Venice Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations
Posted 23 August 2006 - 04:18 AM
The fish was very fresh and well prepared, and their appetizer platter of fish and shell fish was very fresh, unusual and had me craving for more. The wine was reasonable and very good and the service, was impeccable. The table linens were beautiful.
It doesn't have that clubby feel of Al Covo, but the food left me swooning.
The price is high-moderate.
Posted 31 August 2006 - 09:43 AM
Dean Gold's recommendations.
The author knows his wines, especially, and runs a very nice restaurant that models itself on the kinds of places he admires in Venice.
The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath
Posted 01 September 2006 - 07:50 AM
While searching for something completely different, I just discovered an invaluable entry in the Slow Food Travel web site that eGullet members shoud read:
Dean Gold's recommendations.
The author knows his wines, especially, and runs a very nice restaurant that models itself on the kinds of places he admires in Venice.
Thanks for the very helpful link. Although the list was last updated in august 2004, I'll be sure to give some of these places a try.
Posted 20 October 2006 - 07:46 AM
I've found Italy to be one of the worse places in the world for solo dining (no one besides tourist traps will seat you...no matter how much you're willing to spend).
I've perused the Venice thread of course...but other than the assumption (too optimistic?) that cichetti and wine bars will make my life somewhat easier...where can I actually get a good meal that will actually seat me?
I won't be driving so things within walking or mass transit distance of town centers are necessary (I'm a NY'er so I take a pretty broad view of what constitutes walking distance)...
Posted 20 October 2006 - 08:55 AM
I'm planning on Venice for two nights.
Florence for most of a day.
Bologna for the same night (I'm told the nightlife is much better..and the food as well?)
and then Verona my final evening...
Posted 20 October 2006 - 09:12 AM
Trying to do Florence and Bologna in the same day is going to be rough; those cities are very different from each other and deserve at least a day each. In my very humble opinion. Also, you can eat very, very well in both cities. Just different.
Posted 20 October 2006 - 10:52 AM
the basic problem is that in my experience Italians don't eat at the bar (cichetti is a notable exception)....and they never eat solo.
Posted 20 October 2006 - 04:27 PM
But I agree that it's one of the least-friendly countries in Europe for solo travelers. It's not that the people are unfriendly, but that dining alone (or being alone) is so unusual. My theory is that it's because Italy has such a family-centric culture-- why go out without your family?
When I travel alone, I rely on cafés and bars as places to meet people. But in Italy I'll usually be the only person there alone-- much different than in France or Spain, for example, where you have more of a chance of striking up a conversation with someone at the next table or bar stool.
Posted 21 October 2006 - 02:35 AM
In Bologna i'd recommend Caffe Golem (Piazza S. Martino, 3/b) for drinks and a bite if you get there in the afternoon and want somewhere quiet/arty/cool to plunk yourself while you formulate a plan. It was our hang when we were in Bologna a lot (should mention that this was awhile ago, 2001), great flatbreads and cheese plates.
As for Italian nightlife, good luck...I was rarely able to find anything truly fun outside of Milan that wasn't a completely homespun affair (as in private or very unadvertised), but Bologna would come in second on my Italian Nightlife list (Florence would be dead last I think, Rome better but not exactly an all-night city either). Not sure what you're into, if you end up stuck for ideas, I'd head to Cantina Bentivoglio if i felt like civilised jazz and wine or Link Associated for dubstep/dnb/grime beats, a definite alterna-vibe, and plenty of smoke until 5am weekends.
Edited by markemorse, 21 October 2006 - 06:18 AM.
Posted 21 October 2006 - 01:04 PM
"I've never had trouble being seated alone at a restaurant in Italy"
I was in Rome solo last October and couldn't get seated anywhere. Literally impossible.
Had one good meal at Trattoria Moderna (because it was 3/4ths empty)...
Posted 21 October 2006 - 01:39 PM
and then Verona my final evening...
