Imagine to have dinner in a terrace on the lagoon, admiring the sun going down; a sail boat passing by on the horizon while you have a toast with your loved one or ones. That’s what I experienced at Da Celeste Pellestrina.
Da Celeste is a restaurant in the Venetian lagoon, precisely in the island of Pellestrina. Once run by Celeste, it’s now managed by his son and his nephew, who maintained the same old atmosphere. There you can find exquisite fish and also very local food, like the violetto di Sant’Erasmo artichoke or, when it’s the right season, the famous moecche fritte (fried soft shell crabs).
Celeste used to work at the shipyard in Venice. When a crisis started, his nephew convinced him to take over the old Bar San Marco. Helped by other members of the family, with almost no experience in the sector, they managed to lead the restaurant to success.
In my first post dedicated to Pellestrina island, I couldn’t manage to dine at Da Celeste, cause they were completely booked. But I set my mind to come back, and so I did as soon as I had the occasion, during summer holidays, taking advantage of a sunny day, conveniently located among rainy days. So, I thought: “It must be today!”. PS for who read the previous post about Pellestina, the gelateria is now rented.
My husband Matteo and I reached Pellestrina by vaporetto number 11, departing from Chioggia. We reached the island and from the water bus to the restaurant it’s only 10 minutes by foot. Don’t be surprised for the presence of cars there. Pellestrina is quite narrow, but 11 km long, so some people own a car.
I still have to properly explore the island by bike, and I intend to do that the next time. This time we only went for the purpose of dining Da Celeste. We had heard about it from some friends and also in a tv show. Renowned for its fresh local fish, and of course the beauty of the terrace overlooking the sea.
Honestly, I was glad to go in a pleasant weather evening, ’cause there’s a huge difference between the exterior and the interior. The latter is in fact quite démodé, not at all at the same level of romance of the terrace. Of course, the food is the same, but the atmosphere changes completely.
We had booked I think four days in advance and we had a table for two in the terrace, second row. But the couple on the first row came half an hour after us, so we enjoyed our beautiful view until sunset, toasting with a glass of prosecco. You know I basically do not drink, but that wine was light and, as we would say in the Veneto, beverino (something like inviting and easy to drink).
We had: spaghetti alle vongole (with clams) for me (perfectly al dente) and with branzino (seabass) for Matteo. Both delicious.
Then frittura mista di pesce (mixed fish fry), very light and tasteful, and sogliola (sole). I chose the sole because of a childhood memory. That was one of the fishes my mother used to prepare for me when I was little. And I loved that. I must day I found the same flavour I remembered. But my mother used to peel it for me. This time I had to make do on my own, and I’m a clod at cleaning fish. So Matteo came in my rescue at some point, and I stole a bit of his fry in the process. You know women. 😉
Desserts were good but they’re not their thing. So next time I would rather skip them and concentrate on an antipasto.
About the price, we found it quite honest. Two first courses, two main courses, water, a quarter of wine, two desserts for 70€. OK, portions were not huge, but right. As I said, next time I would also have an antipasto.
Anyway, we were very happy of our dinner, especially my husband. He’s not a glutton like me. I’m eating now and already thinking about what I’ll have next meal. He doesn’t even like fish that much. Nevertheless, he couldn’t stop repeating how good that fish was. So it was a success.
We had a passeggiata hand in hand along the lagoon before returning at the vaporetto stop. The night was calm, only disturbed by a gentle fresh breeze. Arrivederci, Pellestina!
Da Celeste Pellestrina
Sestiere Vianelli, 625/b Pellestrina, Venezia
Closing day Wednesday