That the Tasting Kitchen is such a Venice hot spot makes a lot of sense. Slick wooden tables, a tree growing in the middle of their front courtyard, menus with scribbled margin notes, and a wine list that takes what you know about Italian Pinot Grigio and turns it on its head all make it perfectly suited for Abbot Kinney. That shouldn’t be read with even a hint of cynicism nor will it be followed by a quip about all the tattooed hipsters willing to wait an hour for mouth-watering cheese and charcuterie plates.
All those elements put together make for a decidedly laid back vibe that focuses solely on food and drink. And what food and drink it is! Order a glass of wine that hails from Slovenia or Croatia to help wash down a meal of cod with parsnips, branzino with chanterelles, rigatoni with lamb, or squid panzanella.
Since the menu is seasonal and changing, my favorite dishes are no longer being served, but rest assured that if ever there was a place to engage in a full conversation with your waiter about what’s good, what pairs best, and what sides to try, it’s here. The place inspires experimentation, so don’t be surprised if you went in barely hungry and leave having eaten everything on the left side of the menu.