We didn’t know the Osteria Madonnetta, but, halfway during our visit in Marostica, Matteo and I experienced a common sensation: hunger! So we had to find a place to eat. I didn’t feel like eating a sandwich at a café. We had plenty of time at our disposal, the day was sunny but cold and all I wanted was a warm and cozy place to rest and enjoy a quiet lunch, possibly consisting of local dishes for 2 reasons:
- Venetian cuisine is very tasty and healthy.
- I always think of my readers when I’m around. So I feel it is my duty to taste local specialities and let you know. As you’ll see below, I immediately contradicted myself 😉
We asked a lady we met in at the main square and she suggested us the Osteria Madonnetta. Since it was just a few steps from there, we went on a reconnaissance mission. I immediately liked the exterior aspect, mainly because of the small baby bike parked outside. How cute! With nonchalance we read the menu (it wasn’t updated, I found out later) and spied the interior through the window. We couldn’t see much. The place seemed quite empty. We decided to go in anyway. Well, it wasn’t empty at all. On the contrary! The place was quite small, consisting of a tiny anteroom with 2 tables, a bigger (but not so big) room with counter and 4 long wooden tables that people share (but with adequate space separating the strangers commensals).
Four smiling and busy waitresses were serving, taking orders, cleaning… basically flying here and there in perpetual motion. We had seen for ourselves that the place was nearly full up, but we asked anyway for a table to one of the girls. Our impression was right: it was totally booked. But there would have been a place within 30 minutes. We agreed to return later. But I needed to go to the rest-room. So I asked her if I might. With a big smile she said “Certamente!” [cehr -tah -MEHN -teh](Of course!) and then she showed me the way.
At the end of the room there was a French window leading to a tiny courtyard. There, inside a a cabin there was the toilet and a surprise. I’ll reveal it later. As soon as I came back, I found my husband sitting at the corner of a table. “What?” “They said the couple who booked at 1 pm is late so they gave us the table” “Sure? I don’t like the idea to steal the table to someone else” “Never mind. They said there is another couple who’s almost finished” “OK, then: Yay!”. I sat and looked around more carefully.
Boy, it was precisely the kind of place I love: comfortable, genuine, with wooden beamed ceiling and all sorts of knick-knacks displayed everywhere: jugs, old photos, sausages, hats, books, newspaper clippings, paintings, a pendulum clock and even a taxidermied snake (yuck) inside a bottle. For the record, the snake is not part of my ideal place!
Our lunch at Osteria Madonnetta
We ordered a plate of local cold cuts and cheese as started, antipasto [ahn -tee- PAHS- toh]. Bread was already on the table. A lot of different kinds: white, olives bread, poppy seeds bread and grilled bread. Then I ate pasta e fagioli, pasta with beans, while Matteo opted for lasagne with radicchio and Asiago cheese.
As dessert I chose an apple crumble. I know, it is not a typical Italian dessert. In my defence I must say that there were other cakes made with ingredients I dislike, or, as for the Tiramisù, that I had recently eaten (the day before). Plus I love crumble, even if I prefer the plums one. Anyway, those apples were delicious, provided with the Slow Food presidium. Matteo chose a more traditional dessert: fregolotta (traditional almond cake) which has something in common with the crumble actually, because fregolotta derives from the dialectal word fregola, i.e. crumb. The two cakes are totally different, though, cause the fregolotta is solid and dry, and must be eaten with the hands. And preferably dipped in alcohol. In fact it was served with a small glass of wine.
While we were waiting I had the chance to read the history of the restaurant, written on the paper tablecloth: founded in 1904, it has been destination for pilgrims and resting spot for soldiers during the war, including Ernest Hemingway, and a meeting point for the inhabitants, between a game of cards and a glass of wine. Here there is also the opportunity to admire a masterpiece of craftsmanship, by artisan Toni Guerra, which expresses the link between Marostica and this tavern: the large circular bench made from a tree felled by lightning in 1975 and reproducing Marostica’s walls.
I looked around and I saw no such thing. So I asked the waitress and she told me: “Ah, the bench is in the cabin outside. I can show you if you want”. What do you think I’ve said? I was already standing and ready to go. The bench is amazing. Sadly the cabin’s room is too small to take a decent photo. Actually this post has no decent photo, cause I used the phone, sorry!
I really enjoyed the lunch, the place and the kindness and cheerfulness of the girls. I strongly recommend this place for a stop in Marostica. I hope you will appreciate it as I did.
Via Vajenti, 21 – Marostica (Vicenza)
10 am to 3 pm and 6 pm to 12 am
Closed on Thursdays