A splendid Cera

The osteria/temple of fish in the hinterland of Venice proves to be in top shape

by Antonio Vasile
The moeche, an emblem of Osteria Cera in Campagna

The moeche, an emblem of Osteria Cera in Campagna Lupia (Venezia), 2 Michelin stars,+39.041.5189954. The history of the restaurant, today guided by Daniele and Lionello Cera, starts 40 years ago when they still served ciccheti (Venetian tapas) and glasses of white wine


Spaghettino freddo con crudo di triglia,mazzancolla, calamaro e salsa di pistacchi di bronte e mandarino
Foglia di baccala leggermente affumicato con caffè
Zuppa di granchi nostrani con patata al limone
Broeto de pesse con polenta, ricotta e  pancetta

I’ll never forget what a friend of mine who lives in the mountains always says: you don’t know how lucky you are to live near the sea. In fact, the beneficial properties of the sea air are renowned, but my friend also refers to the additional possibility of eating good and fresh fish more often. I admit it’s obvious but if you want to eat some excellent fish, it’s best to look for it in a sea-side town, better if it’s a great and historic city like Venice, one of the most important Maritime republics.

The required-stop in Venice is at Antica Osteria da Cera in Lughetto Campagna Lupia on the road to Chioggia where, since 1966, the Cera family continues a strong maritime tradition. The philosophy, over here, is one: namely the respect for raw materials is the foundation for a cuisine in which the surprise is based on simplicity.

Raw fish in 12 different ways

Raw fish in 12 different ways

From the very beginning, the culinary itinerary is stupefying, the Cold spaghettino with raw mullet, prawns, squid and Bronte pistachio and mandarin sauce is great fun and it seems incredible the idea came from a dessert pastry chef Lionello Cera was experimenting. And what about the Baccalà: the quality of the salted codfish is very high, the coffee smoking is surprising and balanced.

The slate dish with 12 tastings of raw fish with different textures is a real expression of the freshness and the colours of the sea: this dish, as Lionello illustrates, has been served for over 15 years following the same rule: the catch is that of the day. The Local crab soup with lemon aromatised potato is a concentrate of taste. The crab, Lorena explains, is processed when raw, and added only at the end, so as to maintain all its flavour. The aroma of the sea reaches its top with the Broeto de pesse (fish soup) with polenta, ricotta and pancetta, a review of a pie-dish once prepared in noble Venetian houses.

The itinerary continues with an exemplary Cicchetto di fritto with white corn-flour polenta. The surprise is given by the la Moeca, a crab picked during its moult which can thus be eaten with its shell. After a very refined selection of petit fours, the palate is refreshed by the Citrus fruits and fennel soup, and finally a dessert with the spicy sensation given by...

Antica Osteria da Cera
località Lughetto
via Marghera, 24
Campagna Lupia (Venice)
Average prices: starters 32, first courses 30, main courses 34, desserts 14 euros
Tasting menu: 140 and 150 euros