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Venice Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations

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#31 John M

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Posted 30 October 2002 - 06:06 AM

A few disconnected thoughts on the interesting Venice/Italian food thread...

I have been to Venice twice, and ate at places suggested to me. Corte Sconta was one, which I thought was spectacularly good: the eel there was one of the best pieces of fish I've ever eaten, and everything else was pretty wonderful. Very simple: just very fresh, very nicely cooked fish. No menu, it's true, but in a good way, I think. There was another place there called Agli Alboretti, which I thought was terrific as well (near the Academia), and their cuttlefish-ink risotto which I had on two separate trips was sublime on both occasions, the kind of dish that haunts you every time you try (and fail) to reproduce it in your own kitchen. (this was recommended to me by an egullet contributor friend who might now want to weigh in with his own thoughts on Agli?) I ate some good pizza in Venice too, again at suggested places. Though I also had a pizza more or less at random. That was OK, but I'd rather go to Pizza Express...

I also found a bakery near the Rialto which made wonderful, memorable olive bread. However this brings me on to some more negative thoughts. Why is bread in Italian restaurants in Italy so awful, when Italian bread-making can be so wonderful? Restaurants serving good, carefully prepared food seem to be happy to let their customers grind away at stale, dry bread that would shame a greasy-spoon cafe.

I also agree that the very poor standard of most Italian restaurant food is a result of assuming customers' ignorance. However, I saw many signs that lots of Italians are prepared to eat crap, contrary to the myth that all Italians demand and get terrific food. One example was seeing lots of Italians in a village in Umbria eating microwaved pasta in a sealed plastic container for lunch. Also the standard of food in tapas-style bars where Italians eat seemed to be way lower than in Spain, where you seem to be able to get a delicious piece of cheese and meat almost anywhere. Although I suppose there are lies, damned lies, and then ancedotes...

There can't be anywhere where the complacency and condescension to customers tastes is worse, though, than in English Italian restaurants, some of which are scandalously bad. But things are changing, I think, and people are starting to realise how bad the bad places are, and how easy it would be to make your own food better than this. Places are closing down as a result of this. The only problem now is that complacent Italian cookery is being replaced to some extent by ultra-complacent Thai/Pan-Asian cookery.

I propose a poll on which is worse, but my vote goes to the latter. Thank God for the ever-wonderful English curry-house....


John M

#32 Robert Schonfeld

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Posted 30 October 2002 - 07:46 AM

I didn't see mention of a place called Alla Furatola, near the Accademia. We've always gone at lunchtime. Two brothers; one waits tables, the other cooks. Impeccable seafood and seafood-related pastas. Many locals.

It takes a certain amount of strategizing to eat well in Venice, and to enjoy the city free from its theme park cloak. It also takes a certain education of the eye, as well as the other senses. Worth the effort for some.
Who said "There are no three star restaurants, only three star meals"?

#33 Beachfan

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Posted 30 October 2002 - 07:51 AM

I absoluteloy loved Osteria del Fiore. Also very good was Ai Covo and Ai Gondolieri.

Fabulous Pizza at Taverna San Trovasso (near Accademia) and Trattoria Pizzeria San Toma. The latter won my individual "Best of Italy summer 99" for their gorgonzola/mozzeralla pizza from heaven (about 30 candidates from Vencie to Sicily).

#34 menton1

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Posted 04 November 2002 - 01:26 PM

Yes, we have been to Venice often and for the most part the restaurants are disappointing. Two standouts are places mostly mostly frequented by locals--

Alberto Osteria in Canareggio

Al Mascaron in Castello, but 2 mins from San Marco.

We have had wonderful meals at these 2 places more than once!!

#35 Luggage386

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Posted 12 November 2002 - 09:30 PM

[quote name='peterpumkino' date='Oct 8 2002, 03:13 AM']
Sorry, but if you ate badly in Venezia you went to the wrong restaurants, period.

I was in Venice last month and can give an unequivocal recommendation to one restaurant I don't think has been mentioned here before. It is called Ai Quattro Ferri, and its address is 2754/b Calle Lunga S. Barnaba in Dorsoduro, telephone (41) 520-6978. It's run by hip twentysomethings and is very popular with the local crowd; my fiancee and I were the only non-Italians in the place, which is a smallish and casual trattoria with old wooden tables (often shared with other diners) but otherwise stark, modern decor with up-to-the-minute art on the walls. The staff were professional without being fawning, and talked among themselves to the extent that they seemed to dominate the conversation in the entire room (not that we were complaining). The place hums with life (and satisfied diners).

