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In Venice I’m in the mood for cherries,
My soul wanders in the water.
I hide in the sugary “calles”.
Bridges arched like the back of animals
Are keeping a centuries-old promise
to the thousands steps of the lovers
who have flown away.
Every time I arrive in Venice I meet first its Byzantine soul before any other.
The one represented by buildings and paintings full of gold and Lapis lazuli, that fascinated me since childhood.
Every time I arrive in Venice, I realize I forgot almost everything about this place and I have to learn it all over again, as for the first time. I’m sure that’s because the city built on water is not part of this world, it is a world unto itself and it is more like a place existing in a dream than in the real life.
Venice… Venice is a dream. While you are immersed in it, everything is more intense and bright, but when you wake up, you can’t describe it as a whole, you can only try to put together some details.
Venice thus remains enchanted and mysterious in my eyes.
I remember perfectly some hints, glimpses of a hidden courtyard, a field escaped from the prying eyes of tourists, but in my mind, I never see the whole place all along. For me, this city of canals is wrapped in a blanket of sighs.
The Laguna of sweet dreams, therefore, surprises and stuns me every time it welcomes me, and when I’m here, I can think of everything, except food. In any case, for me eating in Venice means always carrying around fruit and nuts and seeds, because let’s face it: Venice is not a city for vegans or vegan-friendly.
Maybe it’s because of the deeply rooted traditional Venetian cuisine, or because tourists expect the most typical Italian dishes and restaurateurs are rightly willing to meet this demand. Finally, maybe it’s because of the nicely lazy and nostalgic attitude of the Venetians. Despite their conquerors and pirates’ soul, Venetians are the first to be bewitched by the enchantment of their own city. Anyway, Venice is anything but natural food and plant-based oriented.
Precisely for this reason, I had a very big surprise during my last visit. While I was walking in the direction of the Biennale exhibition, I saw a mirage: a little restaurant specialized in vegetarian and vegan organic food. An oasis for persons like me who eats only plant-based products. Above all, the only place in the entire city where you can eat 100% organic food.
I discovered an important address for the vegan traveler in town: Le Spighe (it means The Ears).
It is a small friendly place, well identified on the outside thank to the lovely bench, that immediately makes you feel at home.
Even before entering any doubt is dispelled by clear signs, stated also in English, hasten to reassure the customer: only vegetarian and vegan dishes, with ingredients from organic farming.
You can eat on the spot, sitting at the big and cheerful communal table, or take out your own lunch and eat nearby, in the beautiful setting of the surroundings.
You can compose your plate, choosing different preparations from the daily menu. Usually, the choice is between cooked or raw vegetables, legumes of various types and cereals, pasta salad, tabouleh and hummus and chickpeas falafel. For dessert, you can have muffins and cakes and jam tarts.
At Le Spighe it is also possible to buy organic and biodynamic products. I recommend especially the fresh organic bread, which is a thread with the past: Le Spighe was before an artisan pasta lab and a bakery.
This nice little place is run by Doriana. She offers her valuable healthy cuisine prepared with care and with the soul of those who chose this path long before it became a fashion. When it was still only a small road for a few brave ones, looking for a better way to feed themselves.
I took out my plate, which was delicious and venturing consumed at room temperature in the warm Venetian July. I took it to the Giardini di via Garibaldi. Here finally, for the first time, I ate in harmony in Venice, seduced by its charm but also firmly rooted to my earthly nature, thanks to the food I prefer and that makes me feel good.
Why I love to eat here: because it’s the only place in Venice offering 100% organic food, entirely dedicated to vegetarians and vegans (at least until now … savvy vegans entrepreneurs here could find an almost virgin place waiting to be conquered).
Why I invite you to try it: because the food here is genuine, homemade and fresh. You will find simple but tasty dishes. Moreover, it is located in a beautiful position and the surroundings are fabulous: the Giardini di Via Garibaldi, the Arsenale, the Castello district, S.Pietro and the Biennale.
I love the bench outside which makes me feel welcomed when I arrive, the big communal table that gives birth to beautiful conversations.
Who can eat here: it is a place for everyone, including children. Of course, it is suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and for those with special needs as allergies and food intolerances to dairy products, eggs, grains. and there are also gluten-free options Please inform Doriana about your allergies or intolerances.
Castello Via Garibaldi 1341,
Organic vegetarian and vegan food
From Monday to Saturday
from 10 am to 3 pm
(Then it will open again in afternoon, but the opening hours change often, so better check or give a call)
Phone: 041 523 8173