Gastrosteria Ai Mercanti, Venice, 12/13/22

exterior – Corte Coppo, 4346/a, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy

Ai Mercanti is a family-run business with a large patio in addition to several indoor rooms.  It was opened in 1980 by Chef Nadia Locatello and her husband Diego and moved to its present location in 1996.  In 2013 their son Simone joined Diego out front and upped the decor as well as adding a French influence to the food.  The menu could be described as traditional Venetian dishes with a twist.  The interior is softly modern with gold disc light fixtures, bench seating around the perimeter, the wall-mounted CD changer, and a striking black and white bathroom.  Service was helpful and efficient, there is a huge wine list, the atmosphere was most pleasant and the food was very good.

Set- up

Frankie liked their name on the bill cover



The server brought a box of house-made bread.  The white was soft and tender and the dark had a bit more texture, but neither was a crusty variety.



Underground is named as such because it is made with root vegetables that change with the season.  The twist is the addition of crumbled traditional Venetian spiced cookies.  Ours had beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, radish, celeriac, and white potatoes that I took note of.  All were cooked nicely to a soft texture and then mixed with onion jam.   The cookies were supposed to be peppery but I didn’t detect that flavor addition however they did add a nice crunch to the very good dish.

Underground (root vegetables and crumbled cookies)


“Apparently” crispy egg is with potato foam and anchovy and is a signature dish.  A sous vide egg yolk is coated in crispy crumbs and served floating in a bowl of potato foam then topped with an anchovy.  The yolk was almost too solid to mix in with the foam but it did enough to add the needed richness.  The  exterior added the texture and the anchovy added the punch.  It was really nice too.

“Apparently” crispy egg with potato foam and anchovy


Risotto of “secoe”  is made with pieces of meat that are between the vertebra in a cow.  It is supposed to be a traditional Venetian dish and served for a minimum of 2 people.  The plate was decorated with some sea beans and deep-fried bone marrow balls and Grana Padano (mild nutty cheese) cheese.  All of these added additional textures and the marrow added richness.  Even though you didn’t find large chunks of beef in the risotto the strong flavor of beef prevailed nicely in the perfectly cooked rice.

Frankie gave it a sniff
Risotto of “secoe”(pieces of meat between the vertebral column of the beef)
inside the marrow ball


Even though there were some interesting dessert choices we decided on a glass of grappa to finish the fine meal.

Frankie posed with the grappa

7 thoughts on “Gastrosteria Ai Mercanti, Venice, 12/13/22

  1. For several years I have read your reviews with great pleasure but never left a comment. I’m putting that right today, to say that I always read your Venice reviews with special interest. It’s a wonderful city to eat out when you know where to go. I live in France, near Lyon, so Venice is a regular destination, always in winter. Are you planning to travel to Istanbul? I’d love to read your impressions of the food there, which I love.

    1. Thanks for your comment and thanks for reading! The pandemic totally disrupted our travel plans, as it did for many, and it was hard to face the long trip but Venice has always been a favorite city and so it had to be the motivation that would get me back on a long flight. We only repeated one restaurant so I hope you will enjoy the next several to come. It’s been a few years but I have fond memories of our trip to Lyon. Istanbul is not in our current plans but we will spend some time in Paris next month. Any new spots you know of there? I wish you tasty dining experiences in 2023 and again, so appreciate your feedback and support. Comments and suggestions are always welcome!

      1. Sadly no recommendations to make for Paris, although I understand the ethnic restaurant scene is very lively now. I’m sure you know of David Lebovitz and his list of places to try. I’m French but I don’t really eat out in France, it must be a case of “familiarity breeds contempt”!

      2. No problem. We were seeing the influx of ethnic fusion places. Hard to not want to just go back to your past favorites. Laughing about your comment on eating out in your home place. My main home is in Texas so people assume I eat tons of barbecue and the reality is I almost never eat it. Like our tourist attractions – I only visit them when I have guests. Thanks again for your interest and comments!

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