| Everyday Luxury Travel Italy

Epicurean Experiences at The Gritti Palace, Venice

From the moment you wake up every meal is memorable at The Gritti Palace. Breakfast is served on The Gritti Terrace with a beautiful view of the Grand Canal and the Santa Maria della Salute Church to admire along with a leisurely pot of coffee and a couple of delicious pastries.dsc_5939dsc_6381 dsc_6387
There’s a beautifully elegant buffet with a mixture of delicious continental options as well as healthy cereals and yogurts. Or you can take the à la carte option with eggs prepared to your choosing along with other tasty treats. Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to enjoy breakfast than with that beautiful view and the late September sun lightly touching my skin.
Always full of lively happy voices, The Gritti Terrace was perfectly atmospheric but as the same time far removed from the crowded narrow streets of the city. I had a fantastic lunch on the terrace on my first day and food is served all day weather permitting. dsc_5220
Fresh homemade dipped in olive oil, Italian style, is totally addictive and I must admit to eating more than my fair share! For lunch there is a casual menu to enjoy with everything from pastas, to salads, sandwiches, fresh fish and meat. I was lucky enough to meet and interview the restaurant’s executive Chef, Daniele Turco, as well as Food and Beverage Manager, Maurizio Figuccio, whose answers to my questions have informed the background to this post.
At lunch I enjoyed a really delicious tartare of amberjack, finished with a citrus sauce and then drizzled in olive oil, of course. dsc_5254
When I arrive in Italy, I cannot wait to get stuck into a bowl of pasta and the perfectly cooked al dente spaghetti vongole, made with local clams was exactly what I wanted! Local, fresh and seasonal ingredients are important to chef Daniele and there is a strong emphasise on fish. The chef was greatly influenced by his upbringing, his mother and grandmother in the kitchen and his love of seafood inspired by his father’s passion for fishing.
If you’re gluten-free, vegan or looking for something super healthy, there’s also the option of quinoa salad with soy yoghurt and eggplant caviar.dsc_5262
By night The Gritti Terrace transforms into the glittering, Restaurant Club Del Doge, one of the most glamorous and atmospheric dining destinations in Venice. With the Santa Maria della Salute church lit up across the canal and gondolas sailing past, dinner here is like being encompassed in the very essence of the city. As Food and Beverage Manager, Maurizio said to me, dining at The Gritti Palace is about so much more than food it’s the combination of service, atmosphere, music and light.
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The menu is different at dinner time and slightly more refined but once again seafood is a dominant ingredient. Our starter was a perfectly prepared carpaccio of red shrimp with crushed maize served with basil, Datterino water and the really interesting addition of mozzarella ice-cream. A very light and refreshing way to kick off our meal. dsc_5910
Our intermediate course of risotto with delicate citrus flavours had the perfect creamy consistency and just the right level of bite to the rice. It was also beautifully presented with a smattering of flower petals.
Main course was a whole grilled sea bass for two, presented to us at the table and then filleted and served with a tasty mixture of vegetable and crispy potatoes.

During our interview Chef Daniele also suggested his signature dish for next time, a filet of sole served with deep-fried zucchini flowers, shellfish, leek cream and lemon sauce.dsc_5954
In the cooler months guests can enjoy the absolutely stunning indoor space of the Club Del Doge Restaurant. The artwork, silk wallpaper and beautiful tiles were splendid but what really stood out was the beautifully restored wooden ceiling. There is a fascinating phenomenon that happens in only in Venice, whereby waves from the canals outside create gorgeous ripples of light reflected in the ceiling.
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Little dining nooks located in the restaurant, are typical of the spirit of The Gritti Palace, it’s all incredibly personal and intimate more like a private residence than a hotel.

The other option for day time dining is located on the opposite side of the jetty, and I absolutely loved the Riva Lounge which makes use of materials and design from actual Riva yachts. As I sat in the plush white leather chairs, I almost felt like I could sail away. dsc_6009
Just look at these beautiful tables…
The menu is the same as The Gritti Terrace for lunch but a seat in the Riva Lounge allows for a slightly different perspective and view of the church.dsc_6522
Despite travelling extensively and working abroad in Morocco, Malta, Turkey and Scilly, Chef Daniele’s prime influence remains his beloved Venice. Dishes such as the seafood cicchetti above are one such example and typical of the small snacks served in Venetian bàcari. The creamy whipped salt cod on the far left of the plate is a Venetian speciality.
I couldn’t get enough of chef Daniele’s pasta and this time I tried Mezzemaniche pasta in Amatricana sauce with red onions and pecorino cheese, a dish that typifies his philosophy of perfection in simplicity of cooking. He wishes to ‘combine without ever covering up’ so that every single flavour is still present. dsc_6503
Cocktails here are never neglected either and head barman, Cristiano Luciani, uses only the best ingredients. I loved these delicious rossinis made with fresh strawberry and prosecco.
And of course, I had to try the classic fresh peach and prosecco Bellini when I came back in the evening. My companion tried the Basil-ica, a cocktail created especially for The Gritti Palace, and made with Old Tom Gin, lemon juice, St Germain Elderflower, basil leaves and orange bitter. The name being a play on words for the ingredients and the majestic church opposite.
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During the winter months you can sip your Bellinis inside in the Bar Longhi, an absolutely stunning bar with a gorgeous turquoise colour palette. The bar is named after an 18th century Venetian artist, and six of his paintings hang on the walls.

I mentioned in my last post that indigenous experiences are an important part of a stay at the hotel and The Gritti Palace Epicurean School is a fantastic way to learn Venetian recipes and to discover ingredients from the lagoon.
The beautiful school is centred around a sharing table in an open kitchen; The Gritti Palace is your home away from home and dining is done family style with sharing plates in a convivial atmosphere.
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Chef Daniele offers private cooking lessons, courses, tours of the Rialto Market and themed classes all within the comfort of this beautiful space which makes you feel right at home. Not only that, there’s no fancy technology or fussy ingredients, everything Daniele teaches, the guest can make at home themselves.

I came to realise Venice is a place that you have to give your heart and soul to, hearing the sights and sounds and floating through the canals. Eating the food lets you live and breathe the destination in a different way and The Gritti Palace is a wonderful place to do just that!


The Gritti Palace, A Luxury Collection Hotel
Campo Santa Maria del Giglio

+39 041 794611

I was hosted by The Gritti Palace and The Luxury Collection for this trip and my stay and all meals were complimentary.