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Alle Testiere Closed on Monday - Suggestions for a Good Alternative?

cqt May 15, 2010 03:12 PM

Hi everyone!

It has been 5 years since we've been to Venice. Alle Testiere has always been the favorite for us, but we won't be able to go because they are closed on Monday. Unfortunately, we are just doing a day trip to Venice.

Does anyone have recommendations for a similar caliber restaurant?

We love seafood, especially the raw crudos (scampi, hmmmm!!!), baked branzino, grilled scampi, etc. Okay, I am positively drooling thinking about this!

Your help is greatly appreciated!

  1. livingvenice Jun 24, 2010 09:02 AM

    Hi, The reason lots of places are closed on Monday is that it's a non-fish day. However, there are some excellent choice for lovely meals. Restaurant Orto dei Mori (on campo dei Mori) is superb and quite reasonable; then there's the Botteghe dei Promessi Sposi near Campo Santi Apostoli; the Cantina on Campo San Felice in the Strada Nova is open on Monday, great food, excellent wines. I think the Aciugheta is open on Monday as well (that would make sense if Ridotto is, I suppose). There's always the wonderful La BItta, Garanghelo on calle dei Boteri, and the Fiaschetteria Toscana. There's a great little osteria called Bifora on Campo Santa Margherita that might do the trick.

    Katie's right tho...Fontego is simply excellent, Lolo's the President of the Rialto Fish market so you know he's a demanding in pesce department. You'll have to wait til Tuesday, though...

    Buon Apetito Veneziano!

    (Getting the idea for a blog post. Hm.)

    1. s
      sibeats Jun 16, 2010 09:36 AM

      Not sure when your trip is (or was), but I just wanted to let you know that we ate at Il Ridotto on a Monday this week and the food was unbelievable. Better by a long shot than anything else we've eaten here. Corte Sconta was a major disappointment. A couple of decent dishes, the rest were not good at all. Il Refolo was very good antipasti and pizza, casual, enjoyed it very much.
      At Il Ridotto I started with the tartare...there was salmon and I think bream...not sure, but they were incredible. My husband had the scampi crudo and I am still thinking about it. The flavors were great, the textures so interesting and everything was very fresh. The chef kept coming out to see how we were enjoying everything. I would love to be able to go back and do a tasting menu of all the seafood. Highly recommended!

      1. c
        cqt May 25, 2010 02:31 PM

        Hi everyone - we ate at Al Covo on Monday for lunch. The food was good, but I have to confess that I didn't find it to be that special. We had the crudo of sea bass and octopus (I think on this last one?), a black ink spaghetti with scampi ragu, deep-fried soft shell crab and sole. The owner's wife, Diane, was great and so hospitable. The highlight for me was the dessert which was a pannacotta and hazelnut ice cream. Overall, I thought that it was a good but ordinary meal. We had fun chatting with others who were in the restaurant from Europe so it was a fun, relaxing lunch after the craziness that is Venice and its many tourists.

        We got back to Florence last night and had an amazing dinner at one of our favorite seafood places, Fuor d'Acqua. They get their seafood from the coast fresh nightly. We had amazing raw scampi (so sweet), tuna/seabass and tuna tartare for our starters; steamed scampi (a mess to eat but super sweet); lobster spaghetti (amazing but by this time, we were stuffed to the gills; branzino cooked with potatoes, tomatoes, etc. (too stuffed to full enjoy). It wasn't cheap at 300-euros for 3 people but this included wine.

        Thanks everyone (esp Jen and PBSF) for your recommendations!

        1. s
          sibeats May 16, 2010 03:51 PM

          Where does Corte Sconta rate? An acquaintance mentioned we must eat there, I searched here, but didn't come up with much info. How does it compare to Alle Testiere? Thanks!

          10 Replies
          1. re: sibeats
            cqt May 16, 2010 03:55 PM

            Thank you for all the suggestions - I am now between Al Covo or Il Ridotto but am worried that Il Ridotto (although amazing) won't give me the seafood fix that I want.

            Any thoughts - I'll also post this on Joe H's thread to see if he has any thoughts.

            Thanks, again!

            1. re: cqt
              zerlina May 16, 2010 04:23 PM

              Umm, it's hard to see how *any* restaurant in Venice can have the freshest of fish on Monday night; the Rialto fish market is closed on Monday and, of course, on Sunday.

              1. re: zerlina
                jen kalb May 16, 2010 05:58 PM

                I believe that some of the restaurants have independent sources for fish- the fish are out there 7 days per week.

              2. re: cqt
                OCAnn May 20, 2010 08:14 AM

                I think Il Ridotto served up great seafood. We had octopus, monk fish liver and squid....

