Where to eat "moeche" from Chioggia to Venice. The 10 best restaurants chosen by Gambero Rosso

Mar 4 2024, 12:42
Chioggia is considered the Italian capital of fishing. And it is precisely from here that we want to start a small gourmet itinerary dedicated to "moeche," exquisite crabs found in front of the Chioggia shores, in the Venetian lagoon

Bites for gourmets, the lagoon crabs during this (short) period of the year shed their shells, becoming briefly naked and vulnerable, hence the name "moeche" (soft) or "moleche." They are eaten whole, with all the legs and the head, after being dipped in beaten egg to absorb it well and then fried, becoming a real delicacy. If you want to know the most suitable wine pairing, with a good Friulian Collio or a Pinot Nero sparkling wine, the enjoyment is guaranteed.

Where to eat "moeche" from Chioggia to Venice


La Baia dei Porci

Inside a historic building, it has cozy interiors with brick walls and vaults, and a pleasant outdoor seating area. The menu moves along the lines of classic restaurant/osteria. Regarding the first aspect, you will find the raw offerings of the day (oysters, prawns, scampi, and more), spaghetti with Chioggia razor clams and lupini clams, mixed grill (calamari, langoustines, scallops, and razor clams) with vegetables and polenta, Imperial Fried (Fritto Imperiale), and "moeche" with polenta. "Moeche" also appear among the many tasty "cicchetti" served at the osteria. The wine list includes sparkling wines and white wines.

La Baia dei Porci – corso del Popolo, 1347 – 041 8479169 – www.baiadeiporci.it

Garibaldi - Ristorante

An indestructible sign that stands out and is appreciated for its classic and reassuring style, long-standing family management, and intimate atmosphere. However, what makes the difference is the culinary proposal entirely dedicated to the sea and enhanced by the very fresh raw materials processed with good technique and experience into recipes that interpret the local maritime tradition. Some examples: whipped cod, raw fish, lobster tagliolini, green spaghetti with squid tartare and caviar, lobster salad, delicious fried "moeche." An interesting wine list completes the picture.
Garibaldi - frazione Sottomarina viale San Marco, 1924 – 041 5540042

El Gato - Ristorante

Managed by the Bissacco family, it has been a point of reference for those passionate about quality seafood cuisine for years. Seafood, shellfish, mollusks, plenty of bluefish, and everything fresh that the market offers are maximized by skilled hands and reduced cooking to the essentials to preserve the scents and flavors of such raw materials. The declared specialty of the house is the "bollitone," a rich mix of steamed fish, the sumptuous lobster Catalan with vegetables, and "moeche" (make sure they are available on the day you decide to go), but the menu lists many interesting dishes. Wines are up to par.

El Gato – corso del Popolo, 653 – 041 400265 – www.ristoranteachioggia.it

Osteria Penzo

A few meters from the embarkation for Venice, in the center, a family-run establishment where traditional, simple, and genuine fish cuisine has been prepared for years. Among the flagship dishes are "sardele in saôr," various mixed boiled meats, spaghetti with stewed cuttlefish, the rich "alla Ciosota" soup, bigoli in anchovy sauce, cuttlefish with black ink baked in a pan, stewed eel, "incoercià" lizardfish (sea robin), and last but not least, fried "moeche," a delight. Among the house desserts, the tiramisu "al cucchiaio" stands out. The wine cellar mainly features wines from the Triveneto region. The place has few covers, and reservations are recommended.

Osteria Penzo – calle Larga Bersaglio, 525 – 041 400992 – www.osteriapenzo.it

Campagna Lupia

Antica Osteria Cera - Ristorante

One of the best seafood cuisines in the entire Boot, "signed" by the Cera family and served impeccably in an atmosphere of refined elegance. This is why we are talking about a Tre Forchette of the Ristoranti d'Italia 2024 guide. Everything starts with the first-class catch that arrives in the morning and is touched as little as possible or ends up in dishes that tend to protect its value. This is the case, for example, with the raw scampi with oil and lemon with chives and the hot salad with steam with shellfish, rock fish, and garden vegetables. But there are many worthwhile options to taste, from the "cassopipa" of fish, shellfish, and mollusks to the tasty fried "moeche." The wine list is extensive.

