When you enter the Chat Qui Rit, you suddenly feel like wrapped up in a pampering atmosphere, the same that you breathe in those timeless landmarks of relaxed luxury such as Rules in London or the Harry’s Bar at its golden age. A privilege that can be achieved only when nothing is left to chance and that Giovanni Mozzato, a charming restaurateur with a huge passion for good food and good wine, has carefully been pursuing since the Chat Qui Rit’s opening in 2015.
Historic restaurant in Venice, the Chat Qui Rit’s history starts from afar: born in the ‘40s as a cocktail bar, perfect after-dinner spot when the San Marco area was full of theatres (the Teatro La Fenice is just around the corner), during the ‘80s became a self-service restaurant, until 2015 when Giovanni transformed it into a bistro restaurant with an international allure and an authentic Venetian soul.
In the kitchen, the Venetian chef Davide Scarpa is flanked by young Leonardo Bozzato, the Tradition and the New; a liaison that is found in all aspects of the restaurant, being one of the secrets behind its success. The menu, created with the best raw materials locally supplied or guaranteed by top-notch national food suppliers, is designed to please both the finest palates as well as true gourmets. Delicacies like Seared Prawns on Black Truffle Potato Foam with Vinegar Pioppini and Pistachio “Surprise”; Stuffed Tomato with Creamed Cod, Tomato Water, and Burrata Panna Cotta; Linguine with Crab Sauce, Raw Cuttlefish, Sea Herb, Ginger Gel and Sake; or last but not least Ombrina with smoked and lacquered eel, Tosazu sauce and Togarashi spring onion…Again, a merger between Tradition and Innovation, the true soul of Venice.
In addition to the impeccable service, the restaurant amazes for its excellent wine list: over 450 labels that Giovanni personally selects among major manufacturers (with a remarkable selection of bubbles!) as well as small producers.
The interior design is also a combination of old and new: during the restoration, the wooden ceiling and the typically Venetian walls have been preserved, while the original antique tiles – that have been removed from the floor as it was raised in order to avoid problems with the phenomenon of “high water” – have become the frame of the original “green wall” that embellishes the restaurant.
The Gentlemen’s Club atmosphere is highlighted by the comfortable leather armchairs by Dialma Brown and the vintage Spanish chairs transformed into stools; as well as the many original brocantage items found in the local antique markets of Piazzola sul Brenta and Portobuffolè. Great attention has been paid to the lighting, artistic but never invasive, with the Skygarden lights by Flos hanging above the large convivial table and the Sahara lights by Karman that illuminate the round tables.
Since 1948, the name Chat Qui Rit (“the laughing cat”) has never been changed by the venue’s owners despite the many transformations. Paying homage to the past, Giovanni decided to use the image of the kitten that appears in the original sign hung outside the restaurant – today exposed on the wall like a work of art – for the new logo of its venture.