In Venice, a small restaurant hidden in a secret "campiello" in Cannaregio, where the best local raw materials are dressed in a contemporary style and the 16th-century decorations evoke the suggestive atmospheres of the ancient Malvasie of the Serenissima.
Hostaria Bacanera is located in one of those rare and precious areas of Venice made up of slow rhythms and neighborhood shops, at the crossroads between Soportego de la Cason and Calle della Malvasia (a type of grapes) which reminds us that Venice was once populated by urban vineyards and sales of bulk wine.
The myth of the Serenissima is found in every detail of the restaurant, revealing its ancient soul. Headquarters of the Cannaregio prisons in the 1500s (Cason, from “incasonare” or imprisonment”), it changed its look many times, from a blacksmith’s shop to a gym, until in 2018 Paolo Risica, after a conservative renovation, opened here his first local.
I had been looking for a restaurant in Venice for a long time, till when, one evening, I came across this little campo and it was love at first sight.
(Marcello Forti, owner)
In the name, the sign of destiny: “bacanera” refers, in fact, to the black berries of the Hackberry tree, the protagonist of the campo (square in Venetian) where the restaurant’s romantic dehor is set up in the summer and under which Paolo used to play ball.
The restoration works have brought to light the ancient column and the original ceilings of the building, while unique pieces of great scenic effect have been chosen for the interior, such as an ancient wardrobe in inlaid wood, transformed into a counter, a vintage piano, gilded mirrors, and a cardinal red sofa dominated by the protagonists of the room: two precious portraits from the school of Tintoretto, respectively from the 16th and 17th centuries, which depict the Procurators of San Marco, the most important position during the Serenissima, immediately after the Doge.
In 2023, a new chapter opens: Paolo wants to project himself into other adventures, while the entrepreneur Marcello Forti is looking for a restaurant in Venice to fall in love with. Thus it is Marcello, the new owner, who today gives continuity to Bacanera, reaffirming its role as an important food and wine destination and thus adding another star to his collection, which already includes the famous Stendhal restaurant in Milan.
In the kitchen, chef Alessandro Tronconi aims to enhance the raw material, mainly using seasonal products from the lagoon, fish and vegetables in the first place, to create dishes that look to tradition, albeit refined by contemporary touches.
From fish from the Rialto market to the firstfruits and wild herbs of Sant’Erasmo, up to meat from sustainable farms, the chef works with quality ingredients to create a menu that changes according to the seasons. It ranges from starters like gourmet Venetian-style cicchetti (tapas), to delicious first courses such as Risotto with Burano gò fish and Bigoli with homemade garlic butter and Pellestrina mussels, up to second courses such as Guazzetto alla Veneta or Tagliata di vacca sorana, gorgonzola and raisins.
The wine list includes the best labels of the area, in particular those that work with the native grapes of Venice, as well as a careful selection of great wines, in particular from Piedmont, Lombardy and Tuscany.
In the dining room, Valentino Hoxhaj, as maitre d’, pampers customers, including many Venetians from the neighborhood, for which Bacanera has really become like a second home, happy to hide away in this authentic joint.
The two paintings that characterize the restaurant were originally from Paolo’s family and, even with the new management, they remained as protagonists, even in the restaurant’s menus and merchandise.