We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Meeting Dino

Tuesday evening on our way home from the movies in Campo San Polo, we walked past a little osteria in Campiello dei Squellini, near Ca'Foscari. It was already a bit past 11pm, but the outdoor tables at Osteria do Farai were still full of people eating and enjoying themselves.  Mike and I looked at each other and had the same thought- we need to check this place out.

The very next night we wandered over about 8:30 only to find every table outside full -again. We didn't want to wait a long time to eat, so we chose to sit indoors.  Before we sat down, we couldn't help but check out all the stuff hanging on the walls. The dining room looked like the Italian equivalent of a Baltimore clubroom. Back home, a clubroom is what you would call a den. We enjoyed walking around for an upclose view of all the large autographed photos of gondola regata winners, as well as the winning pennants from multiple years hanging everywhere. Gondolier hats, old newspaper articles and other memorabilia all related to Venetian gondola regatas like the Regata Storica lined all the walls.  A top shelf surrounding all four walls held old Murano glass vases, decanters and fancy glasses.

After we sat down, a waitress brought menus. Shortly after, a man with curly grey hair came to take our orders.  I have been making a huge effort to speak Italian whereever I go, so I decided to strike up a conversation.  First, I introduced myself. Then I asked the man his name. He answered,"Dino", and gave me a big smile.  We did the usual pleasantries. I explained that we lived locally.  Dino looked at me and asked if I was from Naples. He said he was positive from looking at my face that I was a) Italian and b) from the south.  I think Dino is just very good at smoozing the clients!  The little Italian I speak sounds more American than anything else, secondo me!  I also introduced my husband  Mike to Dino, to which he responded "NO! He is Michele!"

 We ordered. Dino didn't approve of Mike's choice of Spaghetti Carbonara.  Dino proceeded to explain that Mike should eat carbonara  if he went to Florence, but here, in Venice, he should eat fish. Mike heeded Dino's advice, and changed his selection to Spaghetti Sogliere  (with mixed seafood).  Dino brought out the wine. We chatted a bit more.

Not long after, our appetizer of mussels and clams was served by a waitress. We began eating. Then we hear Dino yelling from the doorway on the other side of the room "Michele, va bene?"  ( Mike, is everything ok?).

Dino yelled "Michele, tutto posto? (Mike, everything as it should be?) after our pasta course arrived.  "Si, Si, Dino, grazie!"

After the dessert. an unbelievably decadent plate of chocolate "salami" slices, was consumed, Dino yelled from the doorway again,   "Michele, stai bene? " ( Mike, are you ok?)

On our way out, Dino handed us his business card, telling us to call him ahead of time for our next visit, he'd be sure to hold a table outside for us.

We strolled home, arm in arm, laughing about what a character Dino was.  The meal was good, dessert was superb, Dino was priceless.  The only thing that would have made this night better for me was if Dino had given ME an Italian name also.  Maybe next time. 


Michelle said...

Have you figured out yet what Karen is in Italian? Michele is Michael in Italian...so....
what is Karen???

ytaba36 said...

What a terrific experience. Buongiorno a Michele!


karen said...

Michelle- unfortunately nothing means Karen in Italian. Everyone has trouble pronouncing it, even my relatives! So perhaps I should change my name to Carmella!

Mary K said...

Do Farai is our favorite place to eat whenever we're in Venice. It's just around the corner from the apartment we stay in - and we were taken there and introduced to Dino and Stefano (also a hit with the ladies!) by our friends who live in Venice. Every time we go we're treated like locals and I've never seen the menu - we just discuss with them what's good, and we've always had fabulous food. It's a real gem. Can't wait to get back!

jonneke krans said...

if you want an italian name maybe it's an idea to change it in caterina, see http://tinyurl.com/3c63hqq

ksw said...

That URL lists Karina as a form of Karen.

Just start calling yourself Karina - close enough and easy for Italians to pronounce :)