One thing about eating in Europe is that it is a culture that loves eating bite size pieces and variety – which is something that Ms. Buddha and I both fell in love with when we visited Barcelona years back. After the first night in Venice where we had enough food to feed a small village at Gam Gam, we searched for something a little bit more akin to tapas – one that’s very popular with the locals was Cantina aziende agricole Roberto Berti – which was thankfully about 15mins walk from the hotel.
The place itself is very unassuming and looked more like a corner fish and chips shop, but then again, some of the best meals I’ve had in my life were in places that looked like a corner store than at fine dining venues, so without any hesitation, we entered to find a proper counter full of tapas ready for selection!
Neither Ms. Buddha and I know a word of Italian, but the great thing about tapas places is that you can just point (and the prices are displayed) – and when all else fails, I’ve found that most people in Venice spoke conversational English (although they like it when you attempt their language first – which I did and failed!) Both Ms. Buddha and I pointed at a variety of items that were visually appealing and the excellent lady behind the counter even offered to cut the portions in 2 for us (mind reader!) I’ve learnt from an early age that restaurant people have a tough job, so whenever you can make their lives a little easier, you should, so when the food was almost done, I walked over to the counter to collect it instead of have her walk out from behind the counter – lady seem to appreciate the gesture.
The tapas were mostly seafood or ham on top of really really nice and fresh bread and this place to me is highly recommended! The croquettes were absolutely delicious – the reason being they had the perfect texture of being crunchy on the outside and soft and flavourful on the inside (and not too salty – which is a prerequisite for me). My favourite though was the one in the bottom middle – which was just slices of lard on top of the bread – it just melts into your mouth and it tasted like really excellent butter! A delight. While we ate, there were a steady stream of locals who came in and greeted the owner like family – most came in with empty bottles to get wine while also having a chat.
After a very satisfying meal – I was hungry for more and we made our way back towards the hotel on the lookout for more tapas – a quick search lead us to De Luca e Fred:
Da Luca e Fred is another popular spot for tapas, but slightly more touristy given the location – we went in anyway and after seeing offal – it was hard to say no. The service were a little colder compared to Roberto Berti and the food a little saltier – I suspect to make it more “tasty” to the tourist’s palate. That said, I would say it’s still worth a visit if you’re hungry after the first round of tapas. There were also a bunch of US tourists that were speaking about Chinese culture – but Ms. Buddha and I just sat and listened to their inaccuracies.
Overall – a truly delightful night of tapas eating, and the great thing about Venice is, even at like 7:30pm – it is still pretty bright and markets are still bustling – so we were able to walk a bit more to burn the calories off!