I'll recommend the restaurant "Dodici Apostoli" (Twelve Apostles)
I've to check for the address.
Posted 21 October 2006 - 06:10 PM
Posted 23 October 2006 - 07:03 AM
Posted 23 October 2006 - 09:33 AM
Here in Washington, D.C., I am accustomed to seeing lots of solo diners in places where you can drop in on the way home from work or in between errands. I get the impression that the few lone folk in "better" establishments are from out of town and taking time away from a conference, scheduled appointments, a trial, etc. I personally do not "take myself out" to a really good meal except while traveling. In Italy, if I am spending weeks or months there at a time, the same habits apply. In my home base, I'll go out only with company at night, but dine out alone if I'm off in a different town or city for a few days.
You may be paying closer attention to Italians who dine out to celebrate, court, socialize or avoid cooking in their home towns where they know and possibly live with their dining companions. If traveling, perhaps they're there with family or expressly to see friends. If you're comparing what you're accustomed to in an American destination for business travelers to Italian towns where the business culture may not be transparent to an English-speaking visitor, then it's not an exact comparison. However, plenty of Italians travel for business or research and sometimes that means dining alone.
Unless you are fluent in Italian and have a personal connection to the country, the experience of being foreign intensifies feelings of isolation in a culture where more of life takes place in public spaces than it does back home in the United States. Think of the rituals of the evening passeggiata, for example, when the streets fill with people out on a stroll, greeting one another.
In tiny towns unaccustomed to foreign visitors, rude, menacing or mentally-challenged (in one case) provincial men might ask me where my husband is, but in the streets, never in restaurants. I might be exceptional or even unique as a solo diner, but as Hathor said, this is sometimes an advantage and diners at other tables or restauranteurs would often be solicitous and friendly if they sense you're in the mood for more than your book. I have eaten amazing things not on the menu in Parma, for example, because I was having a fabulous time and the locals were proud and took care of me.
As someone who lives in a tourist town myself, I understand that natives get weary of outsiders. Many Italians don't appreciate reminders of what happened in my city during two recent Januarys, four years apart. I would suspect these factors would compromise your dining experience in Italy more than any refusal to seat you since a larger party at the table would be more profitable for the establishment.
The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath
Posted 23 October 2006 - 11:10 AM
I don't think being American is the issue. I grew up in Europe (albeit as an expat) and my Italian, though thickly accented, isn't clearly American. And my attire isn't at all American.
It is true that there is a custom of solo dining in NY (even at the most expensive restaurants) that colors things....one will choose to eat solo at even the top end in NY simply because one may not know many people willing to dine at that price point and because although one can afford to pay for oneself, paying for a date as well is too dear.
But I haven't had a problem being seated elsewhere in Europe. I've only traveled solo in Italy once...and that was in Rome last year...where it was literally impossible to be seated. These were restaurants that were a. clearly comfortable with having foreign guests; and b. not full.
So, I made a general surmise that Italian restauranteurs are uncomfortable with somewhat young (I'm 31), solo foreign diners who are apparently not business travelers....I think it seems "off" to them.
(The NY custom of eating solo (or with a friend) at the bar stands out even in the rest of the U.S. More than once I've been amused to walk into Frontera Grill in Chicago on a weekend night...ascertain that there is a two hour wait for a table and then simply eat at the bar immediately....)
Edited by Nathan, 23 October 2006 - 11:12 AM.
Posted 24 October 2006 - 01:48 AM
In Verona may I suggest Il Desco; one of the best meals I've ever had and they were very good to me as a lone diner (lots of extra stuff and comp'd me my wine so I could taste several bottles, etc).
Lovely place, wonderful food.
Posted 25 October 2006 - 05:37 PM
the good news is that I will have a traveling companion....
the bad news is that I will only be in Verona on Sunday, when both Il Desco and Dodici Apostoli are closed.
btw, considering that it's the offseason...how likely is it that I will need to make reservations at Alle Testiere and the like? I don't have the capability to make international phone calls so it appears difficult to do from here...
think I can wait to ask the hotel concierge?
