Makan-Makan In Italy: Venice Episode

Bapak, Shah and i were having dinner with a friend of Bapak's named Thomas in Paris a few weeks ago, and we were discussing about Italy. When Venice came up, i instantly exclaimed, "I LOVEEE Venice. Possibly my most favourite city in Europe." And Shah said his was Barcelona. Thomas then mused, "I can understand why you love Venice—it's a 'woman' city. And i also understand why you (looking at Shah now) like Barcelona".

The thing is, it made sense. It does. Venice has the little streets, the canals, the boats and gondolas. The things girls sigh over. Barcelona, in Shah's words, "has everything": mountain and beach and i can't even remember what else. I don't know why that can be made into a reason to love a city, but to each his own.

Another thing is, i am such a girly girl, it simply won't make sense if i don't love Venice. Don't even think of this as a sexist issue; it's just human nature. The two sexes were generally made in such a way to appreciate different things in life. Like how, generally, men love football, and women love handbags.

The beauty of all of this though is, for example, i fully support Shah's favourite team Manchester United—we even wore a Van Persie jersey TOGETHER that one night—and Shah fully support my need to constantly get brand new handbags. And shoes and clothes and so on. Only, of course, he does this financially too.

But yes, ever since i declared to Shah i loved Venice, which was in Venice itself, i felt the need to defend why exactly i love Venice. To tell you the truth, i don't think Venice has a lot to offer, other than what i mentioned. The little streets, the canals, the boats and gondolas. I will admit Barcelona is a more interesting interesting city to explore. In fact, i sometimes wonder if i like Venice or Barcelona more. But, i don't know, there's just something about Venice. There's just something that i think just appeals. Especially to the female mass, yes, possibly.

However, i recently discovered Venice is my Pakteh's favourite city in Europe as well! A huge plus i'd say! Pakteh, my retired Uncle, and his family came to visit Shah and i in Paris recently. Him and his daughter, my cousin Lina were here for Roland Garros, so it's great that we are here when Roland Garros was happening. Pakteh studied in a uni in England and did the whole backpacking Eurotrip thing. When i asked what was it about Venice that he liked, he said something along this line: it's a city with a different feel to it. And the water plays a big part in its uniqueness.

Well, i couldn't agree more.

Oh and of course, the food. Food was a BIG part of it, to me.

On our first day there, a receptionist of our hotel suggested we had lunch at this restaurant right beside the hotel.

It was always the same question with us in Italy: so you nak pasta ke pizza ke risotto? Always between those three, but if i saw a particularly interesting seafood/vegetarian cannelloni or ravioli i would go for that. But this restaurant offers seafood soup. So, bring it onnn.

Only this soup tasted more like olive oil soup to me. I burned the roof of my mouth on my first sip, the oil was too hot. I felt like i was sipping some really salty oil instead of soup. The water was just really "separated" from the soup—does that make sense? But dip bread in this and it tasted pretty tasty.

Shah went for the vegetarian lasagne. 

Not the best either. Seriously, i don't even know why the man recommended us this restaurant, because there are seriously so many more restaurants around there. This one just can't offer the best Italian food there is. It just won't make sense.

Still, we finished every single scrap. Travelling always seems to make us extra hungry.

Later that day, we ended up at Lido Beach. When we were in Barcelona, it was raining everyday, so we didn't get to visit the beach, sadly. I declared, we MUST visit one European beach at least!

We were on our way back to the Lido water station and starving. We saw a cute restaurant on our way to Lido Beach, which Shah loved at first sight, so that was where we decided to have dinner.

It's a garden-themed restaurant. So pretty!

We had to wait for a bit before getting a table as there were so many people already seated in the restaurant, eating. And more people were waiting, in front of us and behind us.

After about 15 long minutes, we finally bagged a table and Shah immediately announced he was going to get himself a pizza.

That was quite a chubby mushroom pizza. Tasted pretty good too.

While we were in line waiting for a table, an old couple who had finished their dinner walked past us when another old couple behind us asked them how the food was. The already-full lady replied, "The grilled fish was quite good!".

So of course i decided to get just that.

OK, so the grilled fish platter isn't the most delicious thing i've ever tasted, but it wasn't bad at all. It's quite an interesting platter too, with five different types of grilled fish on it. Five types if you count crayfish as fish, that is. The most interesting piece was definitely the anchovy. I don't think i've ever eaten grilled fresh anchovy before! My favourite was the white piece on the left; the meat was fat and juicy.

As we were eating, Shah and i were looking around talking about the ambiance of the restaurant when i spotted a lady eating a chocolate cake behind me, while her husband appeared to be eating a cheesecake. Typical sucker me, i had to have that chocolate cake.

Seriously, i can never resists a good slice of moist chocolate cake. Or moist chocolate brownie. Mmmmm.

We stayed well after the sun set.

I have to say, we came out of the restaurant pretty full and very happy!

