Osteria Bancogiro (Venice): a nice quiet dinner with understated elegance
Osteria Bancogiro is located in one of the fabled, old banking building, a minute walk away from the Rialto Bridge at the San Polo side. Wednesday last week, we wanted to try the wine bar, but with the very crowded pre-lunch locals having drinks and overflowing outside into the small campo, we decided to ask a wait staff if we can be accommodated for dinner in the upstairs restaurant. We were accommodated and were led upstairs where, as it was super early by Venetian dining time standards, she motioned if we would like a seat by the window overlooking the campo or one overlooking the Grand Canal. We took the one by the window. A very nice room, by the way.
Having had a very late lunch, we were still not as hungry as we usually are and decided to order a shared appetizer and a pasta dish each as our mains, and save some room for either cheese or dessert. Our waiter spoke very good English and was in agreement with our ordering strategy.
Our antipasti was the shared Seppie scottate con coda di manzo alla vaccinara. This dish rocked. It was a plump cuttlefish about the size of a baseball sitting on a sauce with plenty of oxtail meat chunks. We loved the overall texture and the flavor mix of the oxtail sauce with the sepia. Unforgettably delicious.
The dish went well with our shared half-bottle aperitif of 2010 Casata Montfort Pinot Grigio from Trentino. It was light-to-medium bodied with lean white fruit and slight mineral notes.
Our pasta dish consisted of the Ravioli crocanti di cinghiale e zucca. Three round raviolis, about 3 inches in diameter, filled with wild boar and with 2 balls of mashed sweet pumpkin sitting on top. This was comforting and pleasing with the nice contrast in texture, crunchy edges of the ravioli and smooth soft pumpkin, and was quite filling. Not as impressive to me, but which she also liked, was the other pasta dish of Tagliatelle nere which was sauced with spicy prawns and bottarga. Admittedly, I’m just not that big on bottarga.
Wine with our main was a bottle of the 2007 Vignalta Agno Tinto (Veneto) and made with 75% syrah which intrigued me as I don’t recall having had syrah from this region before. A medium-full bodied effort that was a pleasant surprise with its traditional Northern Rhone slight brettiness, nothing over-the-top and overall food-friendliness. Not bad.
Our wine actually went very well with our shared cheese course, which we opted for instead of dessert. Ours was a half order and consisted of 4 generously-sized contrastingly-nice cheeses from nearby farms and producers.
It appears that Bancogiro does not stick to the strict Venetian preparation of local dishes, but adds just the right touch to make them look slightly modern and quite elegant in presentation and appeal. We liked our experience and will not hesitate to recommend this restaurant to other Venice visitors.