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Quadri, the 18th-century café, bistro and fine-dining restaurant in St. Mark’s Square is one of the most exclusive and luxurious venues in Venice. To celebrate its important connection with the city’s history and culinary traditions, the owners Massimiliano & Raffaele Alajmo decided to restore Quadri with the help of Venetian artisans bringing the place to its former glory. From October 2017 to February 2018 Grancaffè Quadri underwent a major renewal, projected by architect Marino Folin and the renowned French designer Philippe Starck. Massimiliano & Raffaele Alajmo initiated the restoration project based on the need and desire to preserve the extraordinary heritage of Quadri, and to create a legacy making its mark on both contemporary history and the history of Italian cuisine.

“Out of respect, love and intelligence, we did not want to change such a powerful concentration of mystery, beauty, oddity and poetry. We simply looked for its wonders, and we discovered a wonderland. Everything here is a mental game, with its own magical little music. Hidden fertile surprises come to life everywhere; on the walls with the fabric, in the lights with the surrealistic chandeliers and in the chimeric taxidermy collection that inhabits the place;  the animals came here and wings grew on their backs, becoming fantasy creatures like the mythical winged Lion of Venice. This dream partly comes from my brain, my heart and my folly; yet we needed hands to make it a reality. And the secret of Quadri’s absolute quality is the Venetian artisans.” – Philippe Starck.

Inside the restaurant Quadri on the first floor, Starck’s influence is evident in the décor and recovery of original architectural details. The previously deep red wall covering is now a rich golden brown. Tessitura Bevilacqua, a historic Venetian fabric maker, produced both the old and new fabrics. During a visit to the poetically ancestral Bevilacqua atelier, Starck selected a fabric made in 1550 as his model for a pattern that repeats across the room. Then the French creator twisted it to add humor and mental games into the idea of tradition and quality. The depicted faces are these of the Alajmo brothers, and horse-drawn carriages and gondolas give way to satellites and astronauts.

Quadri, the only restaurant located in St. Mark’s Square, received its first Michelin star in 2012. Its cuisine represents the contemporary expression of traditional Italian and Venetian dishes. The fish arrives fresh from the Rialto market each day, as does the produce, based on seasonal availability. “Our dishes are based on a sense of place, Venetian traditions, the lagoon and its ingredients, historically recontextualized in the present day through a new luminosity that gives the food greater depth,” explains Massimiliano Alajmo.

Quadri’s dining options are presented with a few tasting menus, but guests can also choose to order two, three or four courses, selecting from any of the dishes on the tasting menus. A pure fantasy, the Quattro Atti tasting menu was designed so that all the dishes are served in the center of the table and shared among the guests, making for a convivial experience. The food is presented on a variety of mismatched plates and dishes designed by the Alajmo brothers to have a Venetian feel.

The dining room staff has also been given new uniforms that break with tradition, custom-made to evoke the look of a noble Venetian entertaining guests at home. As a gift to Venice the Alajmo brothers have produced a documentary on the entire restoration project that we invite you to watch and to get inspired for your next trip to Venice!


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