They post their menu outside the restaurant so you can check it out and decide if it's for you. Tripadvisor-advised too, see!


It was off to Murano the next day!

Murano is a series of islands, adjacent to Venice, famous for glass-making. We wanted to see a glass-making demonstration at one shop, but it was closed for lunch. Shah and i decided to have lunch too then. Might as well while we waited!

Shah chose a restaurant next to a canal. I know, i know. How much more touristy can we get, purposely picking a restaurant next to a canal? Total cliche and whatnot. 

But when something sounds undeniably romantic, it always is. No matter how cliche it is.

I'm a complete sucker for scallops. Just talking about scallops and looking at photos of them is already making me hungry. And i just had a sandwich and an orange and some biscuits. I wasn't that hungry then, but i immediately requested scallops after seeing them on the menu.

Seriously, how utterly glorious do these look?

 For an appetizer, these look like a lot, but i can assure you, i won't have any problem finishing them off myself.

 Shah ordered their grilled prawns.

We asked a local in Milan what food to look forward to in Italy, and she answered polenta. Shah and i had no idea what that is, even though i've heard it a few times before. 
Luck was on our side; without knowing it, polenta arrived with Shah's large grilled prawns.

And, well, it tasted weird.

I get that polenta won't taste the same across Italy or anywhere else in the world. For example, my mom's curry mee tasted a hundred times better than the one being sold at a stall somewhere in PJ. But after tasting this particular polenta, Shah and i are not in a hurry to experiment with other polenta, let's just put it that way.

I got myself the spaghetti with mussels.

I know. YUM.

Remember what i said about me not being able to resist a chocolate cake?

Dessert time, bebeh!

Compared the two chocolate cakes i've eaten in this post to my Mak's, i think my Mak's moist chocolate cake is ten times better though. But it's not like i can get my Mommeeyh's chocolate cake here. I'd take allllll the chocolate cakes offered to me, thanks.

If you're absolutely intrigued by this restaurant by the canal, here's a photo of its card for you. Good luck locating it!

OK, confession time. I was a little unwell in Italy. Cold or flu or i don't even know. Whatever it was, i didn't think it was the best idea to eat any gelato. But that didn't stop me from crumbling and getting myself a cone of mint gelato, ha ha ha!

And it tasted SO GOOD.

I am also proud to announce that i did not get any sicker the next day! I'm very, very glad i left Italy with that gelato experience in hand.

It was our final night in Italy. Yes, cue the sadface. There was one thing on my list i felt was left unfulfilled, and that was mushroom risotto. 

The one i had in Florence? No, that should not count.

Shah and i simply walked around the area near our hotel to look for a restaurant that offers mushroom risotto for one. For some reason, some restaurants will only whip up a risotto for you if at least two people are eating it. The price is written out as 'per person', but you can't order an individual plate of risotto. It's worth asking though, because in one restaurant, we pointed that out to a waitress and she just waved it off and said that can easily be fixed.

We picked a random restaurant nearby and boy, was i glad we picked it. They made THE BEST risotto i've EVER had in my life.

I know what you're thinking. "That mushroom porridge? The best risotto EVER? No way."

But it's TRUE.

Doesn't the plate look humongous? It was. My family and friends can tell you that i rarely finish my food when eating outside. I finished this risotto OK? It was THAT good.

After we sat down, a middle-aged American couple sitting at a table next to us starting chatting with us. They were very sweet and very, very friendly, so we kind of ended up talking to each other throughout the whole meal.

If you want to know how big the plate of mushroom risotto was, towards my finishing it, the husband commented to me, "That's quite an appetite you've got there!".

Which immediately made me feel self-concious. I probably left a few grains on the plate just because of that comment.

Shah ordered this pasta.

Some of you might find this scary. It's OK. It's perfectly normal to find black pasta weird if you've never seen or had any.

Shah and i have been debating on whether to try out this pastasupposedly originating from Venice itself, made black with squid ink (!)and finally he had the guts to do so. And we couldn't be more glad to try it out in this particular restaurant, because it was deeelicious!

Honestly, i would fly back to Venice right this moment just to visit this restaurant again.

Please let me apologise, and say sorry a thousand times, because i'm raving about a restaurant whose name i do not know and whose location i cannot share with you because i simply don't have it stamped onto my brain. I'm really, really sorry. 

And that's all i have from my whole Italy trip! If you're heading out to Venice right now, let me just tell you, i am readily incredibly jealous. 

Major tip? Seriously enjoy the local food. Seriously. That's major.



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Hi, I'm Liyana

I'm a style & lifestyle blogger based in sunny (and ever humid) Malaysia. On The Good Weekender, you can find typed journals of my evolving modest personal style, travel adventures, skincare/beauty updates, home decor things, and stories of other bits and pieces of my everyday life. I hope you'll enjoy flipping through these pages of my virtual book!