Off the coast of Venice, there are many islands, most in which are not visited by tourist. There is one however, that attracts people from all over, it’s the island of Murano. Murano is known for it’s exquisite hand blown glass. People visit to get a close look at this amazing glass & see first hand how it’s made. It’s one of those places, for me at least, that as interesting as it is, if you see it once, you may not need to see it again.
My friend Anita had been to Venice a few months before & told me of her amazing day on the Island of “Burano.” I’ve been to Venice three times & have never heard of this island. It’s about a 20 minute boat ride from Venice & a 10 minute ride from Murano. She told me not to miss this unique, quaint little town. I took her lead and arranged a boat ride. As we were pulling up to the island, we saw these beautifully, colored row of houses. When we hopped off the boat, I was in awe. I had never seen anything like this. Every house in this little village was painted a different color.
At one time, Burano was a fisherman’s village. It’s said that, when the men were coming home from being out at sea, they would try to see their houses. To identify them from off shore, they began to paint them different colors. This remains a tradition & what makes Burano so special.
Before I left for Italy, I saw an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservation” about Venice. One of the restaurants he visited was “Da Romano,” which luckily for us, was on the island of Burano. Although, my friend told me of a restaurant that she loved, I had to go with Bourdain’s suggestion.
Trattoria Da Romano, is known for a special dish called “Goa risotto.” Goa are actually scavanger fish that can’t be eaten, but are used to make a broth for their risotto. The cooking process needs to be very delicately done. If the fish is broken, the broth turns black & bitter.
We started our meal with sardines, white polenta, which is indicative to Venice & onions Veronese style. Veronese onions are sauteed in vinegar & have a sweet/sour taste. They are traditionally served on top of liver. We also had baby shrimp on white polenta, simply drizzled with olive oil & lemon. Although, the risotto is Da Romano’s specialty, we passed & ordered a whole Sea bass cooked in a mound of salt. It was moist & flaky, nothing less than wonderful. This by far was the best meal we had in Venice!
After a long leisurely lunch & a bottle of wine, we were ready for a nap, but not before dessert. Our waiter told us that the “S” shaped cookies were one of Burano’s special treats. We headed to the bakery & bought a bag full. They were hard, almond flavored cookies, that I call “dunkers.”
We thoroughly enjoyed the day we spent on Burano. Unlike the Island of Murano, Burano is a place you can happily visit again & again. Thanks to my friend Anita who brought this beautiful place to my attention & to Anthony Bourdain for being such a bad ass foodie. Everything about Burano is a colorful treat, not just the houses.
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