Al Conte Pescaor serves classic Venetian food with a global wine cellar of more than 1800 bottles. They specialize in seafood from the lagoon, especially what is seasonal and have been in business 93 years, 32 of which have been at their current location. On a corner, their 2 rooms are in an ‘L’ shape and there is a patio. The walls are covered with memorabilia and wine bottles, the small tables have white cloths, their logo of “Al Conte Pescaor” is on everything, music is in the background, the room is well lit, some bench seating lines the walls, the second room has booth seating and the ceiling is wood. It was not busy when we stopped in for lunch, but this is off-season. The service was friendly, helpful, and knew what was in season for ordering purposes. It’s a nice place with good but not great food. One thing for me though, was that they had some of the small seasonal offerings like razor clams and Moeche or soft shell crabs. Don’t go here looking for new and interesting combinations, go here for good preparations of typical Venetian food and you’ll leave happy.
The bread basket had the usual supply of crisp bread nuggets but also had some thick slices of lovely crusty white bread. With a good doughy interior, this was a welcome addition to the basket.
Spider crabs with olive oil and lemon were in a large shell. The nicely picked crab meat was served with extra olive oil if you needed it. This was tasty and fresh in a good-sized portion.
Grilled razor clams were also a nice-sized portion. However, they did not pick up the grill flavor that suits them so well. While there was not too much grit – they had been cleaned nicely – some did have a strong flavor which made me concerned about their freshness. It was good to have the lemon wedge on the side to add some tartness to them.
Spaghetti “alla busara” or spaghetti with scampi and a little spicy tomato sauce was nicely divided into 2 portions for us by the kitchen. They brought out more pepper oil if you wanted it spicier. One large prawn in the shell was at the bottom of the pasta but inside the noodles were many chunks of shrimp meat. The sauce was nicely spicy and it was a good dish.
Fried soft shell crabs or moeche fritte came with polenta. There were 4 in the order with lemon for seasoning. The server told me that the Venetian way is to eat them by hand and so brought me a hand wipe packet for afterward. I couldn’t honestly tell if they’d been previously frozen, so that was good. The coating was light and crispy and the flavor was sweet and lovely. These were very good. The polenta was in 2 thick slices with a good corn flavor.
Charcoal grilled monkfish (angler fish) was a nice portion of the mild fish. Again the large flake fish did not pick up the flavor of grilling but you could definitely see the marks on the flesh. It was overall quite good.
Carciofi or artichoke hearts, came 2 to an order cut in half. They came in a lemony sauce but didn’t have the flavor or texture that they usually have. These were a disappointment.
We passed on dessert, even though the server assured us they were fabulous and housemade. With our espresso, he did bring a plate of cookies that were quite good.