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Vicenza’s Biasio Central not only pleasant, it’s open as long as the law allows

If asked if you want parmesan on your gnocchi with veal ragu and black truffle at Biasio Centro in downtown Vicenza, Italy, always say yes.

NANCY MONTGOMERY/STARS AND STRIP

By NANCY MONTGOMERY | Stars and Stripes | Published: November 19, 2020

Dinner is impossible, lunch is hard to find and takeout is supreme at Italy’s restaurants, all a result of the second coronavirus wave’s effect on dining culture.

Restaurants must close at 6 p.m., but Italians typically don’t eat dinner until 8 p.m. Many eateries are either closing after lunch, at about 3 p.m., or not opening at all.

So it was nice to see that Biasio Centro, a longtime restaurant and bar in a prime spot in downtown Vicenza, was in mid-November still offering a diverse menu and multicourse lunch, while serving through the early evening.

Add in the outdoor seating, and the experience was just about worry-free.

Biasio Centro features traditional northern Italian dishes: various pastas, with clams or duck or veal ragu; carpaccios of meat and fish; lasagna; and of course, Baccala alla Vicentina, the dried cod dish named for the city.

The menu is grouped somewhat arbitrarily into starters, firsts and seconds. There’s also a size option with a price difference of two or three euros. I ordered the small sizes and they were for the most part more than enough. I brought most of my first and second courses home.

I started with the stewed cuttlefish on a bed of polenta. The marine molluscs were salty like the sea and nicely chewy. The polenta was a creamy porridge. This is Italian comfort food.

I chose gnocchi with veal ragu and black truffles for a first course. It was also quite comforting and delicious — although the truffles, unfortunately, were a minor note.

Grilled octopus — or as my very nice, masked waiter called it, “octopussy” — was one of the day’s fish offerings. For 20 euros I did not at all expect it to arrive in tiny pieces atop circles of whipped potatoes. It wasn’t a good value but it tasted great.

Sitting in the sunshine for more than an hour, with other diners seated a few feet away, I also enjoyed a glass of Lugana, a crisp white regional wine. It seemed in keeping with a long, traditional Italian lunch.

montgomery.nancy@stripes.com
Twitter:@montgomerynance

Address: Piazza delle Biade 6, 36100 Vicenza, Italy

Phone: +39 0444 321061

English menu: Yes

Price: Moderate to expensive

Hours: Pandemic hours 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Monday.

Information: Online: biasiocentro.it/it

Pieces of grilled octopus on whipped potatoes wasn't what I expected when I ordered the fish of the day at Biasio Centro in downtown Vicenza, Italy. Still, it was nothing to complain about.
NANCY MONTGOMERY/STARS AND STRIP