The convivial atmosphere of a cosy tavern, the absolute excellence of the best raw materials, the genius and unruliness that belongs only to true artists. This is the recipe that Riccardo Volpe wanted for his own restaurant, opened in December 2018, where he has concentrated his entire life experience, and he certainly did not have an ordinary life.
His passion for food and wine exploded late in his life, when he turned 45 and, by chance, he started running a restaurant near the Rialto Bridge. Years after, again by chance, he was offered by a friend to reinvent the small restaurant in Cannaregio which is now become his kingdom.
From his experience in the international night life, Riccardo has maintained the bon vivant spirit that distinguishes his relationship with customers, whilst from his extensive traveling, he kept the curious spirit and deep sense of devotion for those fine Made in Italy products that owe their uniqueness to the territory that has created them, such as Sicilian tuna or Nebrodi black pig. His idea of food, as well as of life, is simple and frank: a cuisine that focuses entirely on the flavor of the main ingredient of a dish, enlivened by the use of spices and unusual combinations that do not change the original flavor yet enhancing it.
Riccardo puts great effort is the search of his suppliers, such as the butchers Buscemi of Syracuse and Damini of Arzignano, or the local fishermen who serve the Rialto market for the best sea basses, as well as products such as the Parmigiano Reggiano maturing 100 months, the pasta made with ancient grains by Felicetti or the filled pasta by Casa del Tortellino in Bologna, and fresh seasonal local vegetables.
The written menu exists, but Riccardo likes to tell it in his own way, always pushing customers to try new things, in a pure gourmand spirit. So among the signature dishes that you will fall in love with, there is the raw fish selection where the delicious scampi are sublimated by Modica chocolate flakes and the prawns are lit up in taste by a drop of passion fruit. Unmissable also the great classics of the Italian cuisine, slightly revisited, like pasta Cacio e Pepe with wild mint, braised beef with Timut pepper or pasta Carbonara with pistachio zabaglione and Amatrice bacon.
Obviously, with such a host, the wine list is simply outstanding. Riccardo’s right arm is, in fact, Marco, the Osteria’s sommelier, who is dedicated to a constant search for excellence, especially scouting among small producers and natural labels from Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, and Piedmont.
Every detail in the restaurant speaks of conviviality and friendship; from the furniture, recovered together with an antiquarian friend, to the paintings on the walls, which give a bohemian touch to the restaurant, work of the artist Francesco Bruscia who participated in the 2017 Art Biennale and which here he enchants with his series “Dive”.
The fame of the “robe bone” (nice things in Venetian dialect) that can only be found at Riccardo’s has spread to the point that his products of excellence are also ordered both to taste at home and take away. An aspect of his work that Riccardo particularly loves, happy to bring the passion that he puts into the search for raw materials in the Venetian homes.