Osteria Enoteca San Marco is a good sized place that runs through several rooms. Soft music plays in the background, lighting is lowered, chairs are springy and comfortable, tables are of wood or marble with the rough wood ones having cloth runners and smooth tops are all being bare, nice large cloth napkins at every place – in other words there has been some attention to detail awaiting you here. The restaurant has been here for 15 years and so has had time to collect some interesting fixtures and decorations. The menu changes about every 3 months so expect some different options but check this place out if you are in the area. Service was efficient and well paced and the various staff spoke good English.
Tables are furnished with bread which had a good chew and a bowl of it that had been made into croutons to snack on. They had a fun crunch and were a good change from the usual set up.
We started with Purée of dried cod (Baccala) with artichoke heart and polenta which was one of the 2 dishes in the menu labeled as a ‘traditional dish’. It was scoops of the cod on an artichoke bottom all on top of creamy polenta. The cod mixture was full of fish and had been mixed well with something creamy. The polenta was also nicely loose and creamy. All mixed together it was excellent – better than the individual parts on their own and they were pretty darn good.
We followed by each having one of their pasta selections. The Gragnano spaghetti with clams, saffron and cherry tomatoes was fabulous. The saffron gave the sauce a terrific color and the clams went perfectly with the taste. It felt like a slightly modern take on the dish and was a very good dish.
Thick spaghetti of durum wheat “cacio e pepe” was creamy, cheesy with a nice pepper punch. The thick spaghetti helped make this another excellent dish. Both pasta dishes were among the best we’d had this trip.
Grilled squids, raw-marinated shrimp on endive and cherry tomatoes was one our main plates. The gingery shrimp were plated with the grilled squid that had the bodies stuffed with something creamy from the squid. Belgian endive, dressed with olive oil and crumbs, added a nice crunch to the dish. The crumbs also picked up some of the grilled taste and were supplemented with tiny croutons. Another success and very good dish.
Our second main plate was Veal liver Venetian style which was listed as the other ‘traditional dish’. It was covered with onions and plated with creamy white polenta and white puntarelle (a chicory variation). The onions were amazingly sweet and the liver was thinly sliced and nicely tender but a tad mealy. It was a good dish but I’ve had better – liver is tough, but when it rocks it’s great.
For dessert we had Pear pie with vanilla sauce. We enjoyed it with some grappa. The pie was nice and moist, more like a cake and studded with blueberries as well as pieces of pear. The anglaise sauce was decadent and mixed with a bit of raspberry and generously poured over and around the pie. It was quite good, to say the least.