Posted 09 February 2007 - 10:13 AM
I ate in a couple of places: da Fiore & Met – one was stunning, the other not
da Fiore – salad of thinly sliced baby artichokes with orange & truffled cheese. Hard to eat more that a couple of mouthfuls – my tongue was so bored it almost fell asleep. Followed by shrimp & pasta slightly wider than linguine which was baked – frankly – “tuna” bake by another name. Main was monkfish wrapped in parma & leek served with potatoes which had the core removed & filled with breadcrumbs (so something like that). Fine – but no better than fine. I guess someone loves this place – but not me.
The Met (in the Metropolitan Hotel) was an entirely different affair. The menu was modern & progressive and came in a dizzying array of sizes – ALC & a couple of different tasting menus. I went for the surprise menu – nothing listed or even hinted at.
First – small cup of deer consommé – lovely deep flavour & superb length – minor quibble was that it tasted a little “fatty”
Onslaught of breads – large tray all to myself – very dangerous – god know how I resisted.
Martini glass will bottom 1/3rd filled with cocktail Rossini & the rest foam of prosecco – hidden inside was a large plump oyster. Simply wonderful – great combinations of sour & bitter & salt with occasional splash of sweetness.
Small glass with four layers – bottom was lemony-grapefruit-type jelly; yogurt; large amount of prawns sous vide so thus appearing raw and avocado foam atop. Prawn cocktail-ish with a modern and welcome twist.
Disk of cuttle fish ink jelly with some fried cuttle fish with raisin ice cream and some of the tiniest fried griolles I;ve ever seen – a definite wow. Visually stunning.
Puree of red pear (or pear poached & pureed with red wine or port?) with “raw” meringue disk and foie gras ice cream. Very unusual – loved the FG but not sure about the meringue.
Red mullet sandwich – couple of small pieces of mullet with some roast tomato flesh as the filling. Coconut & lemon grass foam/soup poured over. Some mint oil drops here there. Utterly delicious although mint was lost
Two soups served in two spoons – one was wrapped in a skin & burst in your mouth at the slightest pressure. I have no idea what the other was but I’d like another
The next dish defies description – but it have purees, dill & rosemary and small fan like structures made out of puffed rice. Again, delicious.
Mini-hamburger – tiny bap filled with venison burger on a bed of pesto & tomato. The only dish I really didn’t like.
Basil & apply sorbet-come-smoothy served with a straw and stack of tiny fillet beef with langoustine sous vide style. Came with some dill which over powered the dish.
Terrine of eel served with caramelised banana (joke of eel shape) – sauce was puree of hare. Very strong earthy flavours.
Artichoke mouse with almonds – I have no memory of this but its it my notes so I must have eaten something
Cuttlefish carbonara but without pasta – definitely a star dish – the fish was cut to look like pasta with dice of ham folded in & the sauces of cream and of egg dabbed here & there. A winner if ever there was one.
A few sliced of tuna very lightly seared with some strawberries on a bed of onion & strawberry marmalade. Raw pistachios added colour but were lost within the other strong & surprising harmonious dish.
Pigeon breast stuffed with salmon mouse on what looked like a a savoury bread & butter pudding. It came with a coffee sauce which was wrong in almost every way – for a start – it still had grinds in it. The salmon mouse added nothing
Martini glass with espresso – it came with curry ice cream which sat on an inverted spun sugar hemisphere which nested in the glass. The melting ice cream sweetened the coffee as did the spun sugar bits when they broke. Fun of a little confusing taste wise
Last was a crème brulee infused with tobacco with little gin jelly pieces and many other things all mixed in. Not to my taste at all.
I saw the petit fours on another table and had to plead with them to not brine me any.
There were a couple of other courses but I can’t read my notes.