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/697049 | Review: Il Refolo, Fiaschetteria Toscana & Il Ridotto | Venice

              3. re: sibeats
                jen kalb May 16, 2010 04:02 PM

                Its a very good restaurant serving fine fresh seafood. I cant say how it rates vs. Alle Testiere, since I havent been to the latter. Standards for the raw materials in the good restaurants in Venice are high and the cuisine is not complex, and its hard (for me) to see how Alle Testiere could be significantly better, if at all than say Corte Sconta or Al Covo.

                1. re: sibeats
                  PBSF May 16, 2010 05:58 PM

                  I agree with jen kalb that Conte Sconte is a very good Venetian seafood restaurant. It is much larger then Alle Testiere with garden seating in the back. I have not been there in quite a few years but my Venetian friends said that the standard has not change. Alle Testiere is less traditional where the antipasti and the three daily special secondi have some inventive touches without being overly complicated or too far out. And there is always a good selection of simply grilled seafood such as scampi, seabass, etc. These secondi are served with a nice side of grilled vegetables.
                  Alle Testiere has been praised on this board to such a degree that it is above every other place in Venice. Maybe because its small size, it comes across as being very exclusive. Though it is one of our favorite restaurant in Venice, there are others that are just as good. I think Boccadoro is excellent, just as good as Alle Testiere and the service is not hot and cold that Alle Testiere can be. And one doesn't have to choose between early or late seating. The issue is finding a good one that is open Monday nights.

                  1. re: PBSF
                    sibeats May 16, 2010 09:03 PM

                    Thanks to you and jen for the quick responses. I think we are going to give Corte Sconta a try...our other reservations are at Il Ridotto, Il Refolo and Vini da Grigio. I think it will be a nice variety.
                    We have 3 other nights in Venice, we will probably cook or do a little cichetti crawl. We are also booked for a cooking class with Enrica Rocca one day, so that will be fun as well.

                    1. re: sibeats
                      PBSF May 16, 2010 09:15 PM

                      I think you will eat very well with your choice of restaurants. One of the big advantage of staying in an apartment is being able to buy and cook seafood and vegetables from the Rialto market. The meat and poultry from surrounding butchers are not too shabby either. And because good restaurants tends to be expensive in Venice, it is an easy way to save some euros and have some fun. We spend quite a bit of time in Venice and we truly enjoy shopping and cooking in our apartment.

                    2. re: PBSF
                      cqt May 18, 2010 10:53 PM

                      Thanks Jen Kalb and PBSF - we booked at Al Covo. Unfortunately, Corte Sconta was closed on Monday. I would love to try Il Ridotto but the thought of not getting the raw scampi made me reconsider and book at Al Covo.

                      As for freshness of seafood, I am not concerned. I don't expect them to be killing the fish right in front of me. Being from CA, our sushi and sashimi (fresh as it is) comes frozen from Japan. A couple of days is not going to bother us - the quality of these restaurants will not doubt ensure quality of their seafood or as Jen mentioned, probably have connections to get this seafood fresh elsewhere. Our other favorite in Italy (Fuor d'Acqua in Florence) gets their seafood from the coast daily after 8pm.

                      1. re: cqt
                        PBSF May 18, 2010 11:25 PM

                        I think Al Covo is a good choice for the difficult Monday. In the past few years, to our dismayed, we are encountering more and more farmed seafood in the Rialto market and Venice in general. These included branzino and orata. These are just not as good tasting (muddier flavor and softer texture). Wild branzino and orata are still available, generally much larger, and cost twice as much by weight. Sadly, except for the very best restaurants, much being served is the farmed variety. If this is important to you, I would ask the restaurant staff before ordering it. And most of the scampi are no longer from the Mediterranean but are from the Northern Atlantic. They are just not as good. Given all that, the seafood in Venice is still amazing.

                  2. PBSF May 15, 2010 10:10 PM

                    We had a nice meal at Al Covo this April. There was an excellent raw fish antipasta on the menu. They currently are offering a 3 course menu for 48E, service not included. One can select any antipasto or primi, then a secondi, and cheese or dessert off the a la carte menu. Couple of items had a supplements. The only stipulation is that the entire table must order 3 courses. I thought it was an excellent value since we thought it had gotten too expensive on a previous visit. To our surprise, the secondi section of the menu had more meat options than seafood. There were just two seafood secondi plus one daily special.

                    1. katieparla May 15, 2010 03:15 PM

                      for crudi/spectacular seafood in general, check out al fontego in cannaregio. i cant say enough good things about the quality of the fish and the service. if im not mistaken the closing day is wednesday but it may be useful to double check. also, some restaurants in venice stay open every day during peak season so alle testiere may be open monday after all...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: katieparla
                        jen kalb May 15, 2010 09:02 PM

                        al fontego's closing day is Monday too
                        Weve had crudo at da Fiore - but its closed Monday also.
                        IYou might want to check al Covo, which has offered it in the past and does NOT have a Monday closing day. Good luck!.

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