Vini Da Arturo was a small place of about 9 white cloth covered tables. It had a lively crowd and no fish which is unusual in Venice. It also offers some vegetarian options. Ernesto Ballarin is the chef behind many of the recipies, which he’s developed over the 23 years he’s run Vini da Arturo. He and some of his staff get flown to Los Angeles every year to cook his famous fried vinegar pork. Interestingly there never was an Arturo. Service is helpful and well paced. Tables are given a mix of breadsticks and bread. It was fine but mostly good with food.
We started with Melanzane in saor or eggplant topped with sweet, well cooked onions, pinenuts and grapes and a tart dressing. The eggplant was totally tender and not seedy. The onions and grapes turned into a sweet topping which was in fun contrast to the tart dressing. This was a wonderful dish packed with flavor and texture.
We split 2 of their pastas. The Pappardelle al radicchio had the nice wide pasta dressed with almost melted radicchio. It really melded into the pasta for a very good effect. It was well seasoned and the pasta perfectly cooked.
The Spaghetti ai carciofi was spaghetti with artichokes. The artichoke turned the dish into a deep green color but the pasta was still nicely al dente. The artichoke was a subtler flavor than the radicchio but both were quite good.
For a second plate we split Braciola all’ Arturo which was a giant fried piece of pork covered with vinegar. It is Ernesto Ballarin’s own creation and involves a double coating on the pork which is steeped in vinegar after it done frying. The pork remains wonderfully moist and tender and the vinegar permeates your nose while you eat it. It is actually pleasant and leaves your tongue with a bit of a tingle. It was tasty but huge.
For dessert we tried the panna cotta which was creamy and nicely thick. It had a good strong flavor of vanilla and just the right amount of gelatin and sugar to end this pretty heavy but tasty meal.