Overall – what a stunning meal – a few off moment here & there but this is well worth seeking out. Give yourself 4 hours – sit back & watch the culinary fireworks.
Edited by tony h, 09 February 2007 - 12:06 PM.
Posted 14 March 2007 - 04:56 AM
Trattoria Antiche Carampane, Filli Bortoluzzi, San Polo 1911, Venice (VE), 5240165, closed Sundays (all day now) and Mondays, that’s an impossible to find, but wonderful to find, place, (Schneier gives directions above); we found it quite a bit more expensive than two and four years ago, but well worth it. It’s still advertising itself outside as “No pizza, no tourist lunch, no English spoken.” But they are so warm inside: giving you updated info on Venetian specialties fresh from the market; we had their tiny soft-shelled crabs which were divine (and we’re originally from Baltimore), the raw seafood (including a langoustine and salmon laid atop slices of orange) that we’ve had every two years and is just sushi-perfect, scallops three ways (Colette says next time skip), pasta with zotoi (tiny calamari-type things – the Venetian slang word for bad adolescent boys with their shirts out), orata with basil and baby tomatoes and very fine bread. All of which, with wine etc., turned out to be the priciest meal of the month at 136.50 €.
Trattoria alla Madonna, Calle della Madonna 594, San Polo, Venice (VE) (also right near the Rialto) in Venice (VE), 04 15 22 38 24, closed Wednesdays, was the ideal place to go after our favorite Sunday lunch place, Anice Stellato, announced it was fully booked. It has a smiley Bib face and one fork and knife in the Michelin and was packed with locals by 12:45. It’s a bit like a Paris brasserie on a Sunday; full of multi-generational families, hustling-bustling waiters and tons of good grub. I started with the pasta with black ink and squid which was great and Colette had an equally tasty Venetian fish soup. Then I had a wonderful lukewarm whole artichoke with a long stem and a slice of big artichoke heart (both had been immersed in olive oil). We topped it off with a piece of almond cake. With the house red that was eminently drinkable, our bill came to 56.50 €.
The Osteria a Mariano, via Spalti 49, Mestre (VE), 041.615765 is a trifecta in the Osteria d’Italia Guide, i.e., a snail, wine bottle and cheese slice. And indeed, it was a “slow food” delight; not a lotta English but lotsa local and good food. We started with the Cabernet Franc, then had a starter of swordfish made, without garlic, like a raw codfish ball along with raddichio marinated with/in balsamic. Then on to a platter of fresh veggies (tiny baby artichokes, spinach, ground cream of wheat type corn and more raddichio) with a stewed codfish delight that was more like haddock to me and a final dish of sardines cooked in white wine with a covering of onions and currents. Then we had a bit of grappa along with a pastiera with flecks of orange. This place is way out of the way, but worth the detour for 80 €. The host was especially friendly and although he spoke no English, we conferred a bit in French. His son speaks a little English so we were able to communicate pretty well and the host even engaged several other guests while we were ordering (before we knew he spoke French) to help us understand the menu.
Moro, via Piave, 192, 0419.26456 in Mestre (VE) was one of the three places in Mestre we tried from among the five listed in what I now call the “Slow Food Guide to Paradise” (Venice has three – so there!). We started with reasonably sized & well prepared green salads of raddichio, endive and arugula; then I had fegato, Venetian style (with onions, not over-cooked, as requested), while Colette had an assortment of 10 cheeses (good, but overpriced at 12 €); for dessert we shared the apple/pear cake that was very good, accompanied as it was by a crème anglaise. The bill = 55 €.
