The last few days I’ve been visiting Tommaso in Lido di Jesolo, a small beach town near Venice, where he will be working in the kitchen for the summer season.
Unfortunately the weather was foggy all the days I came to visit! What a shame since I was looking forward to tanning since I’m incredibly pale. I can only imagine how packed this town is during the summer months! My hotel was only two blocks from the beach and every morning I went running on a perfect route right on the beachfront! Amazing.
The restaurant where Tommy is working at is called Don Claudio, literally one minute from my hotel, a casual place serving modern takes on Italian cuisine. It’s quite different from his previous job at Metamorfosi (read my review here) which was a fine dining Michelin starred restaurant where he worked as a commis. However, the main reason he decided to work at this restaurant was because he would be a chef de partie, a station chef, meaning he’s completely in charge of his own station. This means he needs to prep everything he needs for all his dishes; he’s at the primi station which includes gnocchi, pasta, and risotto. Both the gnocchi and all the different types of pasta are made from scratch. One day I even helped him make gnocchi (potato dumplings) flavored with pistachio paste.
I dined at the restaurant numerous nights because I wanted to try most of the dishes that he was making. Here are all the dishes I tried over the last few days.
First of all, their homemade bread was so yummy; warm out of the oven with a nice crust and fluffy interior with aromatic olive oil.
The raw appetizer was ok but lacked seasoning in my opinion.
The octopus with red bell pepper coulis was delicious; tender octopus with a sauce of fresh sweet red bell pepper with a tomato “bread”, sweet caramelized olives, and beautiful fragrant herbs.
The Caprino cheese cannolini was tasty with a nice crispy shell, fresh tomatoes, and aromatic herbs. However, the Caprino cheese, an Italian version of goat cheese, wasn’t as tangy and flavorful as I would have liked.
The homemade maccheroni with a perfect al dente texture was dressed in a rich sauce that mimicked a classic Italian sauce, amatriciana. Amatriciana is a spicy tomato sauce with pieces of guanciale (cured pork jowl) but their take was a seafood version with tomato sauce, stewed baby octopus, and smoked scallops pieces. On the bottom of the dish there were slices of earthy creamy eggplant, a nice touch to a great dish.
The homemade bigoli with also yummy with a variety of fresh seafood such as clams, mussels, and local white fish all tossed together with raw tomatoes.
The homemade gnocchi flavored with pistachio paste were literally soft pillows of creamy potato; the tiger prawns were sweet and succulent but I wish there was more pistachio flavor present, perhaps by adding chopped fresh pistachios on top. I wanted to try some of the main courses but I didn’t get around to trying any unfortunately!
The flourless chocolate cake was moist and rich topped with creamy chocolate gelato and fresh blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries. However, I do wish it was slightly sweeter because I’m not a huge fan of dark chocolate.
I absolutely loved the zabaione semifreddo. Zabione is a classic Italian sauce or custard made from egg yolks, sugar, and sweet wine and they made this into a semifreddo, a semi-frozen dessert with whip cream in it. The semifreddo was nestled in a pool of sweet gooey caramel (I’m obsessed with anything caramel) and topped with salty cookies, a perfect contrast in flavor and texture. Sooo good.
I enjoyed the food at Ristorante Don Claudio not only because Tommy is working there but because the food was overall flavorful and presented beautifully. Overall, my rating is a 7.5-8/10.
Another restaurant I went to in Lido di Jesolo was Bucintoro. I first ate here alone and liked it so much that Tommaso and I went for dinner on his day off.
A greek salad might sound extremely simple but I could tell that they put a little more effort in it. The salad had high quality ingredients; vibrant lettuces, sweet cherry tomatoes, taggiasche olives, and creamy tangy Feta cheese.
The spaghetti with clams and bottarga was outstanding; long noodles tossed in a creamy yet light sauce flavored with clam juice with tender sweet clams topped with salty bottarga (mullet roe). So satisfying. The other pasta dish was divine as well with delicate tagliolini with morsels of crab, fresh tomatoes, and a slight perfume of fresh rosemary.
The fritto misto of vegetables and seafood was another winner. Lightly fried, and not greasy, pieces of carrots, zucchini, and onions with tender sweet fried calamari, langoustine, and cicale di mare (squilla mantis) topped with fresh lemon juice. Perfection.
The baked branzino (Mediterranean sea bass) was moist and served with a plethora of vegetables; eggplant, zucchini, artichokes, bell peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes all deliciously roasted and topped with briny capers and olives and fresh aromatic herbs.
No great meal would be complete without dessert of course! The tiramisu was solid but not the best I’ve tasted but the fior di latte gelato “sundae” with pears and chocolate sauce hit the spot for me!
Not only was service amazing at Bucintoro, the menu was extensive! Meat and seafood dishes and even an entire pizza menu! Since Lido di Jesolo is a beach town, I wanted to eat as much seafood as possible since I never eat it in Florence. The food here was simple but executed well. Bucintoro is a charming restaurant that serves all kinds of Italian food so this is definitely the place to go if you’re with a group of picky eaters because there’s so many options on the menu! My rating is a 7.5-8/10.
I can only imagine how fun and lively this small beach town will be in July-August. Lido di Jesolo is a cute town worth stopping by for a night or two during the summer. I’m really happy that I was able to visit Tommaso at his new job before I head back to California since I won’t be seeing him till fall.