30-14.15 and 18.30-22.15
Type of cuisine: traditional Venetian and with regional proposals
Ambience: simple and welcoming