Osteria La Zucca, Venezia
I discovered this charming osteria at least 15 years ago and it has become my “go to place” whenever I’m in Venice. At the time my Italian was non-existent and I remember the owner going through virtually every item on the menu with me to explain the dishes. I was so impressed that he would take the time and have the patience to do that!
La Zucca (the pumpkin) is a very small restaurant with limited seating, so reservations for lunch and dinner are essential! Sometimes there is a sign on the door indicating that they are completely booked for the entire day, so try to avoid the disappointment book early! I have had friends who live in the Veneto region meet me at La Zucca for dinner, and they are skepical because they claim Venice restaurants are always over-priced and do not have the best cuisine> But in every case they were impressed with both the quality and the prices. I have also directed fellow tourists here and some have told me it was the most memorable dinner they had in Italy!
Sometimes perceived as a “vegetarian restaurant”- perhaps because of the wide variety of creative and fresh vegetable dishes – the menu at La Zucca includes fantastic house-made pasta and appetizers, as well as meat-oriented main dishes and a variety of exciting and fresh vegetable options, which is refreshing since “vegetables” at many Italian restaurants basically means a mixed salad or potatoes.
By far the most unique and delicious appetizer is the flan di zucca, a warm, smooth and savory pumkin dish with shaved parmesan on top. I’ve had friends who hate pumpkin try this dish and rave about it. They also feature some beautiful soups and other appetizers like the ones pictured below:
The pasta dishes are also wonderful. Perhaps my favorite is one of the simplest, but it is tagliatelle topped with a rich and flavorful tomato sauce and fresh ricotta cheese. It is such a simple dish, but the flavors are intense and wonderful! I also adore their pasta with gorgonzola with pears, and gorgonzola with asparagus. The lasagna is perfect as well!
And of course, you need to try and save room for a dessert. Zucca has a varied and changing list of desserts ranging from chocolate or limoncello mousse, to various cakes, and even fresh fruit dishes – there is something for everyone here!
To me, a visit to Venice is not complete without at least one meal at Osteria La Zucca in the Siestre San Polo, Venice. I know it will be the same for you as well.