Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Corte della Pazienza, Venice, June 13, 2011—
PERHAPS BECAUSE IT WAS the Thirteenth, luck ran thin this day: second-rate lunch in an Ordinary Local; second-rate dinner in a third-rate joint. My fault entirely: I'd neglected to make a reservation at the restaurant we'd intended to patronize, and on Monday's there's not that much choice.
Well, there's more to dining than eating (though not much more), and the settings made up for it. Lunch was next to the fine Basilica on Murano: for me, this lasagna, really rather nice with its besciamella, peas, Bolognese, bits of prosciutto, and decent pasta. Okay: I take it back. Only by comparisons with truly first-rate places was this second-rate: in fact, it was quite acceptable.
White wine in carafe
• Zecchin, Campo San Donato, 20, Murano, 30141 Venezia; 041 527 5186
DINNER, HOWEVER, now that was another matter. We've only a week left, and we've drawn up a list of Restaurants To Visit. Only one of them is open on Mondays, and I'd planned on that one for so long I'd made myself think I'd actually reserved. When I called to check, it turned out I hadn't.

So we walked down the Fondamenta to a place we'd walked past every day for the last three weeks. Almost every time, the same waiter has greeted us, flirted with F___, and been generally friendly and amusing.

There were some nice bruschetti on the house, actually tasting a bit of garlic — a rare ingredient here in Venice. The side dish of cooked vegetables was okay, and my braciola, a thin pork chop, acceptable. F___, always nostalgic for Naples, ordered a pizza Margarita: it turned out to be Pizza Magari, not pizza at all but oregano pie with canned tomatoes and, says F___, grease. I only had a corner, and in any case I know better than to argue.

But, as a friend points out, the setting, even after a cold damp evening, was pretty damn superb, the Venice sunset glowing. I wouldn't go back to this place for food, but conversation over a glass of wine would be okay by me.
Red (!) wine in carafe
• Osteria da Bepi, Ponte delle Guglie, Cannaregio, Venice

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