Al Covo - Wine & Spirits Magazine

Al Covo

photo by Nan McElroy

Moeche fritti & Sant’ Erasmo artichokes

Al Covo is a favorite among discerning diners, and for good reason. Chef-owner Cesare Benelli serves meticulously sourced ingredients prepared simply: vegetables from Sant’Erasmo island and other lagoon gardens; fish from the Adriatic; and a number of Slow Food Presidia products, like biancoperla polenta. Daily specials might include moeche, diminutive Venetian soft-shelled crabs lightly floured and fried together with tiny violet artichokes, but exclusively when the crabs are in season and caught fresh. The dolci are prepared by Benelli’s Texan wife Diane and include homemade gelati, sorbetti and biscotti. Then there is the wine. Benelli has a palate for the expressive. His list boasts several hundred labels, the large majority of which are Italian and change regularly. He’s also an early adopter: for years he has used heart symbols to indicate wines he “appreciates for their uniqueness.” At the moment, his selection of whites from Friuli Venezia Giulia reads like a teenager’s love letter: It’s covered with little hearts.

Castello 3968, Venice, Italy


+39 041 522 3812

This story appears in the print issue of August 2015.
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