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“Not much to look at but definitely a destination restaurant” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Osteria alle Testiere

Osteria alle Testiere
Calle del Mondo Novo, 5801, 30122 Venice, Italy (Castello)
041 522 7220
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Ranked #40 of 1,197 Restaurants in Venice
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Local cuisine, Special occasions
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Neighborhood: Castello
King's Lynn, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
275 reviews 275 reviews
187 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 113 cities Reviews in 113 cities
213 helpful votes 213 helpful votes
“Not much to look at but definitely a destination restaurant”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2013

As others have pointed out, Alle Testiere is a very small restaurant which opens right off the Calle del Mondo Novo not far from Santa Maria Formosa. After plenty of on-line research, we had booked several weeks ahead of our trip to Venice - a very wise move, as it turned out, since when we arrived promptly at 7.00 for the start of service the restaurant was already half full and a line of optimistic would-be diners was forming. No table is especially good but given the choice I would not recommend ours in the corner which left me facing a blank wall with a scattering of pictures and occasionally getting nudged in the back by people passing through to the toilet.

Given the opening rush, there was an inevitable delay of about 20 minutes before anything reached our table but once we had our first drinks and a generous basket of bread and breadsticks our antipasti followed quickly afterwards. The front of house, Luca, spoke excellent English (and, as we heard, excellent French and German too) and was supported by a couple of excellent but more taciturn waiters. As well as a faithful local clientele, it was very clear that many foreigners return here year after year and are remembered.

Alle Testiere changes its menu daily, according to what is fresh and available in the market. (It is essentially a fish restaurant and we saw one couple who had not done their research leave as soon as this dawned on them.) There were very few dishes listed that I would not happily have eaten and making a choice was really quite difficult. We noticed that several dishes not on the menu appeared on neighbouring tables so it might be worth asking if there is something in season that you particularly want to try.

Intending to eat a full menu Italian-style, we restricted ourselves to a shared starter - a superb version of baccala mantecato, perhaps the best we had in Venice, served with slices of grilled white polenta. Our primi were both superlative plates of pasta: my gnocchetti with spider crab and a few baby tomatoes was exquisite; my wife's pumpkin ravioli with prawns even better.

Although we had ordered a large plate of grilled fish and crustaceans as our main course we had noticed capelonghe or razor clams on the menu and asked if one might be included. We were thinking of the large ones we find in Norfolk, which are not to everyone's taste, but received a whole plateful of their tiny infant relatives, cooked in butter: fabulous. Other things on our platter included excellent small squid, mantis prawns, a tiny John Dory, a piece of monkfish and a slightly over-cooked sea bass. At about 46 euros for the dish this would have been a generous meal in its own right.

Absolutely stuffed, we still found room to share a fresh peach tart (fatto in casa like all the desserts) with peach ice-cream before 2 excellent espressos with cantucci. After a good Campari spritz and a prosecco, accompanying wines by the glass were left to Luca and included a cataratto, a verdicchio and a light red, all good matches for the food and all reasonably priced. Our total bill of 159 euros was far from unreasonable for the quality and quantity of what we ate and my only regret is that a brief stay in Venice only allowed us one meal here.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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625 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Maybe the best seafood restaurant in Venice?”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2013

On our most recent trip to Venice, my wife and I ate at Alle Testiere 3 times. A superb wine list, excellent and very friendly service and an extraordinary menu of the freshest local seafood and pastas made every meal a delight. With only 20 seats available, you must reserve in advance, but when you do, you will be rewarded with a truly memorable Venetian dining experience.

Visited September 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
toronto
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Superb seafood dinner”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2013

One of the best seafood restaurants we've ever been to.... Taste and presentation top notch (we especially loved the delicate sauces enhancing, yet not overwhelming the fish). Wines in all price ranges; we had a very reasonable white suggested by the staff. Nice ambience and great service. We're not sure if Michelin ever looked at it; they should (at least for Bib Gourmet). Deserts 1st class as well...what else? reasonable prices for Venice (as opposed to a tourist trap near San Marco where you'll save 20 euros and feel bloated for a week...).
Would we recommend / return: ABSOLUTELY

  • Visited September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Gateway Restaurant”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2013

Excellent as expected. Added benefit, host turned us on to other great Venetian restaurants during our stay.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Delectible Seafood and homemade pasta”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2013 via mobile

Alla Testiere is a quaint, family run restaurant with few tables and delicious fresh catch dishes. Chef visits the market in the morning to make up daily menu. Make reservations. Memorable meal, great food, friendly hard-working staff.

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