Dall’Amelia, via Miranese 113, 041 91 39 55 in Mestre (VE) was our last (Sunday) night’s meal in Italy. We finally learned how to parse our courses. First we shared grilled veggies; raddichio, tomatoes, eggplant; then grilled fish and crustaceans; swordfish, sole, monkfish, eel, daurade, shrimp, squid; we ended with a selection of cheeses; very “so-so” by Colette; quite OK by me - parmesan, asiago and gorgonzola. The wine was superb: a great Cabernet Franc. The bill was 59.80 €.
blog John Talbott's Paris
Posted 22 March 2007 - 03:37 AM
Osteria Vini Padovani is at Calle dei Cercheri, 1280 (another worthless address). Walking from Accademia toward Campo Sant Margherita cross the little bridge on your right before you cross the bridge to Campo San Barnaba. Take the left and follow it to the right a few feet. There is no sign, just a little light over the door.
The place seats about twenty. There is a bar, from which eminates everything. This is a lunch place, although you can get cichetti and drinks until about seven PM. Most food is in front of you under glass (sort of like Vino Vino) and is, if warmed, microwaved. If you order pasta it will come from the lady across the street.
I guarantee no tourists here.
Went here during Carnivale 2007, the pastas were good but the secondi were decent at best. actually, the one I had was quite terrible, my wife had a chicken dish that was pretty good. friendly service but for the price and quality, we won't be going back.
Posted 22 March 2007 - 03:45 AM
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)
Finally, after seven months, my wife and I had our first moment of bliss in an Italian restaurant. Osteria da Alberto was fantastic, the service was good, the food was excellent, the prices were on point as well. The tiramisu made me want to cry and it made me ashamed of what I've been making and calling "tiramisu" all of these years. 1 Antipasto + 2 Primi + 2 Secondi + 1/2 liter vino + 1 liter water + 2 cafe + 2 desserts = 70 euro! I would have gladly paid more, almost everything was outstanding, one pasta dish was just kind of ok, nothing great but I'll let it slide.
Posted 29 April 2007 - 01:34 PM
A great recommendation - thanks.
But whatever you do, don't stay at the Hotel Bonvecchiati - supposedly four star and the worst hotel we have ever stayed in - to be avoided at all costs.
Posted 10 September 2007 - 06:47 PM
I'm wondering if there are any current updates to the list of places on this thread. Probably we don't want to do a lot of late-night walking with my mother so some place within easy range of a vaporetto stop would be good. Here's what sounds yummy to me:
Alberto (more of a walk it looks like..)
Alle Zucca (The veggies sound fabulous)
Vini de Gigio (not too far from Ca d'Oro stop, but kinda long ride after dinner)
Alla Madonna (not a bad walk from San Silvestro?)
Alle Testiere (also not close to the Canal)
Let me know if I'm off about price on any of these or if any cost substantially more than the others. And what about reservations? How far ahead do I need to call? We would most likely want an earlier seating. Which are open/fun for lunch? Personally I'm very happy with a splurge lunch and a minimal dinner. If Testiere is open for lunch that might be easier to negotiate.
My one guide book suggests a few places near our hotel: a restaurant/pizza place called Da Gianni, and two restaurants called La Bitta and Al Quattro Ferri. Ring any bells?
Just curious: how does the pizza compare at Ae Oche (two of them?) vs San Toma? Are they equally fun? Are any of them a bit more relaxed?
Thanks for any help!
Posted 10 September 2007 - 10:06 PM
Vini da Gigio
Testiere (Everyone seems to love it)
Alla Madonna (that looks moderately convenient)
These are close to our hotel but are less-reviewed here:
Avogaria, Ai Quattro Ferri. Anyone love them?
What about pizza? Il Refolo sounds heartbreakingly good, but is closed in October. Others mention Da Gianni (close to the hotel) Ae Oche (2 of them) and San Toma.
Bar food? Cantina del Vino Gia Schiava is close as well. Anyone know that one? I saw a recommendation for Al Prosecco--also somewhat of a trek for her (she loves prosecco!) At least a couple of nights I think we will all be happy to have a drink and cicheti and call it dinner. Personally I am hankering for mostarda....any ideas?
Thanks so much in advance. P>S> I was naughty and posted a version of this on a thread that I should not have. Sorry for the duplication.
