Antiche Carampane is another regular stop for us in Venice but the last few trips it has really been a standout. Another small place with tightly packed tables that are always full of locals as well as tourists. There is often one bigger table of young people out for a night of great and reasonably priced food with friendly service. I will admit I wasn’t sure about the friendliness of the staff but after a number of visits they have really warmed up. It also helps to let the staff direct what you get – they know what is freshest and the best way to present it. We give them an idea of how much we want and they won’t let you down – this applies to wine too.
Everyone starts with a paper cone of tiny fried shrimp that are served hot out of the pan for you to munch on while you make your dining decisions. They are delicious and I believe I could make a meal out of them. Bread is part of your cover charge and the yellow focaccia was pretty tasty, which is nice as generally the bread is not the star in a Venice meal.
We split an order of the raw fresh fish selections. It is liberally doused with olive oil and accompanied by lemon, horseradish cream and wasabi. This selection included sea bass, scampi, swordfish and tuna that had a soy like sauce on the edge of the plate. They were all ultimately fresh with subtle variations in taste which were fun to mix with the varying enhancements. The helping is plenty to give you a good taste of each even when splitting it.
Next we split the rigatoni with smoked swordfish and cheese. This time the kitchen divided the portion into 2 bowls for us and again it was a perfect amount. The pasta was perfectly cooked and the sauce delicious. The smoked fish was a lighter flavor than I expected as it accented the meaty quality of the fish more. It was a winner.
Finally we split the grilled monkfish and small salad. It was totally tasty and I love the texture of this fish – it adapts wonderfully to grilling and with a little olive oil they dished up another winner.
Kindly though they did leave us enough room for dessert. Their version gianduiotto ice cream shouldn’t be missed. Two nice chunks of the flavored chocolate ice cream are sprinkled with candied nuts and served with cream. It is decadently delicious and a lick the plate kind of dish. I had the dessert of the day which I had spotted served across the room. It was an almond and orange cake and wow – so moist and flavorful. It looked a little blobby which is why I took pictures from several angles, but put that aside cause it was yummy x3! We ended the meal with grappa, of which they have many to choose from and Kiko was kind enough to buy us a second round of a different variety. It just made the meal even more perfect! Before you leave make sure to visit the bathroom and see all the painted tiles. I captured a few for you to have a sample.