The fiancee had pasta in a cream sauce with pine nuts and sundried tomatoes; I had a pasta and seafood dish. featuring prawns that were as fresh as anyone could hope for. We sat next to a nice couple from Milan; the husband complimented me on my Italian (which is serviceable enough for ordering in a restaurant, I suppose, but not much more) and we were off; he was extremely surprised to learn that we were from Texas and that I'd heard of Ai Quattro Ferri from the Internet ("Texas!" he exclaimed to the wife as we were leaving).

Believe it or not, our bill came to around $21 per person including cover and service, which for Venice is fantastic. If you go, call ahead as seating is quite limited; make a dinner reservation for 8 p.m., get to the bar next door at 7 for a drink or two, then show up between 7:30 and 8 for your table. Worked for us. Oh, it's cash only.

Ai Quattro Ferri is very close to Campo Santa Margarita, which is famous for being the most atmospheric and authentic 'real' or working-class square in Venice; there are many good bars and restaurants (such as Antico Capon) there for the exploring.

#36 becky

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Posted 13 November 2002 - 01:56 PM

The last time Iwas in Venice was a long time ago. I don't remember eating in anyplace special. I don't know any of the restaurants mentioned by all here. Can anybody recommend a restaurant that has good food but also an upscale look? Sawdust on the floor or a taverna-look would be fine for me but not appreciated by my upper-east-side matron (mother) :wub:

#37 hollywood

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Posted 13 November 2002 - 02:12 PM

The ne plus ultra of Venetian cuisine is Da Fiore (mentioned above at several points). Need to reserve in advance. Need to allow extra time to get there because it's hard to find. But worth it.
I'm hollywood and I approve this message.

#38 Jim Dixon

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Posted 15 November 2002 - 05:05 PM

Haven't been for awhile, but reports are that it's still good...

Alle Testiere (Calle del Mondo Novo 5801, tel/fax 522 7220)

more info about this and some bacari we like on my site:

venice food

And a friend is putting together some interesting tours with his partner, a Venetian native...they plan on spending a day in each sestiere. Email me for more info


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#39 ferdlisky

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Posted 07 February 2003 - 02:28 PM

I realize this is quite an old thread, but I am heading to Venice in a month or so... and I've found this conversation incredibly useful in planning the eating part of my trip. Has anybody been back recently? I'd be interested in any updates, if there are any. thanks!

#40 R.G. Diamond

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Posted 20 March 2003 - 02:09 PM

I, too, ate bad food in Venice, until I got hip to the Slow Travelers web site, and particularly, to Shannon's Venice restaurant list. She lived there, recently, for a year, so the out-of-dateness that afflicts most guide books is not an issue. (Also, she's at work on a book.)

Nothing like a community of Italiaphiles to point you to the good stuff.


#41 macrosan

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Posted 20 March 2003 - 03:11 PM

... I am heading to Venice in a month or so...

Oh ferd, please do report back in huge detail :smile: I'm going to Venice/Garda/Verona in June, and I'll need some help too :rolleyes:

#42 Gary Marshall

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Posted 21 March 2003 - 04:47 AM

... I am heading to Venice in a month or so...

Oh ferd, please do report back in huge detail :smile: I'm going to Venice/Garda/Verona in June, and I'll need some help too :rolleyes:

me too!

i'm there friday 20th, saturday 21st june, and although i've not yet spent a great deal of time researching them, this looks like the most challenging place to find restaurants.


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#43 maree

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Posted 21 March 2003 - 07:13 PM

We Too!! We'll be going the end of May and continuing on to the hills of Parma, Modena and Bologna. If there are any suggestions for places to eat (and stay), it would be really helpful to our planning.


#44 Jim Dixon

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Posted 22 March 2003 - 06:01 PM

We've booked both hotels and an apartment in Venice through Guest in Italy. I'd recommend an apartment. It gives you more room, a kitchen, and many are located in the sestiere away from San Marcos, so you get a less tourist-centric taste of the city.

