Venice is a city well known for it’s seafood, but with over 1000 restaurants, it’s clearly a land mine for tourists hoping to find a good seafood meal. Apart from the obvious places offering ‘turista menus’, there are a lot of other places which present themselves as offering the finest Venetian foods. A lot of these restaurants lure vulnerable tourists in, whilst offering food that’s below par.
I was determined to not be another statistic and did research on finding an excellent seafood restaurant in Venice. My research led me to this beautiful, cosy, 9 table restaurant called Osteria alle Testiere. This seafood restaurant is highly regarded in numerous articles, rated highly on Trip Advisor and also feature in the Michelin guide. Sounds like a winning combination to me! We wandered in for a late lunch, hoping to not have to wait. A beautiful aroma of fresh seafood welcomed us. The atmosphere looked casual yet classy at the same time. The restaurant was full and bustling, we couldn’t wait to join in on the action and taste the food. We were warmly greeted by Luca Di Vita, owner of Osteria alle Testiere. He said we wouldn’t have to wait long, and that a table would be available soon. True to his words, 10 minutes later we were seated and extremely excited.
The menu was a seafood lover’s dream! We wanted nearly everything on the menu and was in a real predicament on deciding what to get and whether we would be able to finish the food. We finally decided to order the sword fish carpaccio, steamed spider crab, spaghetti with ‘bevarasse’ clams, prawns in sweet & sour ‘busara’ style, scallops with orange and cervere leeks, and mussels ‘cassopipa’ style. Now the first thing I’d like to mention is the seafood was FRESH. Apparently the dishes are designed around the fresh daily seafood. We ordered a really dry and crisp local Tuscany white to enjoy with our seafood.
I really loved all the dishes and couldn’t fault anything about them. The dishes were clean tasting and simplistic. I’m a firm believer that with good seafood dishes, the chef should allow for the seafood to shine and allow it’s natural flavours come through. I find that a lot of chefs try to do too much with seafood, whereas I feel as though the seasoning should only compliment and play a supporting role with the dish. Osteria alle Testiere has achieved this perfectly, with every dish I am tasting the freshness of the seafood without any overpowering flavours. The sword fish carpaccio had the perfect acidity, the sweetness of the steamed spider crab came through, perfectly cooked al dente spaghetti flavoured by the natural saltiness from the clams, and the sweet & sour ‘busara’ sauce with the prawns were just to die for. I was a bit skeptical with this sweet and sour sauce because I automatically think of the Chinese version, which can really take over the dish. This busara sauce was really light and allowed me to fully appreciate the prawns.
We finished off with their homemade panna cotta for dessert. We tried to savour every bite as this was honestly the best panna cotta we’ve ever had! It tasted so milky and creamy, other panna cotta we have had just taste sweet. The texture was the real highlight of this dessert though, it was so wobbly that I was quite surprised it could even hold it’s own weight. I had never seen one made this well before. The lemon sauce and fresh berries that came with it just topped it all off! I was actually a little depressed after eating the panna cotta, as I was quite convinced that I may never experience a one this good ever again.
Overall, I absolutely loved every moment at Osteria alle Testiere. Luca was extremely friendly and provided a personable service. His recommendations on the wine, food and portions were spot on. The highlight was definitely the seafood though. I would say that this was probably the best seafood meal I’ve ever had. Now one thing I would say is that the price is certainly not the cheapest, and it makes for quite an expensive lunch. It would always be nicer to come for dinner but it’s extremely hard to get a booking. I thought the price was worth it, because dining at Osteria alle Testiere was one of my most memorable food experiences on our trip.
Osteria alle Testiere
Approx €70 EUR per person
Calle Del Mondo Novo Castello 5801
30122 Venezia VE, Italy