Monday, January 28, 2013
When I started planning my newest app, EAT VENICE, I asked friends and colleagues for their ‘top five’ Venice lists. I had my own favorites, but I always like to check in with people whose opinion's I trust. Almost every single one of them named Antiche Carampane as their number one choice.
Other restaurants like Corte Sconta, Testiere and La Bitta I'd been to many times over. But somehow Antiche Carampane had eluded me.
When I finally made it there, I realized that maybe one of the reasons that I'd never been was that it was hiding. I swear to god, in a city where heading off the beaten track is part of the charm, Carampane turns it into an art form. It is really, really hard to find. But, please, don't give up.
Why? Easy. Great, great food, in a relaxed and unpretentious setting. Worth getting a bit lost for, right?
Fish is the thing here, just about the freshest you can imagine. In fact, while I was there recently the owner had to interrupt taking my order to chat with a fisherman who had just arrived. They were discussing what he was likely to catch the following day, and if so, how much Carampane would order. That’s right. They were talking about fish so fresh it was still swimming around in the ocean.
Do feel free to look at the menu, but it’s mostly just for show. (except for the large sign out front that declares: no pizza, no lasagna, no menu turistico. That's for real) The menu changes daily based on - as I’ve explained - the catch of the day.
One of the best ways to enjoy fish this fresh is - at least in my humble opinion - raw. I felt as if my platter of crudi was about to swim away. I didn’t even touch the lemon, but did drizzle a bit of the fruity olive oil over all. A light sprinkling of crunchy sea salt, and it was heaven.
A quartet of gamberi came next. Plump and moist, they were cooked just enough to turn them pale pink. Served with a salad of micro greens, tossed with fresh figs and blueberries, a tart citrus vinaigrette pulled it all together. After I had finished everything, I didn't hesitate one second to pick up the little heads and suck out every last bit of goodness.
The pasta of the day was freshly made tagliatelle tossed with barely cooked sea scallops and a bright green, fresh herb pesto. The pesto just light enough to let the scallops be the star.
As I said, Antiche Carampane is really hidden away, deep in the heart of San Polo. This means that it’s beyond hard to find. But it also means it’s not over run with tourists. Make sure you bring a map, and if possible, plan out your route before hand.
And even though there won't be many tourists here, do reserve ahead. Because it is full of Venetians.
Because maybe they know the way?
Rio Terra delle Carampane
For more information about eating in Venice download my app, EAT VENICE, available at iTunes.