Where to eat Venice: Da’a Marisa
After splurging a fair amount of our holiday budget in Murano on new champagne glasses for our own little balcony bar at home, we were asked at the showroom about our plans for the rest of the day. Given they revolved around food (of course), we were given a recommendation for a place where the locals eat.
Easily navigated via Vaporetto, we found ourselves at Trattoria Da’a Marisa, in the middle of two boat stops – Tre Archi and Crea – in the Cannaregio district of Venice. The glass factory had called ahead to book for us, which was just as well. The tables lining the canal were already almost full.
We’d been warned not much English was spoken but the style of food here meant that didn’t pose many difficulties. The trattoria serves plates ‘on a theme’ for lunch, usually variations on fish. Your choices are fairly simple – red or white wine and yay or nay to dessert. Sorted.
Having communicated that we had a reservation (and a great many people without bookings were turned away after us) and assured them that we ate fish, we sat down. A cool carafe of red wine was placed before us and almost immediately a swag of plates appeared. These were the standard starters – some delectable mussels in a very light mornay sauce and breadcrumbs, a plate of baccala, octopus in a dense tomato sauce, a dish of polenta and a salad of branzino, rocket and peppers (pictured at the top of this post).
Normally Greedy Girl passes on mussels but these were incredible, with a very mild flavour. The octopus was another hit – tender and tasty and the polenta was employed to help soak up the tomato sauce. Baccala – well, this was certainly better than the version we’d been served at Oro, but it’s still not something Greedy Girl is going to rave about. The revelation was the branzino, also known as sea bass. This was just flaked and combined brilliantly with some lightly dressed rocket and red peppers. Delish.
As you can see from the pictures, there’s no fancy plating here. This is casalinga cooking, with a team of women toiling in the kitchen. You see them working away when you brave the heat inside to visit the rest room.
Next up was a fish lasagna – again, perfectly wonderful to eat with layers of pasta, bechamel sauce, tomato and the fish. Greedy Girl’s Italian didn’t stretch to finding out what sort of fish was used but suffice to say, it was reasonably mild.
Then it was time for fritto misto – we opted for one serving instead of two and the platter was still enormous. The mixture was essentially just crumbed calamari rings, a few prawns and a large piece of a flat, white fish which needed a bit of attention, as it hadn’t been filleted. All perfectly yummy and we were very happy to snack on this while downing our second carafe of wine.
Too full to even consider dessert, we had an excellent coffee, paid the bill (only in cash – no credit cards are accepted) and wandered back to the Vaporetto stop.
This is definitely not a tourist trap. Get someone local to ring and make a booking for you (lunch or dinner) and have a fantastic alfresco experience in good weather. The younger wait staff speak a bit of English but it’s very handy here to have some facility with Italian.
Ristorante Da’a Marisa
Cannaregio, 652, Venice