Imagine the osteria of your dreams: the best wines, great food, a cozy atmosphere, and a host you will feel like you have known him forever. I Rusteghi is all this and much, much more. A former high-level cicchetteria, it now proposes a more structured gourmet offer, with three tasting menus that vary according to the seasons and the chef’s inspiration.
The host of this little paradise, located in a “secret” little square near the Rialto Bridge, is Giovanni d’Este, son and grandson of art. His grandfather was, in fact, the first to import wines from southern Italy to Venice, whilst his parents, Manuela and Roberto, who opened I Rusteghi in 1990, were the precursors of the concept of osteria-gourmet. From them, Giovanni learned many things, including the philosophy of offering his customers only high-quality products and the art of eating and drinking well.
For lunch or dinner, Giovanni proposes seasonal menus with gourmet ingredients ranging from beef tagliata di Rubia with Maldon salt, to spaghetti with pistachio pesto from Bronte Dop, up to fish main courses that Giovanni carefully chooses every morning at the Rialto Fish Market.
True to the values of the past, Giovanni wants only the best for his clients. So if you like having a treat, you can order Krug champagne, Edgerton gin or Mazoyeres Chambertin, Gaja and Sassicaia wines. Or, if you want simplicity, just ask to discover small local wine producers, perhaps accompanied by a selection of Italian artisanal cheeses and cold cuts.
With only a dozen seats inside the small Osteria and just as many in the little square, it’s definitely best to book in advance. Upon request, Giovanni can arrange for a visit to the Rialto market in order to choose the fish you will be eaten later, a great adventure to see how the “true” Venetian life is like.
I Rusteghi is truly a unique place that will win you over for its magical and welcoming atmosphere, made even more special by the many friends, of a lifetime or a night, journalists, celebrities and artists who have left a dedication, an object or simply a memory in Giovanni’s heart.
At the beginning, the place was supposed to be called “Osteria da drio el culo de Goldoni”, but then Giovanni’s parents opted for “I Rusteghi” (which means more or less The Grumpies), both to pay homage to the famous Goldoni’s comedy and to ironized on their relationship. Giovanni kept this name, and a little rustego he is really, but only with the frankness that comes from honesty and a total passion for his work.