Trattoria all Madonna – A Venetian Institution:
Trattoria alla Madonna was one of the first restaurants we dined at when we arrived in Venice. Located near the Rialto Bridge in the San Polo district, it was easy to get to from our hotel in San Marco. Having been around since the 1950′s, Trattoria alla Madonna is a Venetian institution and a good base from which to compare all trattorias that planned on dining at during our stay.
Trattoria alla Madonna
Mr. Fulvio Rado opened Trattoria alla Madonna in Venice in 1954 and for the last 35 years it has been managed by his son Lucio. There are nine dining rooms at alla Madonna and one of the features of this Venice trattoria is the wealth of Italian contemporary artwork which decorate its walls.
We arrived at Trattoria alla Madonna to find a queue of people waiting to get a table in the restaurant. This popular and busy trattoria only takes reservations for tables of four or more. If there is only the two of you, just show up and join the queue – it’s best to get there at 19.00 or after 21.00.
The antipasti counter and seafood chiller are at the front of the restaurant and as we waited for our table, we were entertained watching the waiters in their black and white uniforms busily assembling antipasto plates and seafood dishes ordered by diners. The clientele was a mix of locals and tourists. It may have been my imagination but the tourists were ushered to the left section of the restaurant and we found ourselves sitting next to an American couple, a Malaysian guy and a French couple. In front of us was a table occupied by a Japanese group.
Trattoria alla Madonna specializes in seafood which suited us just fine, but if you prefer meat, they do have meat dishes on their menu, such as Fegato alla Veneziana (liver), Scaloppine di Vitello (veal scaloppine) and Costato di Vitello (grilled veal chops). Although I was tempted by the Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia (squid-ink spaghetti), we ordered the Antipasto Misto di Pesce, followed by Risotto ai Frutti di Mare (seafood risotto) and the Fritto Misto (mixed seafood). The French couple next to us, who were medical professors from Dijon, have been coming to the Trattoria alla Madonna for over 20 years. Madame Carli insisted that I have a taste of her Granseola Condita, the trattoria’s specialty crab-meat antipasto. It was very tasty and certainly a dish that I would have on our next visit.
Trattoria alla Madonna serves traditional Venetian dishes at reasonable prices. Whilst we thoroughly enjoyed our dinner there, I would not go so far as to say that the food was excellent – I’ve had nicer Risotto ai Frutti di Mare elsewhere. The trattoria’s menu is quite large so it requires more than one visit to get an appreciation of the restaurant’s offerings. We liked the lively atmosphere of the trattoria and would certainly dine there again.
How to Get to Alla Madonna
From the foot of the Rialto Bridge, at the San Polo end of the bridge, turn left and follow the Riva del Vin along the Grand Canal. Look out for Sottoportego della Madonna, the second passageway on your right, which then becomes Calle della Madonna. Trattoria alla Madonna, with a big yellow sign across the street, is on your left, .
Note: Trattoria alla Madonna is closed on Wednesdays. It is also closed for holidays all of January and for two weeks in August.
Trattoria alla Madonna
Calle della Madonna
San Polo, Venice