Made in Italy, a restaurant located near the entrance to downtown Venice, has new owners. I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Rachel, Andrea and Hector, three of the managing partners, for what I thought would be a typical interview.
We sat in the Martini Bar area, one of four dining rooms available. The room has a bit of the Miami Chic vibe with music from about 9:00pm attracting vacationers, locals and young professionals. The other three dining areas are: the outside café surrounded by local fauna, an inside family style dining room where their Pizza-by-the-yard in baked in a wood-burning oven, and for a laid-back or trendy backyard feel there is the Garden area at the back of the restaurant often used for catered affairs.
“What is new and what has stayed the same on the menu?” I ask.
Andrea, who is from Florence, is happy to talk about the food. “Our Chef, Gustavo, was trained by the original owners and so our menu has stayed the same like the favorite Made in Italy antipasto –sautéed rapini, eggplant, marinated zucchini with mixed bell peppers, capers and olives. Customers can look for additional new dishes on our “Specials” board, which changes daily.” Hector says that, “Some regulars have taken to just ordering from the board knowing Chef Gustavo is in the kitchen. Everything is fresh and local even our fish and seafood. Our desserts, as well as our bread, pasta and pizza dough are all homemade by us from imported finely milled flour.”
Soon the manager of the restaurant, Brian, came over. It felt as though another “family” member came to sit at the table. Within seconds an antipasto of Tronchetti was placed in front of me to taste – a baked brie wrapped with prosciutto topped with arugula and sliced mushrooms and a balsamic drizzle. It was the perfect blend of flavors. A must try.
Brian then called over Jon, the bar manager, who made sure to tell me that, by popular demand, ‘Happy Hour’ has been extended from 11am -7pm. He described a favorite drink at the bar - Pineapple Upside-Down Cake made with fresh pineapple, infused Vanilla Vodka, and just a touch of Grenadine. “Or ask Antonio, one of our bar tenders to make you his special Espresso Martini,” he said. I didn’t ask what was in it, since I already knew I would come back and try it.
They have their own special house wine, not available in stores and made exclusively for Made in Italy, called Super Tuscan as well as other premium wines, with the lowest sulfites available and premium beers, which are organic and Eco friendly. “Customers can sit at the bar and order from the full restaurant menu or from the ‘Cichetti’ menu – that has a variety of Italian style tapas,” Jon says as he goes off to greet a customer.
As I was about to wrap up the interview, another waiter arrives with three of their homemade desserts – cannoli with their homemade ricotta filling, tiramisu`, my favorite, and a cheesecake made with mascarpone cheese, which makes it creamy and beautifully textured.
Before leaving, I asked Rachel to sum up what Made in Italy was all about. She said without hesitation “premium service, top of the line fresh quality ingredients and a full homemade Italian family experience.”
There is something for everyone at Made in Italy and soon there will be more - a new catering menu on or off site and an on-line ordering webpage.
Arrivederci! Made in Italy.