da Rioba

DA RIOBA

 

From a story by Tomaso Medici


This restaurant was opened in November 2001 by my mother, along with a fisherman and a cook. Then, after a year and a half, the fisherman couldn’t stand being inside anymore and went back to fishing, and shortly after, the cook also left. Only my mother remained. I was abroad at the time, and I returned to help her; that was the initial plan. However, as the months went by, I became passionate about it, and I’ve been part of the restaurant since 2004. My mother now handles administration, while I manage service and the selection of kitchen products.


Fortunately, we always ate well at home since childhood. So, even though my parents were not in this profession – we don’t have a background in the restaurant business, but we had land in Sant’Erasmo, where I spent my summers – we always had a food culture and a significant connection to raw materials.


The restaurant initially started as an osteria, with a simpler kitchen, a wine list with ten references, and more basic service. Being young, I needed stimuli, so every year, we tried to take a step forward, and we continue to try to improve something. From a professional perspective, I certainly had to put myself to the test, especially since I didn’t have a family history in the industry. So, I tried to study as an autodidact, dine out often, go to the market, and then engage with colleagues who had more experience than me. Exchanging ideas with them greatly helped me on my journey. Despite it being a long path, in the end, this is a profession that provides a lot of satisfaction and challenges. That’s why I can’t stay away from this world for months and months on end. It’s something I feel inside, and I see it in my colleagues as well. Because in this, there is also the relationship with customers: interacting with new or old customers is an exchange that enriches you; the human connection is fundamental.


In these almost twenty years, we have grown in terms of service, wine list, and the selection of raw materials because, for me, that was fundamental. Our pillars are sustainability, territory, and the relationship with the customer. The first two undoubtedly help achieve good results because high-quality raw materials don’t require excessive processing. Seasonality and origin are essential for the success of a dish with few elements because that’s where the territory stands out. The base is always traditional dishes made with raw materials from the lagoon, the islands, or nearby countryside. However, I like to propose dishes that have something new without distorting the traditional recipe but also without betraying the spirit of Venice, a city that has always had a lot of influences and cultural exchanges, even in its cuisine.


From 2001 until today, the city has certainly changed a lot. On one hand, it seems like a disaster because the city no longer has services for the residents because it no longer has residents. However, from the perspective of the restaurant industry, I believe there has been significant progress in the last ten years. New generations have taken over, and there have been new openings by young people who wanted to bet and stay here (with many difficulties). Over the years, this has paid off. Today, I could easily recommend restaurants where you can eat well in Venice. The key is to choose correctly. Certainly, in the coming years, there will be other new realities that will come and certainly bring quality and new places to go. They have brought some freshness and novelty to the city. And that’s good for everyone.


We joined Buona Accoglienza about seven or eight years ago. I wanted to be part of it because it fully aligned with my ideas, so I sent in my application, and it was accepted. We started doing activities, meeting, and exchanging ideas – it was very interesting because we are from different generations, with different experiences and viewpoints. This helps everyone because everyone shares their thoughts, but in the end, we always manage to find common ground. We continuously discuss and try to strengthen this relationship every month, every year. It certainly needs a bit more visibility, just to give an image of a city that deserves high-level cuisine and hospitality. This is the fundamental point of our association, so I think it’s essential to make this reality known to everyone because, in the end, it’s beneficial for the city, for us, and also for the people who will visit us.