Venice Restaurant – Dinner at Antico Pignolo – A Wine Spectator Award Restaurant:
For our end of tour dinner in Venice, we dined at the Ristorante Antico Pignolo, a restaurant close to our hotel, the Splendid Hotel near St Mark’s Square. The San Marco area is more known for its tourist-quality restaurants and on arrival at Antico Pignolo’s entrance, I was surprised to see the restaurant’s collection of awards from Wine Spectator plastered on the front entrance of the restaurant.
Antico Pignolo is a fine-dining restaurant with quite a substantial wine cellar. They claim to have over 1,000 labels that have been carefully chosen from around the world. It’s for this reason that they have won their Wine Spectator awards. The restaurant was quite busy when we arrived and our group occupied two rooms of the restaurant.
Food at Antico Pignolo
For our meals we had an octopus antipasto which was very tender and delicate in flavour. My fellow diners thought that it needed more salt or a little spicing up, but I find that food in Italy is generally quite salty and it was a nice change to have a dish with less salt. Our primi piatti was seafood risotto which I thoroughly enjoyed. The night before, we had risotto ai frutti di mare (seafood risotto) at the Trattoria alla Madonna in San Polo which boasts of having the best seafood risotto in town, but I liked Antico Pignolo’s better. The rice was grainy and cooked to the right consistency and you could actually see and taste whole prawns and seafood in it.
Our main course, roasted salmon with vegetables was a let down. The salmon was overcooked and dry. My neighbour had the veal, which I didn’t think looked too appetizing either, but perhaps it tasted okay.
Dessert was panna cotta. Tony was put off by the chocolate dribbled on the plate to make the dish look bigger than it was – very 1970’s style. But on tasting the panna cotta it was very nice.
Service at Antico Pignolo
The restaurant was full and the waiters were rather flustered and at every course someone at our table was missing their dish and had to wait for more food to be prepared. The restaurant in fact have been pre-advised of our orders, so the mistakes were inexcusable.
The Antico Pignolo is a TripAdvisor-listed restaurant and no doubt it gets a lot of visits from TripAdvisor readers. The restaurant is pricey, which is reflective of restaurant prices around St Mark’s Square. While I found the fish main course to be disappointing and the service flustered, others have complained about the high prices of the wines. No doubt the restaurant is cashing in on their Wine Spectator awards.
Ristorante Antico Pignolo
Montecarlo, 451 Calle Specchieri
30124 Venice, Italy
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