Posted 11 September 2007 - 12:12 AM
Don't know if you read my Eating the Boot thread (can't blame you if you found it too long! ), but La Zucca was a nice spot for lunch (and it's close to a vaporetto stop). Vini da Gigio would be nice, too (not too far from Ca' d'Oro stop).
Posted 11 September 2007 - 08:19 AM
Posted 15 October 2007 - 11:01 AM
Ponte Beretteri, San Marco 578
No mention of this on the thread, and we wouldn't have gone there if we had not been invited out by an acquaintance who spent her childhood in Venice and who is a friend of the owners. No way to know if they pulled out the stops for us as a result, but our lunch was very good. Our friend claimed that it's a favorite of gondoliers, who supposedly eat in the back room that looks out over the canal, but I didn't see any working folk in the restaurant, nor were we invited to sit in the room with the view. Sempione started my week-long love affair with the Venetian specialty Sarde en Saor--sardines that have been cooked then marinated for three days with pickled onions and typically served as an antipasto. If you hate pickled herring you probably will not like it. Anyway, their version was delicious--clean and simple, the sardines were firm and the onions crunchy and refreshing. Our hosts and my husband had the polpe (octopus) salad, which was tender and sweet and lovely. My mother and my husband split a vegetable risotto which had great flavor but we thought the rice a little too al dente. My nephew had the branzino, and I thought it was very nice and tasted super fresh, but my two experiences with branzino lead me to believe it's a very bland fish, so if that's not what you are expecting you might be disappointed. I had grilled eel, which was straight-ahead but not fabulous, and not as tender as the freshly caught eel I had from the northern CA coast. Our host had the pasta in house sauce (seafood) and reported it excellent. No one had dessert. The espresso was one of the best we had all week. i didn't pay attention to the prices, but I am guessing gondoliers, unless they are very well paid, don't eat there regularly.
Posted 15 October 2007 - 11:20 AM
(address etc upthread)
My mother had to beg for a reservation and that was three weeks ahead! We managed to secure a 9:15, but had to wait almost a half hour outside before they could seat us. Meanwhile self satisfied (and all English speaking) patrons were leaving and none failed to reassure us it's worth the wait.
It was, in fact delicious. After reading the above testimonials I was thrilled to find they were serving those little crabs. They were serving them "en saor" (just my luck!) and they were kind of amazing. Only four though, just enough to make me wish I had about thirty more. I had a simple spaghetti with vongole for my entree, having decided that it's a dish that sounds easier to perfect than it is. Usually it's too salty or the clams aren't sweet enough. Anyway it was great. My husband hit the jackpot. For an antipasto he had mussels steamed in a very subtle ginger sauce. They were by far the most tender, delicious mussels I have ever eaten. Then he had prawns in some kind of cinnamon sauce, also very subtle but exotic and out of this world.
I'm not much of a dessert person, but we ordered tiramisu and it was the best I've ever tasted--just fabulous. 230 Euros for the three of us.
Posted 15 October 2007 - 11:43 AM
2741a Calle dei Saoneri
We happened on this little place by accident. We started our day at the mind-blowing fish market (where I got to see those baby crabs live and kicking) and were on our way to the Frari. My mother gets hungry on the early side and as we crossed over the Rio San Polo bridge she declared she needed to eat and there was this Osteria, only one table free. Many of the tables are common family style tables. There were no women inside, and all the men were clearly local working people. By one o'clock the working men were gone and a variety of people started filling tables, most speaking Italian. My mother had spaghetti with clams, which she found very nice, and I had a delicious steamed combo of mussels and clams with a nice broth (not too salty!) My husband had squid w/ink pasta, which was very good, with lots of tender squid, and we shared a vegetable-of-the-day, which was plain pristine spinach, served as usual with cruets of oil and vinegar on the side. They talked my husband into ordering the house tart, made on the premises. It was good, not fantastic. The price was right, food very good, atmosphere great.