Venice: Piccolo Restaurant
Piccolo Restaurant recently underwent an expansion. A friend and I dropped by a couple of weeks ago to check it out. She had previously been there before for dineLA and told me how much she enjoyed it. The restaurant invited us for the tasting menu. But not just any tasting menu. They have five menus devoted around the four elements. The fifth was a mix of all four. My friend chose the water (acqua) element and I chose fire (fuoco). Hers was obviously centered around all those nummy sea creatures and mine featured land animals. There’s also air (vento- poultry) and earth (terra- vegetarian).
After complimentary glasses of prossecco and two lovely amuse bouches, we began our 5-course journey to sea and land complemented with wine pairings.
The light first courses were intensified with really great olive oil. Rarely do I remark about olive oil but I noticed when dipping my bread and was pleased to see it used with the carpaccio. The blueberry grappa was very interesting and soothed out what wasn’t but could have been gamey venison.
I was tasting my friend’s dishes as well as mine. In a lot of ways, it was more like a 10-course tasting. And I can only imagine if you went with 4 others. Each of you could get one of the elements and bonus combination and have a wildly fantastic time.
I had never seen double ravioli before. You get a taste of both ravioli at the same time. Quite fun! These were filled with eggplant and spigola fish. I really liked my pasta. It was the perfect al dente.
The monkfish was seriously beautifully presented. We were sitting by the fireplace and pleasantly relaxed from the atmosphere, wine, good conversation and food. Service was unobtrusive but I liked how the sommelier would make sure to stop by to explain all the wine pairings.
My filet was tender as I would expect but not too sweet. I was worried about the vanilla bean but the porcini’s earthier flavor was more present.
If I had doubted I picked the right tasting menu, I didn’t have doubts when dessert came. I’m a chocolate fan all the way. But taking a bite from the banana and going to chocolate was the way to go.
I had an amazing time and have been telling friends about this gem. I do advise going after 8 as parking could be difficult and there’s plenty of street parking on nearby Ocean starting at 8 p.m.
5 Dudley Avenue
Venice, CA 90291-2405