Al Segnavento

 

Al Segnavento in Zelarino, Italy is a countryside treasure.  Few eateries in the area are as chic and sustainable as this inspired agritourism.

Rise Rating: 80%

The Obsidian Rise diagram above provides a visual for the rating explained in writing, below.  From left to right—

Story (2/3): Our attention was brought to Al Segnavento by chance, through an online search for event spaces in northeastern Italy.  From the onset, its beautiful and on-trend imagery—elegant, minimal, focused—called for some additional exploration.  Nearly six months later, it was worth the small road trip to the rural suburbs outside of Venice, Italy to try this apparent gem’s offerings.  Self described as a Ristorazione Agrituristica, or essentially a higher-end agritourism, Al Segnavento’s diverse culinary pursuits showcase as many products from its own property as possible.  And although it seems that the location’s restaurant is secondary to its private events and hospitality business, it would be wonderful to see it gain more evening customers, or draw from a farther-reaching clientele.

Sustainability (3/3): As the passion project of a wife and husband pair, Al Segnavento is truly intentional in its efforts.  For starters, the nine hectare property is a sustainable working farm, where animals are raised humanely and vegetables are grown naturally.  Where they cannot or choose not to cultivate something on site, the couple sources its ingredients from the best of regional suppliers.  As a result, the dishes served at its main restaurant are extremely healthful, fresh, and with flavors that are difficult to replicate elsewhere.

Experience (2/3): Our meal at Al Segnavento was as relaxed as it was refined.  Clean, quaint and candlelit, the long spaces welcomed us as if to someone’s guesthouse.  On the night of our visit, we had the full attention of our server, who catered graciously to our questions and requests, all the while bringing out plates that were far more artful and avant-garde than those of any traditional establishment.  We were more than pleased with our Experience, and the trek was worth it for the meal and pleasant surroundings.  To note: although online it appears that there are several restaurants on site to choose from, there is mainly one that is available to the public.  And, although we may have arrived on an ‘off’ night, being virtually the only customers there left for a bit of wanting in terms of weekend ambience.

Cuisine (3/3): As might be expected of a family-run agritourism, the attention to quality and care of the plates served at Al Segnavento was excellent.  The menu started off with a welcome and description of the property’s commitment to on-site cultivation.  It also immediately let the eater know which ingredients came from the farm, and which had been sourced from partners.  The meal began surprisingly well, with a tartlet of caramelized pastry dough and mushrooms, served over a cream of Padano cheese and below a dollop of Padano cheese gelato— at once a luxurious and creative way of showcasing regional ingredients.  Then, the ‘soft’ gnocchi followed suit, with a new take on the traditional potato dumplings.  A simultaneously lightweight and rich veal liver followed, prepared in the Venetian style, but with a more modern twist.  And to finish, a medley of simple vegetables from the farm.  Overall, Al Segnavento’s strong commitment to the local and reinvention of Italian classics left us with a great taste of its abilities.

Diversity (2/3): Female-led and with a young, male server from the area, the Diversity of the personnel was as sufficient as necessary for a quiet night at the restaurant.  Of course, it would be interesting to see how Al Segnavento’s ownership handles hiring on busier occasions or for private events.  In terms of food-based Diversity, the restaurant did very well with showcasing a variety of ingredients and dishes, both traditional and unique, as well as vegetarian and not.

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