Dalla Marisa is a super tiny place that offers a fun, cozy vibe along with great food. Reservations are a must if you want to sit inside. Otherwise there are outside tables but the ambiance is so wonderful inside you shouldn’t miss it. The walls are covered with family photos and drawings of Venice and tables are set close to one another. No fancy linens just paper placemats and napkins but it’s all works in this welcoming setting. Most tables are for 4 so go with friends or you may get to make some there. They don’t appear to turn the tables, it’s one seating. There is a fixed price per person of 4o euros which covers all your food, wine, bread and water.
The waiter brings the food out, served family style and then checks with you to see if you want the next course or if you’ve had enough. Wine is in a carafe which the waiter will refill when asked. Go hungry because you don’t want to miss anything Chef Vanda cooks it is all so full of flavor. She is the daughter of Marisa who the restaurant was named for. I must also give credit to Marisa Convento of Venetian Dreams (a shop you shouldn’t miss while in Venice) for some of the photos used here.
The antipasto plates arrive first. The marinated branzino with arugula is among the best I’ve had – herby with perfect texture and tangy taste. Polenta is rich, creamy and yellow. Baby octopus are smothered in a rich, zesty tomato sauce. Fried sardines are tasty and covered with sweet onions. Bacala, a Venice standard, of smoked cod is full of fish chunks. Mussels have been covered with possibly corn and baked, each bite a bit of delight. Plates are generous and come in a rush. There is barely room on the table as we passed around and devoured it all.
Seafood lasagna is next and it is rich and lovely. Filled with seafood and soft pasta, it is a lick-the-bowl dish.
Fritto misto follows and it is a plate full of perfectly fried shrimp, squid rings and fish. There is one fish per person but plenty of the other two. It is lightly battered and perfectly fresh and tasty. It was fine with a drop of lemon, a little salt or just grabbed off the plate.
Do we have room for dessert? Silly waiter. It was a dish of mascarpone cream and bowl of amaretto cookies and butter wafers. They could be dipped in the cream, eaten separately or however. The creamy mascarpone was divine and the amaretto cookies were meringue like in lightness.
As an additional piece of information, here are 2 photos of Vanda from 1965 and a recipe (if you read Italian) from an artisans association journal. (Thank you to Marisa Convento of Venetian Dreams for sharing these.)