Seafood Restaurants in Venice - Do Farai and La Furatola
My husband and I went to Venice this last August, which is of course the wrong time to go if you're a true gourment because many of the great restaurants are closed. We wanted seafood, and since we couldn't check out places such as Alle Testiere, we did some more research and had fun exploring the streets of Venice to find the right spots for dinner. The highlights were Do Farai and La Furatola.
Do Farai Osteria (130 Euro + tip for two; Calle Capeller, Dorsoduro, 041/2770369) was superb. We sat in the coutyard in the back and down the street from the restaurant, which offered a really unique and local experience, but also made the service a bit slow since it was far from the kitchen. However, it was worth it. Our head waiter was the nicest guy, who we decided was in charge of ordering our dinner as long as we had the freshest seafood possible. We had spider crab served with simply lemon, using the main shell as the bowl. It was beautiful and the crabmeat was delicate with a rich sea taste that is very different from Dungenous crab, which we're used to in SF. In fact, the way all the seafood and fish in Venice is delicate and tastes truly of the sea makes it really spectacular (as long as it's prepared properly). We followed the crab with a seafood pasta that included mussels, clams, and gambero rosso. It was either the sweet shrimp or the white wine they used in the sauce that made the sauce almost sweet in this dish. The garlic was nice and subtle, which allowed the flavor of the seafood to come through - a nice change from the usual garlic sauce that drownes the seafood flavor in most pasta dishes. The spaghetti was slightly more thin than what we're used to in the US and it somehow made everything more delicate and tasty. It truly was the best seafood pasta I've ever had. The grilled seabass that follwed was equally amazing with a simple lemon sauce prepard in front of you by the waiter. We had a nice Pinot Grigio with the meal. It complimented, but wasn't anything extraordinary. The tiramisu on the other hand was incredible. It wasn't the usually spongy cream cake with coco dust. It was dense, with a caramel top that made it almost sticky, but not sickly sweet. It struck the perfect balance and is something you must save room for.
The next night we went to Antica Trattoria La Furatola (100 Euro + tip for two; Calle Lunga S. Barnaba, Dorsoduro, 041/5208594) which felt very local. There were some tourists in the restaurant, but they were mostly Italian. You can only sit inside in very neighborhood restaurant type of surroundings. The wait staff were very nice and helpful. I was impressed that they greated me by my first name when I arrived. I had of course made the reservation in person the evening before, but I still thought it was a nice touch. Just like at Do Farai, we had our waiter bring us the freshest seafood choices. We really got into carpaccio at this place. We had tuna carpaccio with ouvo (a mushroom close to porcini which was in season). The mushroom is served carpaccio style raw with a dash of olive oil. The textures of the mushroom and the tuna complimented each other and the dish just felt incredibly luxurious in my mouth. Then we had the seabass carpaccio which came with just a bit of fresh lemon juice. It was served with the raw seabass heads (eyes and blood) which might turn some people off, but to us just added to the excitement of eating seafood that tastes like they had caught it while we had the first appetizer. It was superb. We tried a traditional dish of sardines pickled in onions and golden raisins. I like it even though I'm not really a sardine fan, but my husband loved it. We also had a seafood pasta this evening and it was rich in fresh seafood and tasted great. However, I think the sauce in the pasta at Do Farai was better, but I was so boiled over at Do Farai that it was hard to compare that pasta with any again. We drank the house red and white wine for dinner which were both above average. The dessert was fine, but I say skip it and head for gelato instead.