The streets of Venice are lined and lined with restaurants. In fact, all of the cities I’ve been to in Italy so far have been filled with restaurants. I’m pretty sure the main activity Italians think tourists want to do is eat. And eat. And eat.
But hey, as a foodie, I can’t say I totally mind this custom. Four-course meals equipped with plenty of wine, typically spanned across a two-hour time period…it’s not something I can really complain about.
However, the problem is that quantity doesn’t always equate to quality, and so far over 75% of the Italian joints I’ve hit on these restaurant-packed streets have been mediocre, or worse.
Nearly all of the places have menus with more options than I can fit on 10 hands. Not only does my indecisive mind despise choosing from such a lengthy list of items, but also it’s nearly impossible for a chef to cook such an extensive list of dishes really well. This is where quality is degraded by quantity. Where fresh becomes stale. Where Grace becomes slightly disappointed by the highly anticipated “authentic” Italian cuisine.
Just when I was getting sick of huge plates of pasta smothered in bland, not-so-fresh sauces and salads consisting of half-dead iceberg lettuce, I came across Barababao, what I believe to be the best restaurant in Venice.
Walking down one of the quaint side-streets of Venice, my family and I stumbled across a couple chowing down on what appeared to be two delicious, beautifully constructed plates of food. We immediately ditched our pursuit to find a restaurant near the water and grabbed a table at Barababo for lunch.
After seeing the couples’ food, the second sign that the restaurant was going to be good was the menu, a compact display of a good 10-15 dishes–something that I believe a chef can properly handle.
For the first time in Venice, I felt like I was eating flavorful, fresh, picturesque Italian food. Seasoned well and plated with care, Barababao was a hit. Not willing to take another risk at one one of the other restaurants with a dictionary menu, we promptly returned to Barababao the following evening. Happy to see us back, the gracious and attentive service gave us drinks on the house.