Best of Venice Restaurants: Al Covo
Cesare Benelli and Diane Rankin own Al Covo (www.ristorantealcovo.com) , my favorite restaurant in Venice. Watch the show and you will see a commitment to excellence and a rugged determination to preserve authentic and honest Venetian cuisine…these folks are my heroes.
A small sidebar…we are eating lunch one day at Al Covo. Cameras are off. Plates of local salumi, fritto misto of baby red mullet, fried baby artichokes, fresh house-made rigatoni with pistachio-arugula pesto and bottarga, plates of broiled baby scallops and razor clams, cuttlefish braised in its own ink…you get the picture. One of my crew asks for a lemon wedge. True to form, request denied.
Now usually I am not a fan of restaurants foregoing requests for lemon, salt, ketchup, parmesan cheese on pastas with seafood etc…but here, you should do as Cesare tells you. His idea is a simple one, because he has a viewpoint that one should taste the food as he makes it, and not mask the delicate nuance of fresh baby crabs pulled an hour earlier from the lagoon. This is a place to suspend all your inclinations to tinker with the menu, or call an audible and start telling the experts how to cook your food.
Cesare and Diane epitomize everything good about the restaurant community. They understand the word hospitality and they execute amazing product. Al Covo is one of the five restaurants I want to cater my last meal. That says it all.