TEXT: KIKI DEERE | PHOTOS © ALESSANDRO ANTONUCCIO
If you thought paying for a meal in crypto-currency was a thing of the future, then think again. One of the very few places in the world that allows customers to buy food with Bitcoin has now arrived in Europe. And it is not in ultra-modern Copenhagen or in tech-friendly Stockholm. It is located in beautiful Venice, a city steeped in history where – tourists aside – life seems to have remained unchanged for centuries, with gondolas elegantly gliding down colourful canals lined with opulent villas.
Zanze XVI has been around since the 16th century, but it has recently had a complete make over by a dynamic team who have sought to give the restaurant a fresh modern look while remaining true to its ancient roots. Ingredients are sourced locally and strictly follow the seasons, with fruits and greens from a nearby organic farm. Beef comes from grass-fed cattle from a trusted butchery, while fish is from local producers in the region.
“In order to create the perfect cuisine, you need top-quality ingredients and a chef to bring these to life with intelligence, experience and creativity,” claims Chef Marco Galtarossa, whose five- and eight-course surprise tasting menus are a hallmark of the restaurant. The surprise factor allows Chef Galtarossa to provide a seasonal and original tasting experience by preparing individual dishes based on diners’ personal tastes. By using surprise tasting menus, the Chef also has the added flexibility to change dishes at any time based on which ingredients he can source from suppliers. Among his varied creations are beef carpaccio served with raw and marinated radish with quince zabaglione and pine-nut mayonnaise, and smoked grilled eel served with a pak choi sauce.
This is modern international fare with a splash of creativity, served in contemporary bistro-style interiors that ooze history. Original marble floors date back to the ’60s, while the rustic ceiling beams are over two centuries old. There are quirky touches in the furnishings, too. Tables are made with reclaimed wooden poles traditionally used in Venice’s canals to delimit navigable channels or to moor boats, while stylish designer chairs exude a pinch of retro, recalling traditional seating in old Italian taverns. Interiors are contemporary with vintage accents, and the cuisine modern with a touch of traditional, making for the perfect blend in this forward-looking city that is a custodian of centuries-old traditions.
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