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Il Ridotto, Castello, Venice

4509 Castello
Campo Santi Filippo e Giacomo
Italy 30122
Tel: 39 041 520 8280
view web site ›'s insider take:

There's hardly room to swing a catfish in this brand-new, five-table gourmet locale behind the Doge's Palace. All the better to enjoy the cuisine, and the wines, of simpatico host Gianni Bonnacorsi, who serves as chef, waiter, and sommelier as the occasion demands, with the help of a single busy sidekick. Don't come for a quick snack, in other words—but if you have a couple of hours to spare for a really special dinner, this is one of the more interesting places in the $90-a-head range (excluding wine). The decor is pared back but not cold, with exposed brick walls adding warmth, and a large mirror to give an illusion of space. Bonnacorsi's cuisine is local and seasonal, high on technique but low on foamy pretensions: A pasta course of tortelli dyed with cuttlefish ink, stuffed with minced sea bass, and served on a bed of seafood "ratatouille" is typical of his ambitious and (mostly) convincing approach. At times, service slows down and a little angst emanates from the kitchen—especially when the number of diners approaches double digits—but this is all part of the cozy Ridotto experience. The wine list is as good as one would expect from a man who also runs a bacaro with one of Venice's best-stocked cellars just across the square.

Open Thursdays 7 to 10 pm, Fridays through Tuesdays noon to 2 pm and 7 to 10 pm.

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