My post above somewhere has a link to my site with a few places we liked. But wander the back streets and look for crowds of students or old men. We'd spot these and inevitably they'd be gathered in front of a bacaro (wine bar) serving traditional cechetti, the tapas-like small plates of fish, polenta, vegetables, etc.

My friend Robert Reynolds (former chef-owner of Le Trou in SF) is leading a one-week tour of Venice in May. His partner is Venetian and they plan to spend one day in each of the sestiere exploring the little hidden spots, local hangouts, and other food-related stuff. I'm not sure of the dates, but I do know he has some openings. If you're interested send me an email or PM and I'll put you in touch with him.

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#45 Craig Camp

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Posted 23 March 2003 - 09:10 AM

Eating in Venice can either be a frustrating or rewarding experience. Such an exotic place that draws hoards of tourists means that most restaurants are terrible – or worse. Beware of restaurants with pictures of the food out front. As eGullet members we are lucky to have access to a unique group of food critics – ourselves. This thread is meant to take advantage of that broad experience and to create an eGullet guide to help everyone

Please post your personal reviews of restaurants in Venice here. This is not meant to be a debate about individual restaurants but a compendium of dining experiences. The more detailed these descriptions are the better. If you wish to debate a particular restaurant or dish please start a new thread for that discussion.

Make the first line of the post only the name of the restaurant. Phone and fax numbers are always appreciated and be sure to include the date of your experience. Please make each restaurant an individual post and you are encouraged to update your comments on your post (with date) as you visit these restaurants again.

Venice can be a wonderful culinary visit – honest!

From Martin Rosen:
This thread would be much more useful if people would give an indication of the style/level of the restaurant. An entry that just says "I ate there. It was great" is honestly not very helpful.
From Beachfan:
I suggest we limit advice based on personal experience, not what we've heard.

Edited by Craig Camp, 25 March 2003 - 07:02 AM.

#46 Jim Dixon

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Posted 23 March 2003 - 10:51 AM

Trattoria Due Torre (Dorsoduro, 3408, tel 523 8126)

It was our last day in Venice, and we wanted to eat a big lunch to hold us for the train ride to Tuscany. We headed back to Dorsoduro and poked into a few places around the big Campo Santa Margherita, looking at menus and checking out the cicheti. When we opened the door to this unassuming trattoria, we knew we'd found the spot.

The room was packed with working men, dressed in bright orange dirty coveralls and rubber boots, all eating big bowls of pasta and slurping wine. Judith was the only women in the place and everybody stopped eating for a second to check her out (we later learned that 12-1 is traditionally the workers' lunch break and everyone else eats after 1).

There were a couple of stools at the bar, so we drank prosecco and ate the sweetest crab I've ever tasted, big boiled legs called cheli di granchio, while we waited for a table. We had plenty of time to check out the cicheti, and we ate a platter of boiled tiny shrimp and picked crab meat.

It was so good that when we got a table we ordered another, followed by penne bolognese and sardines in saor. We finished with a chunk of grana padano.

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#47 Beachfan

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Posted 23 March 2003 - 11:46 PM

Osteria del Fiore

Address   calle del Scaleter 2202/A, San Polo - 30125 Venezia
Telephone   041 721308
Fax   041 721343

Well, it's been several years so my memory has faded. But I will be greatful to Michelin for having pointed me to this place. An upscale restaurant which has held one Michelin star for several years.

I don't remember the specifics, but I love seafood, my wife is a vegetarian, we were both thrilled. And I had a Pieropan Soave La Rocca which was fabulous with the food.

Edited by Beachfan, 24 March 2003 - 01:29 AM.


#48 Beachfan

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Posted 23 March 2003 - 11:58 PM

Trattoria Pizzeria San Toma. Campo San Toma 2864A
52 38 819

Not sure if pizza is within scope but it won my individual "Best of Italy summer 99" for their gorgonzola/mozzeralla pizza from heaven (about 30 candidates from Vencie to Sicily).

Edited by Beachfan, 23 March 2003 - 11:59 PM.


#49 Beachfan

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Posted 23 March 2003 - 11:59 PM

Also excellent pizza at Taverna San Trovaso
fondamenta Pruili 1016
52 03 703
Their seafood pizza had so much sea life on it I thought Jacques Costeau was going to rise from it.

