Tag Archives: bacaro

Botteghe ai Promessi Sposi

Fine and festive. Young but not too; warm, intimate yet lively…and, the food is delicious. The revised and rejuvenated Promessi Sposi: try it, you’ll like it.

Remember Spritz the cat? Well, this is Spritz’s owner’s place, my former vicino and across-the-hall, Tom Waits-loving neighbor, Claudio. He joined forces with Nicola and Cristiano just over a year ago and the three of them have managed to open a wonderful bàcaro cum trattoria, that could be just the thing for you’re up for either a cichetto and an ombra, or a satisfying meal.

I would say I was prejudiced, since Claudio was a perfect neighbor with a great cat, but actually it’s just the opposite. I know how passionate he is about cooking, but what if I’d gone to his new place and found it mediocre, what then? Maybe that’s why it took me six months to get there, but thankfully I didn’t have to face that touchy situation, because the meal my friend and I had was delightful. Delicious. Delectable. And more.

ravioli_rapi_rossi.jpgThe hand-written menu was a good sign; it meant that the evening’s dishes were based only on what quality ingredients were available. (This was also confirmed during a after-meal discussion between Claudio and my friend about where to obtain decent meat at an honest price; he has settled on a macellaio di fiducia from the Piedmont, but Federica promised to e-mail him about another butcher he might like to try, just up the road in Mogliano.)

We went for the beef tartare and fresh grilled canestrelli; the clam-lettes were sumptuous and the tartare was topped with bean sprouts and served with ceramic spoonfuls of minced red online, capers, mustard, and paprika, which when mixed together with bit of olive oil was equally sumptuous. Fede opted for the fegato alla Veneziano and pronounced it excellent, I went for the ravioli stuffed with saffroned rapi rossi (red turnips) topped with grated ricotta salata. Heaven.

The nice thing about the new Sposi is that it’s the best of many worlds: you can cichettare in the midst of a lively crowd, or sit down one room over (or in the garden in the summer) for a more tranquil ambience, and all at an ottimo rapporto qualità – prezzo: at a fair price for a quality meal.

Please tell Claudio to tell give Spritz my love – I do miss that big, orange guy.

  • Bottega ai Promessi Sposi
  • Calle de l’Oca 4367
  • Cannaregio, just off Campo Santi Apostoli
  • tel: 041 241 2747
  • open from 11.30 to 15 and nightly 18 to 23; closed Wednesday lunch.
  • €€

Market, Marcà. Mercato, Mercà. Va là!

Uno spritz al Marcà

Once you’ve spent any amount of time here, you’ll learn it’s best never to say that anything is assolutamente così, undeniably so. That’s because it’s probably only that way most, but not all of the time; or it’s changed since it was true (yesterday); or will have changed by the time someone experiences whatever it is you’re talking about; or you didn’t get the straight story to begin with. Take Al Marcà, the popular bàcaro in Campo San Giacometto near the Rialto Market that offers a wide variety of both tasty cicchetto novello, wine by the glass, and uno Spritz abbondante.

How long has it been there? Forever. Who knows about it, who goes there? Everybody. What’s its real name? Al Mercà, as a friend noticed recently when she reviewed her scontrino (receipt). Ma come mai, what’s up with that? (In a world of incessantly shifting truths, I like to pin down certainty whenever possible, especially on trivial details. Makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.)

You might assume “market” in Venetian is marcà. It isn’t. Mercà is the Venetian word for the Italian mercato, and this makes sense: we can see the relationship in the two words, we are at ease. So, why then, is Al Marcà printed so blatantly on the tenda? Is it wrong? A mistake? Some hip, VenInglese word? The answer is the one that often applies to so many questions concerning Italy, and certainly to Venice: dipende. Yes…and no.

Marcà, it turns out, is mercato (market), in the version of the Veneto dialect spoken in Noale, where the original owners are from. Noale is a whole 35 km up the road, so of course, they have a different word for market. And the word ended up printed on the awning. And the actual business is named differently. And no one ever bothered to change it. And it doesn’t matter to anyone but us, supplied with another topic for discussion as we bob beneath the awning, munching a polpetto and sipping a teroldego or an (exceptionally potent) Spritz.

There you have it. I knew this was a burning question for everyone, and I think, from our intense research, we have found the answer. But then again, I would never say it was assolutamente così…