Antica Osteria Cera – località Lughetto via Marghera, 24 – 041 5185009 – www.osteriacera.it


Mare Divino - Ristorante

A quarter of an hour from the coast, it is considered one of the best references in the area for a lunch or dinner based on fish, a reputation earned in the field thanks to the level of the offer, based on quality seafood mainly from the lagoon and the Adriatic. In the background, a sober, modern, rightly illuminated environment. The debut with raw, squid oil and lemon, and amberjack tartare with sea urchin ice cream is unmissable. It continues with gnocchetti with crab and tagliolini with pistachio pesto and lizardfish tartare, the delicious fried "moeche," succulent royal shrimp with salt, and monkfish with mugnaia style with vegetables and pecorino. Wines are up to par.

Mare Divino – vicolo Ca’ Tron, 9 – 041 5640011 – www.ristorantemaredivino.it


Ai Pescatori - Trattoria

Pellestrina is a small and narrow island in the Venetian lagoon, with a beautiful sandy beach and a inhabited core made up of typical colored houses. Ai Pescatori has a bar that serves aperitifs with glasses and cicchetti, and there is also the actual restaurant, with an outdoor area that offers unique scenarios at sunset. The menu logically depends on the market, but some proposals are almost always available, such as sardines in saôr, whipped cod, and gratin canestrelli. This is followed by bavette with mantis shrimp and cherry tomatoes, spaghetti with clams, mixed grill, grilled eel, and fried "moeche." House wine to wash it all down.

Ai Pescatori – via Busetti, 316 – 041 5279346-339 7617009 – www.ristoranteaipescatori.com


Da Romano - Trattoria


This address, managed for generations by the Barbaro family, is part of the Historical Places of Italy. It is famous for its characteristic environments adorned with paintings and works by the many artists, famous and not, who visited it. The legend has it that the founder Romano, an art enthusiast, also accepted paintings instead of money to settle the bill. Instead, a tasty reality is good seafood cuisine whose flavors all have a well-defined character, without coverings or gratuitous ostentation. Not to be missed, among the various proposals on the menu, is the famous risotto with goby (a small lagoon fish) and fried "moeche."

Da Romano – via San Martino Destro, 220 (piazza B. Galuppi) – 041 730030 – www.daromano.it


Da Fiore - Ristorante

An institution of the Lagoon, a refined table managed for over 40 years by the Martin family, with Mara holding the reins of a classic kitchen, strong in very high-quality raw materials and a lot of experience. Excellent raw dishes, skewers of fried oysters, Venetian-style bigoli, gratin tagliolini with scampi and red Chioggia radicchio, lacquered lagoon eel with Marsala and Porto reduction, fried "moeche" with white polenta and mixed greens. Homemade bread and desserts, and a well-matched wine list. If you are a couple, book the romantic table for two overlooking the canal.

Da Fiore – San Polo calle dello Scaleter, 2202/A – 041 721308 – www.ristorantedafiore.com 

Antica Trattoria Poste Vecie - Ristorante

In a former 1500s post office near the Fish Market, it is divided into two rooms with charming and atmospheric frescoes, both with a large fireplace. For the good season, there is a well-kept outdoor area. The culinary proposal combines sea and land, with well-made dishes borrowed from tradition. Here are the sardines in saôr, shrimp with polenta, gratins according to the market, bigoli in sauce, pasta and beans, spaghetti with lobster and cherry tomatoes, eel on the altar with red wine reduction and bay leaf, Venetian liver, fried fish and vegetables, and fried "moeche." The wine list pairs well with the cuisine. Reservations are recommended.

Antica Trattoria Poste Vecie – Rialto Pescheria San Polo, 1608 – 041 721822 – www.postevecie.com

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