July 1, 2014 by Lisa
Venice is well-known for many foods: black squid-ink pasta, fried little shrimps and other fish over polenta, sardines cooked in a sweet & sour sauce. It’s also known for their version of liver & onions: fegato alla veneziana.
This is probably a good time to mention that I’ve never tried liver & onions, ever. It’s the one dish that seems universally dreaded – I’ve never actually even heard of someone liking it until I got to Venice. Over one of our many meals, my friend Nadia happily told me how much she likes liver (while her husband Gianni made a face of disgust in the background). She told me it’s very particular and I should try it while in Venice. Last night, I did.
I joined Nadia and Gianni at a restaurant called La Bitta, a very small, charming, no-fish restaurant. [A bitta is the metal post on a dock that you tie your boat up to. We all agreed this did not make much sense for a restaurant that doesn’t serve fish.]
I was nervous, but determined to try this delicacy. I almost backed out when Gianni asked what I would do if I didn’t like it. I said I’d eat it any way.
As soon as the waiter put the plate down, I scooped up a forkfull, as if I were jumping into a cold ocean rather than getting used to it by degrees, walking in slowly. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I actually liked it. It reminded me of something my grandmother would make, rustic and delicious home-cooking. The meat was tender and delicate, not bitter at all. Our waiter, knowing it was my first time eating this dish, asked me (hopefully) how I liked it. Perfetto I said, with a big smile.