La Zucca in Venice, Italy warms, gratifies and inspires. The Osteria effortlessly persists as a favorite within the historic city.
Rise Rating: 93%
The Obsidian Rise diagram above provides a visual for the rating explained in writing, below. From left to right—
Story (3/3): Decades-old Osteria La Zucca has been doing its thing since around the 1970’s, and its retro architecture and confident demeanor confirm this. The small yet multi-room restaurant is situated on the edge of a quiet canal in central Venice, virtually unknown to the masses yet a favorite amongst those locals and international travelers who remember it from long ago, or who have tried it even once. Today, its wood-paneled interiors are filled on any given afternoon or evening as the vegetable-centric eatery serves up hearty, seasonal dishes for all. La Zucca receives a full (3/3) rating for this sector for its steadfast connection to its core value proposition with only slight, meaningful changes over the time.
Sustainability (3/3): La Zucca’s approach to Sustainability may be more traditional than trendy, but there seems no reason to hold it to newer ideals. For instance, that the restaurant’s space has weathered about forty years of service with both natural interiors and ventilation means that it was built well the first time. It was also one of the first eateries (and still one of the only) within the lagoon to concentrate upon serving vegetarian fare, the majority of which is local and seasonal. Portions are moderate. Regional house wines come in carafes. And, with most affection, the whole of the restaurant staff still sits together at the Osteria’s front table for a meal at the end of every lunch and dinner shift, only getting up to tend to lingering customers. Incoming phone calls are left for later as the ownership, chefs and servers remember to slow down and to enjoy life themselves as well.
Experience (2/3): A meal at La Zucca doesn’t have to be perfect to keep one coming back for more. In fact, it doesn’t matter that it’s sometimes difficult to get a reservation at the restaurant, or that some of the waiters can seem rough around the edges. Somehow, these small hiccups are part of the game, as the Osteria receives increasing acclaim from guide books as it also continues to hire locals (some social and good English speakers, some not) to serve its guests. All in all, the Venetian institution breathes coziness, tradition and creativity time after time with its tasteful, pumpkin art-lined interiors and amazing dishes. Go open-minded, and sample what you can!
Cuisine (3/3): Vegetarian or not, it’s hard to go wrong at La Zucca. Separated into appetizers, first and second courses, sides and desserts, there’s something for everyone at this Italian eatery. On one occasion, our party balanced heavy and light with a cheesy lasagna of radicchio and mushrooms coupled with a clean soup of pumpkin and chestnuts, followed by another strong dish of leeks, pistachios and gorgonzola paired with citrusy purple cabbage and green apple. The results satisfied our cravings for the local and seasonal, as well as for the indulgent and the interesting.
Diversity (3/3): As aforementioned, the servers at La Zucca are always a bit of a mixed local bag of varying genders, ages and social aptitudes. (Don’t be surprised if a simple bit of awkwardness accidentally comes off as rudeness.) The Osteria’s Diversity of dishes is its real strength, however, as the vegetarian menu has expanded to include some meat-based options, and the range of ethnic inspirations is quite wide for a proper Italian restaurant. Think: classic Venetian artichokes next to original pumpkin flans and Middle Eastern inspired medleys. One can leave on the light side, or fill up on richer bites. Albeit abbreviated for quality, this restaurant’s menu truly does it right.
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