The beautiful courtyard at Corta Sconta
Venice is a bit of an anomaly with the rest of Italy – it’s one of the main cities, but few people wax lyrical about the cuisine or share all of their great food experiences there. The locals cater to the masses of tourists, so expect to find trattorias with lots of pasta and pizza options on the menu, and expect to pay a premium to eat anywhere within sniffing distance of St Mark’s Square or with a view of/near a canal.
However, there are some definite brilliant hidey holes and Corta Sconta is one of them.
Carpaccio of sea bream and tuna
For a start, the entrance to the restaurant is a bland blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hole in the wall, but walk through the small indoor seating area and you’ll pop out the back to the most gorgeous courtyard. It feels like you have entered a secret garden, where some diners eat alone with their books and a glass of wine, amongst groups of locals catching up over never-ending spritzers – a refreshing mix of Aperol and prosecco.
There is a standard menu with a list of fresh pastas, made on the premises – sauces are whatever is available that day, which the owner and hostess, Rita, will happily share with you.
Steamed local clams with white wine and ginger
The daily menu consists of dishes made from strictly seasonal products – with the great option of letting them choose for you.
We started with a tuna carpaccio marinated in balsamic vinegar and sea bream marinated in orange. The fish was delightfully fresh and firm and I loved the sea bream but thought (secretly) to myself it was a shame to marinate gorgeous tuna in such a strong flavour as balsamic.
Next up we had clams steamed with white wine and ginger which were awesome. The sweetness of the clams were released into the broth that was quickly mopped up by crusty bread.
Sardines and prawns – two of the “six fish from laguna”
Third (and for us, final) dish was a dish consisting of “the six fish from Laguna” – the Venetian Lagoon. The six “fish”- recommended to be eaten from the more delicate to the more robust flavours – were cuttlefish roe, mantis shrimp, spider crab in cream on top of crusty squares of bread, prawns, octopus and sardines. Most were simply steamed and served with a generous drizzle of olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon.
We really did consider ordering some of the pasta dishes we saw served at other tables but by this stage both of us were full of seafood and prosecco but if you can squeeze it in, based on the quality and flavour of what we ate, I would definitely recommend it.
There’s such a strong feeling that the family are cooking for you, their friends, at Corta Sconta – it’s a place where you could easily spend the entire afternoon to escape the hustle and bustle outside.
Calle del Pestrin (Arsenale)
Tel: tel 041 5227024