Oh !!! Gatto Nero “Risotto al nero di seppia” and more…

After 50 years it doesn’t get better, this is something you can’t easily expect to find, but if you travel to Venice a trip to Gatto Nero in Burano this is something you shouldn’t miss.

It’s a winter day, the temperature is 20°C and we are sitting outside. The sunshines and the white table cloths make it feel regal. The restaurant is managed by trusted Massi, a fine gentlemen with a good attitude, the consummate professional with a big heart.

Now, ask yourself why is Italy such a great food destination, and the answer is simple; the people, cuisine, simplicity, raw materials, integrity, taste, freshness, hospitality and the ease and simplicity is all served with a gracious smile, all finished with a small espresso.

For many foodies they rarely think of Venice as a food destination, a city proudly known for gondola, Pinault Contemporary Museum, St. Mark’s square and many more important historic destinations including and overlooked by some of the best known old monuments of the city, hides a piece of history from the 20th century design architecture, the Olivetti Showroom built by the Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa (1906-1978). It is amazing work, and each time I see it, I am amazed.

Now think of canals and waterways and consider St. Erasmo, a place where some of the finest local veggies are grown: https://mesubim.com/2012/11/07/castraura/

The idea of a small island serving some of Italy’s best foods is a surprise to some, but not to us. I consider Venice a well kept secret, a place where there are many established chefs, and nearby you have restaurants such as La Cera a fantastic osteria:https://mesubim.com/?s=osteria+la+cera

Then you have one of the classic great restaurants, a place I consider a food mecca: https://mesubim.com/?s=da+ivohttps://mesubim.com/?s=da+ivo it is one of those experiences you savor, the hospitality, the staff, and the care given by Luciano and Marcella in the kitchen. Never underestimate the work and time which goes into preparing fresh foods each and every morning at 04h00am, Luciano take a trip to the market *that’s incredible commitment.

Da Arturo and Hani his trusted maitre’d, this is an experience unique to itself, and you’ll either love it, or walk away saying, oh well. But I am challenged by cozy authentic chef’s ways, Arturo is a legend and he deserves the respect.

He was one, if not the first to serve no fish in Venice and open to the after theater crowd. You’ll find no fresh fish, only Saor, something I adore, and if you love sweet and sour, this is a great alternative, and Hani is a cool addition to the scene.


Soar @ Gatto Nero

There is much more to explore, these are only a few and some say Aqua Pazza is excellent but I am not sure, and other adore Antica Carampane. Francesco has a flair, he’s passionate and he does all the shopping.


Now with many locals they have difficult in the Michelin scene and I agree it is complicated when you are used to simple straightforward culinary delights, all with a graciousness, yet affordable for most. I wouldn’t turn my nose up at Quadri and if you consider the location, quality and service it is an amazing experience. Chef Silvio is a faithful culinary emblem and he has worked with Alajmo for many years, and continues. I always recommend a trip to Quadri for lunch, it is an absolutely special experience, one you’ll appreciate.


Now jump a taxi or the Vaporetto, it is only a boat ride away from Venice and if you plan a lunch allow 45-minutes to get there unless you go by water taxi. There is no doubting you’ll find the finest Risotto ever you’ll try, a monumental dish made by chef Ruggero, al nero di seppia (Black squid risotto).

I sit here at the Aman in Venice and say “what the fuck” (excuse my French) but how can something be so perfect! Massi Bovo the chef’s son brings his Dad to the table, and with a grin he’s produced one of those dishes I’ll never forget, and he knows it. The perfect setting, it doesn’t get better, Gatto Nero was founded in 1965 by Ruggero and his wife, and these days you’ll find Massimiliano always at the forefront of Trattoria Gatto Nero. 

The story goes: Ruggero was a waiter at Gatto Nero and one day some clients felt disappointed so he said, hold on, and he put on an apron and cooked for them, and the rest is history.

What I respect is, Italian chefs often have such fabulous personas, they are proud yet accessible, and snobbery is not tolerated. There are only a handful of restaurants where you can find yourself having a food orgaism, sitting quietly at the table taking it all in, and this is one of them.

There are many other restaurants in Veneto to try and some I missed to mention, those people speak of, small quaint places in the Lido, or in Campalto, Osteria alle Testiere, Al Covo, Da Fiore and many more.

Categories: Restaurants