Ristorante Quadri (VE)
Superlatives may seem cliché when it comes to Venice, but Alajmo's Quadri is truly one of the most beautiful restaurants in the world.
The only restaurant overlooking the wonderful Piazza San Marco, its majestic rooms are located on the upper floor of the historic Grancaffè Quadri in what were once the rooms of the Procurators of the Serenissima, opened to the public in 1844 by the Vaerini brothers who at the time managed the cafè.
In 2011 Massimiliano and Raffaele Alajmo took over the leadership of Quadri, achieving the Michelin star, and in 2018 they completed a surprising restoration entrusted to the designer Philippe Starck and to the most skilled Venetian artisans.
The gastronomic proposal is strongly linked to the Venice Lagoon and its products, historically recontextualized through a new brightness that gives it greater depth.
(Max Alajmo, chef)
The result is a dreamlike hymn to the history of Venice, where its most precious and iconic decorations, from Murano glass chandeliers to silk brocades, are flanked by an ingenious surrealist symbolism. Starting with the winged lion of Venice, which we find in an en peluche version hanging above the stairs leading to the restaurant, flanked by dozens of fantastic creatures, from fox to rabbit, all winged, purchased in the mythical Deyrolle shop in Paris, arranged above the doors of the restaurant.
On the walls, the traditional brocatelle fabric by Tessiture Bevilacqua has been reinterpreted with great irony, placing the Alajmo brothers in place of the heads of the Gorgons; while the Rezzonico chandelier in Murano glass from the 1930s is accompanied by original luminous sculptures by the French artist Aristide Najean.
And a tribute to high water could not be missing, given that the Quadri is located in one of the lowest points of Venice. The legs of the tables and the reception counter are, in fact, in natural brass, a material that oxidizing will show the different levels reached by water over the years.
Even the recipes proposed are inspired by the tradition of Venice, obviously reinterpreted through the skillful touch of Max Alajmo and his brigade. The dishes that make up the fun Quattro Atti tasting menu, from appetizers to dessert, are served at the same time in small portions, making the table rich both for the eyes and the palate, just as it used to be during the Renaissance banquets at the Doge’s Palace (it is possible to order also à la carte choosing from the dishes of the Quattro Atti which will then be served in full version).
The delights are endless, from Alajmo’s signatures such as Lagoon Cappuccino, to paccheri pasta with raw fish and pistachio sauce, up to lobster breaded but not cooked with spice sauce and crunchy mango, peach and fennel salad, for finish with the Ducale chocolate dessert or the Gran Gelato del Quadri.
The cellar counts about 1000 labels that enhance small producers as well as big international names, often with creative collaborations. Like the one with Josko Gravner, the famous winemaker from Gorizia, that saw the creation of a special 1 and a half liter glass designed to best savor his precious wines.
And for a truly unforgettable experience, just kick off the evening at the Grancaffè Quadri ordering a Gin Martini and some gourmet cicchetti (traditional Venetian fingerfood), before going up to the restaurant and enjoying all the magic of the night that falls on Piazza San Marco.
Don’t worry in case of high water: the Quadri staff will provide you with fun plastic high boots to wear over your shoes. So even this all-Venetian phenomenon linked to the tides will turn into a wonderful adventure!
Piazza San Marco 121
Tel. +39 049 630303
Two courses: 120 euro
Three courses: 150 euro
Quattro Atti tasting menu: 215 euro
Tre Atti tasting menu: 175 euro
Cicchetti at Gran caffè Quadri: from 3,50 euro per 2 pieces
Cocktails: from 10 euro