This is a very popupular local place; taverna says it all.

Edited by Beachfan, 24 March 2003 - 01:30 AM.


#50 Beachfan

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Posted 24 March 2003 - 12:03 AM

Ai Gondolieri
rio Terra San Vio 366
52 86 396

This is what we call a "white linen" restaurant (although the guide book says the linen is blue). Somewhat formal and elegant. I thought it was Venetian cuisine.

Great meal, had something good for my vegetarian wife. I'll go back and get more specifics. I had an Allegrini 93 Amarone at a very fair price (what retail was in Ca.) I had that wine 3 times in Venice and each place varied by $20 from the prior.

Edited by Beachfan, 24 March 2003 - 01:40 AM.


#51 Beachfan

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Posted 24 March 2003 - 12:11 AM

Ai Covo
campiello della Pescaria 3968
52 23 812

A well know restaurant in American circles as it's owned by an Italian chef and his Texan wife, who is your hostess. And it delivers a great combination of fresh, fresh Northern (Italian) seafood and Southern (US) hosptitality. Black pasta in cuttlefish ink was particularly memorable. Venetian cuisine, a restaurant as opposed to a trattoria.

Unfortunately, not good for vegetarians last time I was there (99). If I return again (I'll be there in Sepetember) it will be on one of my wife's food nights off.

PS This phone number, as are all of the last 4, are dated. Please let me know if you have more recent ones.

Edited by Beachfan, 24 March 2003 - 01:37 AM.


#52 wgallois

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Posted 24 March 2003 - 12:30 AM

Agli Alboretti
Accademia 884
Tel: 523 0058 Fax: 521 0158

Great idea Craig. I recommended this restaurant in an earlier Venice thread, having eaten there in 2001. Had a wonderful white truffle risotto and some good cheese. It is a member of a group of restaurants devoted to the promotion of local ingredients and recipes, but I'm afraid I can't recall the name of the group. Very good service and prices not much higher than some of the 'photos of the food outside' brigade mentioned earlier.

#53 Alex F

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Posted 24 March 2003 - 08:47 AM

Osteria del Fiore

I went there last year (2002) and it's still one of the most amazing experiences I've had ... with food!

I went there for lunch, because I couldn't get a table in the evening. We were given the table in the bay window overlooking the canal, if you're booking ask for this table specifically.

My starter was a Torta de Parmigiano with White Asparagus, which I've tried many times to make and have failed every time.

As a Prima I had the Risotto of Porcini Mushrooms and Prawns - Fantastic!

Then I had the Soft Shell Crabs - I can't describe this dish but go there and have it.

#54 coachboy

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Posted 24 March 2003 - 11:56 AM

From visits the past two summers:

Al Covo: Avoid. Full of tourists (only heard English and Japanese). Food was OK, but not worth tariff.

Da Fiore: Great food. Lovely ambiance. Terrific Service. Really EXPENSIVE, though. Entrees between $40-50.

Vino al Gigo (sp?) - lovely spot in Canareggio. Superb wine list. Good, simple seafood. For Venice, inexpensive/moderate.

Alla Testiere: Tiny, two seatings a night. Friendly, young staff. Superb seafood - among best I've had in Italy. Excellent deserts too. Interesting, well priced wine list. Pricey, about $150 for two with $20 wine.

Ponte del Diavolo - Nice restaurant on Torcello. Lovely outdoor area, full of Italian families on a Sunday afternoon. About $45pp.



#55 menton1

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Posted 24 March 2003 - 12:18 PM

Yes, unfortunately, unlike the rest of Italy, Venezia is a difficult place to find a good meal. However, these are 2 places that we stumbled on and had very good experiences:

Osteria Alberto, 5401 calle Giacinto Gallina, in Canneregio-- right over a bridge. (Addresses can be confusing in Venice) A wonderful little place with terrific food and no tourists. Off the beaten track in the "interior" Canneregio, just on the border of San Polo. Went a couple of times on different trips and it was great. Lots of appetizers to choose from and point to in the front before you sit down. (Has pasta and Secondi piatti as well)

Al Mascaron, 5525 Calle lunga Santa Maria Formosa, in Castello, but not very far from San Marco. Just far enough to attract locals-- very popular, so stop by in the afternoon and reserve for the evening. Expect to sit with other people, but this makes for fun and good conversation as well. Wonderful peasant dishes, great pasta in squid ink, a typical Venetian dish. Great atmosphere as well.

