The area of Venice near the Arsenale, the Castello district to be precise, is where the Al Covo restaurant is located. Cesare Benelli, patron and soul of the Ristorante Al Covo , is responsible for a significant part in writing the Venetian gastronomic history of the last 30 years. Opened in 1987, instead of following others with standardized mass offerings, Benelli focused on enhancing and making Venetian cuisine known, making dishes the cultural ambassadors of Venice. Benelli created, in the mid-90s and together with other colleagues, a partnership - the "Restaurants of Good Reception - which soon became a virtuous network of local promoters to their quality customers, favoring small producer, product transparency and thereby enhancing the local economy. Ristorante Al Covo belongs to the Chef's Alliance of the Slow Food Foundation and to the Association Ristoranti della Buona Accoglienza di Venezia.
The Covo menu is in fact a tale of local traditions, with some concessions, between appetizers and main courses, to national specialities in particular for cured meats and Parmesan cheese and pickled vegetables and Chianina beef. Focus is on fish – from the lagoon or from the Adriatic – with the ever-present creamed, crab, fried, mixed boiled meats and moeche and bisato (eel) in season; but there are also meat dishes, season permitting, to take advantage of the excellent lagoon game. Homemade pasta and vegetables from the lagoon gardens complete the picture - all presented with elegance but no frills. The menu changes seasonally and daily depending on market availability and is made up of 7-8 appetizers (22-31 euros), 3-4 first courses (22-26 euros) and the remainder are for main courses. The Slow Food presidium products, regional excellences (Treviso radicchio and Sponcio corn) and artisans of taste scattered throughout the peninsula (one above all, Antica Corte Pallavicina Culatello) are present on the menu.