It’s official, I’m in love with Venice. There is something so magical about this part of the world and it’s only until you visit Venice first-hand you realise all of the photos you see on social media which make it look like such a special place – seeing it in real life doesn’t compare to a photo. The smells, the sounds, the atmosphere. A photo can never capture that. One of those magical evenings led us to restaurant Le Maschere Restaurant at the Splendid Hotel which is tucked away right in the heart of Venice, just moments from the famous Piazza San Marco and with a dining room which really comes into its own at night.
We settled in with a Bellini, selection of freshly baked breads and an appetizer which I didn’t quite expect to see. At the centre of the restaurant lays a big table filled with cheeses, hams and a whole smoked salmon which they freshly slice to serve as a pre-starter and it was lovely. A little smokey, moist and topped with a some freshly grated pepper.
Starters of lobster salad “catalana style” was served in a bowl mixed with thinly sliced fresh raw vegetables. A little simple perhaps, but it meant the chunks of juicy lobster really had a chance to shine and the dressing was lovely. Another simple, but quality starter was the plate of cured ham from san daniele, aged for 18 months. Again cut fresh to order from a leg at the centre of the room – it’s a great way to get a taste of some of Italy’s best quality produce.
And of course we couldn’t resist a middle course when in Venice – just for a little Italian gluttony. One of my favourite pasta dishes of all time is spinach & ricotta cannelloni smothered in sage butter sauce and here it was as good as I’d hoped for. The pasta perfectly cooked, the filling well-seasoned and of course a lovely strong hit of sage. It was rather dark inside the restaurant as the sun started to set, lit only by candlelight – so please excuse my rather poor photos.
From our meals in Venice it was here where we ate our most simplest and traditional which made it even more romantic and comforting. It’s all about the ingredients here at Le Maschere and our mains was testament to that. An excellent lamb rack covered in a mustard & herb crust and some thinly sliced yellow fin tuna which was marinated in a sesame and balsamic sauce.
We finished up on a selection of desserts from the cake trolley. Chocolate torte, coconut cake, seasonal fruit tarts and my choice of the local almond cake. It was so fluffy, had a nice crust and nothing beats a good old topping of Morello cherries. The whole trolley is wheeled around the room so if you have room, beckon it back over for another slice – we couldn’t resist.
I had a lovely evening at Le Maschere and it was a great taste of Venetian/Mediterranean food and hospitality. Quality focused dishes, excellent service and a wine list of dreams. I’d most certainly return next time I’m in Venice, especially during the Winter months as the dining room feels so cosy. Perfect for couples and families, there’s something for everyone on this menu and the location doesn’t get more central.