P.S. Recommend staying away from Al Covo-- mentioned in every Venice tourist guide ever printed, also heard negatives from people that have gone there-- we never did.

Also recommend staying away from a highly touted Wine Bar, Vino Vino. The food and snacks were mediocre, expensive, and the employee there even said a dish was turkey when it was actually pork!! Spent almost as much as a nice dinner elsewhere in this Wine Bar.

Edited by menton1, 24 March 2003 - 12:24 PM.

#56 JJS

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 06:24 AM

Al Covo is to be avoided. Arrogant, overpriced, and rather dull. Try Corte Sconta or Testierre instead.

#57 Paul Bell

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Posted 26 March 2003 - 08:55 AM

Alle Testiere and Da Fiori without a doubt our two favourite restaurants in Venice. da Fiori is expensive for Italy but not compared to most other countries especially for what is delivered.

Similarly I would not recommend Al Covo.

Tentatively I would suggest Il Sole sulla Vecia Cavana - Rio Tera' SS Apostoli 4624 (http://www.veciacavana.it). Nice space, friendly staff a wide ranging menu of traditional venetian dishes plus those with some more modern touches/ingredients, plus good desserts.

Plus two traditional standbys the Poste Vecchia despite looking like a tourist trap it is a really nice old restaurant that does surprisingly good black rissotto and fritto misto at a good price.


Fischeteria Toscana decent menu of venetian fish dishes, despite being in all the guide books the last couple of times we have been it has been full of Italians.


#58 R.G. Diamond

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Posted 06 April 2003 - 03:06 PM

Just got back from Venice yesterday, guys! It was a third trip, and I can finally enjoy this city properly, now that I know to stay away from San Marco (as far as food & accomodations go). I agree wholeheartedly about Alle Testiere (my favorite all-around, casual atmosphere & the best, freshest & most creative seafood), and Al Covo, which we tried the year before and got that "maybe-it-was-a-good-restaurant-once-but-certainly-not-now" vibe.

Da Fiore is too expensive, even for what you get.

Agree with earlier posts about Vini di Gigio -- good all around restaurant.

Check out "Shannon's restaurant list" on the Slow Travelers web site, which is infallable. She's currently compiling a (recently researched) book, which I suggest we all buy.


#59 wgallois

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Posted 24 June 2003 - 11:41 AM

Osteria La Zucca
San Giacomo dell'Orio 1762 Santa Croce-Venezia-Tel.041-524-1570

Super place. Originally a vegetarian restaurant, which is now a restaurant which respects vegetables and serves all sorts of meat (there was horse on the menu the day we were there). Daily changing menu with the emphasis on seasonality. We had a gorgeous tomato salad with tzatziki, pasta with gorgonzola and pine nuts (which were cooked to perfection), a zucchini and tomato flan, and a caprese salad. Everything was delicious, and all the above, with a 500ml carafe of house wine and water was 33 Euros at lunch. I think this represents very good value for Venice.

And thanks Beachfan: Pizzeria San Toma is very good, and the mozarella and gorgonzola is a real winner. Note: there are three dining options - in the square, inside, and in the courtyard garden, the first of which would seem to be the best bet.

#60 WHS

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Posted 25 July 2003 - 08:48 AM

Ai Gondolieri, next to the Guggenheim, was wonderful last September on a rainy day with the canal overflowing. The panelled room up the stairs was almost empty, had the feel of a library or ship's cabin. I remember the fried quail eggs with white truffle shavings, and the duck breast preparation was very good. Lunch for two was $183.

We stayed with a friend on the Lido--there's a good seafood restaurant over there called La Favorita. Also, the best meal we had in Venice was actually in Padua--we made a day trip there to see the Scrovegni Chapel (Giotto murals) and had lunch in a hosteria in the old part of town (name eludes me). Zucchini risotto, rabbit in balsamic vinegar, lamb shank with raisins, dessert, coffee, wine, all for $57 for two.