Staying at the Sina Centurion Palace makes it very hard to resist the temptation of having dinner at Antinoo’s Restaurant. Last year, we were lucky to dine outside on their terrace on Canal Grande. This time however, it was too cold so we chose one of the tables inside the white room, overlooking the canal. The entire food experience wasn’t any less because of this. Our taste buds were spoiled from the beginning to the end. Even writing this post makes my mouth water.
A new chef and a great team
This was our first introduction to the cuisine of the new Executive Chef Giancarlo Bellino, who is leading the kitchen since March 15. He is originally from Puglia and was already sous-chef in the restaurant since 2013. For the creation of his contemporary dishes, the chef attaches great importance to the selection of ingredients and to the Italian tradition and culture. According to Giancarlo Bellino, the dishes might look simple but they match with the upscale identity of the Sina Centurion Palace. I have to say though that I didn’t think for a second they were simple, so it’s probably better to say they are not overcomplicated. You still know what you are eating.
“For me, cooking has a convivial and communicative value: it is also possible to convey emotions through the preparation of simple dishes that are linked to tradition, to the memory of a territory, or to a historical moment.”
The service and attention to detail is impeccable, in line with the five star standard in the hotel (see also my post ‘Luxury to the last detail at Sina Centurion Palace’). It starts with the hanger for your handbag and doesn’t stop until you sign off the bill. The team really makes sure you enjoy the evening, the food and your company.
An Italian and Venetian menu
The menu has a varied selection of dishes for starters, first course, main course and dessert. Whether you like fish or meat, you will find something to your taste. There is also a Venetian degustation menu if you want to try local ingredients and dishes. Even though you might call it old-fashioned, I love the fact that only my husband got a menu with prices next to the dishes.
If you can’t make up your mind from this mouth-watering menu, maître Nicola Nardo will be more than happy to advise you and give you plenty of information on the dishes and the ingredients. We didn’t go for the set menu, but followed his suggestions for each course. I was so happy we did as it was delicious. We discovered for instance the ‘salicornia’ or sea asparagus which grows in salt marshes such as in the Venetian lagoon. It was very tasteful and I will certainly take it again when I see it on a menu.
Here’s The Venice Insider version of Antinoo’s menu, of which you can also see some pictures in the banner:
Tomato tartare with Andria stracciatella and blown frisella
Warm lime linguine, raw shrimps and samphire
Citrus fruit steamed black cod with green asparagus and vanilla flavoured reduction of fish
Grilled scampi with herbs oil and grilled vegetables
African tea aromatized crème brulée
Dark chocolate mousse, mango and ginger flavoured meringue crumble
The wine cellar of the restaurant gives you the opportunity to choose between more than 300 labels, with many Venetian and Italian wines as well as wines from all over the world. We decided to let sommelier Vito De Candia select accompanying wines for each dish and it was spot-on. He took the time to explain why he picked each wine. Sometimes the wine had to enforce the flavour of the food, but otherwise a light wine was better so the taste wouldn’t be changed by the wine. One of my favourites was the Lagrein Rosé 2017 of J.Hofstätter.
Inside or outside
Antinoo’s Restaurant is part of the Sina Centurion Palace, a five star hotel along Canal Grande in Dorsoduro. The restaurant is open for hotel guests, but also for residents and visitors who are not staying at the hotel. You have 3 seating options: the terrace on Canal Grande, the white room or the red room. In total, the restaurant has 50 places.
The terrace on Canal Grande is without doubt the best part of the restaurant. I had dinner there last year and it was amazing. There are only a few tables so it feels like a private dinner on Canal Grande. You will have to cope though with the jealous looks from people passing by in a vaporetto. However, the traffic diminishes as time flies during dinner, so by the time you are enjoying your dessert, it’s very quiet on the canal. It’s one of the most romantic spots in Venice.
The bright white room is of course different than the view outside. It might seem cold at first glance, but the beautiful coloured glasses and the pink flowers brighten the atmosphere. As a result, all attention can go to the food compositions on your plate.
The red room has only a few tables and seems more cosy, but Canal Grande is less visible through the high windows.
If you want a special night out, I can highly recommend Antinoo’s Restaurant. Don’t forget to make a reservation, especially if you want one of the outside tables. There is also a lighter lunch menu if you want to take a break while wandering around Dorsoduro or before or after visiting the Guggenheim museum.
FYI: I stayed in the Sina Centurion Palace as a paying guest, but I did book at a favourable rate.