I was actually more excited about this dinner then I was about visiting Venice itself. I know I am a bit insane but that’s the life of Pierre. Dopolavoro opened last year and received a Michelin star six months later in December 2015.
First let’s talk about the journey that it takes to get to the JW Marriott in Venice. The hotel sits on an island of its own. The only way to get there is to take the shuttle boat. This alone will take you 20 minutes so plan ahead. We were recommended to take the boat about 30 minutes before the reservation to get there on time. It ended up working out just perfectly. Once you arrive on the island, you need to walk over to the restaurant, which is another five minute walk away from the dock. It was in the evening and there was a beautiful sunset!
We got to the restaurant and inside the design was beautiful. The dining room was off to the right after you enter and it is very elegant. No white tablecloths but definitely fine dining. We were seated in the middle of the room which actually had some great lighting.
We were brought out the menu and introduced to our options. On the left-hand side of the menu was a five course menu. Below the 5 course was a 4 course vegetarian menu and then on the other side a 10 course option. I was interested in both the five and the 10 courses. We finally went with both of them! Personally, I ordered the 10 course option because I wanted to really experience what the restaurant had to offer. There were however some additions to the 10 course menu that were offered compliments of the chef. In total I think I had about a 15 to 20 course meal. Yowza!
Some of the memorable moments of the meal occurred early. The first one that I can remember was the non-alcoholic drink balls serve in the beginning. Basically it’s a fruit cocktail inside of a ball that explodes in your mouth. Something very unique and a refreshing way to start the meal.
My welcome drink was a traditional Italian Negroni. I’ve heard about these before and was very excited to try one. Caution: I would suggest that you drink these slowly at first because they’re quite potent. Just one of these for my welcome drink and I was feeling it. Alone it wouldn’t be bad but when you consider that there were about six more glasses of wine to follow it became a big deal.
Actually, the first official course on the menu was a spaghetti salad with spider crab and coffee. This isn’t something you hear every day, definitely something unique and I appreciate the fact that they’re pushing the limits of the culinary arts.
As you know Pierre is a huge sucker for risotto so when the smoked herring risotto, bailey floral and roasted corn came I was very happy.
Another fantastically magical dish was the grilled octopus, rolled with lard and horseradish mayonnaise. There is never a time when pork fat doesn’t make something taste great. In my experience this is always the case.
There were many more dishes but those were all of my favorites. I could’ve stopped eating many times because I was full, but I pressed on just for you. It was time for dessert. My favorite of the bunch actually came from the five course set menu which was the goat cheese, raspberry and rose sorbet. This was absolutely phenomenal. It basically taste like cheesecake and was so smooth! With the raspberry and rose flavors it was like eating heaven. They brought many others and another memorable masterpiece was the strawberry and rhubarb tart “inversa.”
With so many dishes I commend the kitchen for putting in so much effort into such an extensive meal. The flavors, overall, were very intriguing and unique. I think it would be nearly impossible for me to love everything but I truly enjoyed the vast majority of! I truly respect this clear passion for the culinary arts by the Dopolavoro staff. There is a lot of hype behind this restaurant and when all things are considered, I think it’s worth it. It does come with a hefty price tag but it’s not something you’ll be eating everyday because you will become a whale. I do think you should give this place a shot and see what all the commotion is about! Bon appétit.
Isola delle Rose
30133 Laguna di San Marco
Phone: +39 041 852 1300