In Venice, Meet Me at Rivetta


Fish lasagne? Don’t think about it.  Just try it.

We’re eating at Trattoria alla Rivetta in Venice.  We’ve been coming here for over 20 years—for the seafood risotto, the moeche (soft shell crabs), the branzino, and whatever else they have that day that’s fresh. And always, in addition to great fish, there is a generous assortment of fresh vegetables that are boiled, sliced, and served with a generous anointing of olive oil. Was ever a potato so good?

What makes Rivetta special, more special, is the lunch crowd.  Get to the restaurant at noon and you’ll find a room full of black and white stripe shirts, an occasional red and white one, too. Gondoliers. You have to figure: if those guys like the food, it has to be good.

On one of my first trips to Venice, over a period of 2-3 days my wife and I had eaten badly in Venice. Not just badly, atrociously.  I’m not coming back here, I said to my wife. Why pay top dollar for bad food?

But we got lucky. In our post-lunch wandering, we passed by this little place near San Zaccaria.  Gazing inside, I saw the boys.

“Look,” I said to my wife. “Gondoliers.”

“Like a truck stop,” she said.

Since then, when in Venice, we eat at Rivetta.  Over time the prices have risen. The quality has remained the same.

Stopping for lunch one year, we were disappointed to learn the gondoliers had finished off the risotto.  Try the lasagna, Sergio, our server, said. We did.

Today, whether risotto or lasagna, we know we’ll be happy.


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