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Venice Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


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Coming Saturday I will go to Padova and Venice, Saturday spending in Padova (having dinner at Le Calandre at Rubano).

I am still looking for a restaurant that is open for lunch at Saturdays in Padova.

As perhaps can be understood from my choice for Le Calandre, I am very fond of modern, creative cuisine. (In one of my old Italy guides of Michelin, there was Casa Vecia* in Monterosso, but it doesn't seem to exist any more.)

Is there any one who can help me with suggestions (even if the restaurant is only a cab drive far from Padova center) ?

Sunday I will spend in Venice. I saw the thread on Venice. There was no mention of the only bib gourmand, Anice Stellato - can any one comment on that seafood family restaurant? If any one can recommend another Venetian restaurant, I would be very greatful.

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Trattoria Laguna was called to my attention by Joe H. It was highly praised by RWApple of the New York Times last April.

.Neither Joe nor I have been there yet, but I am going in May.

It is located in Cavolino on the Cavolino peninsula in the Venice Lagoon. It is reachable by vaporetto.The Lido vaporetto stops there after leaving the Lido. You are met by a waiting bus.The food is seafood-only. Its open on Sundays.

It sounds like a great lunch outing, although we plan on going there for dinner.

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Trattoria Laguna is indeed intriguing. The Apple discussion raved about it, a very real discovery worth going out of the way for.

If you have not been to Calandre before seriously consider his E 150 tasting menu which runs about 12 or so courses. Also, across the street is a shop where he sells many of the raw foods as well as Murano glass, etc. that are used in the restaurant.

Last December his dessert which was part of the prx fixe ran about seven or eight courses itself. It was remarkable perhaps as impressive a presentation as any I have had.

By the way, we'll be there in the next few days also. An annual December pilgramage.

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We went last night. This was our fourth visit over the past five or so years. To the best of my knowledge I am the first person to mention this restaurant on any message board with the first mention three years ago when I posted on Chowhound and he, then, had two stars. It has been interesting since we've had a chance to watch him evolve.

My wife and I saw you and your friend at the rear table but we did not want to interfere with the mood of the evening. We were the first to arrive just as they opened at 8:00. I am not going to note any details of the dinner since I know that you took notes while I did not. We had his "classic" tasting menu which I believe is the same that you did. We also shared a '99 Giramonte and a '98 Zenato Amarone. In general, to summarize my opinions, I thought the meal was superb although there were several dishes on our visit last December that I missed and wished had been included. For myself the single best dish was what I would loosely call his spaghetti carbonara but I'll let you explain this. I also thought there were three of what I call a "Great" dish, meaning that it is extraordinary and among the best of its kind anywhere.

I should also confess that I love this restaurant and regard it as not only the best in Italy but also one of the best in Europe. So, an apology for my bias. In part this is because I've been able to watch him grow. Four or five years ago not all of his combinations worked (last night we thought a couple didn't either). But the misses now are minimal and the successes are extraordinary.

Anyway, I'm saying too much and want to leave the rest for you. Take care.

Joe Heflin

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Nice to hear that you enjoyed the meal again. I share some of your conclusions, but I am not, unfortuantely, able to compare with his former years, since this was the first time I was here.

Anayway, wat a coincidence. Indeed: the meal was interesting! We had on the other hand not the classic menu, but the more 'creative' one (Adesso). There were several interesting dishes; the wines were really perfectly chosen by tyhe maître d'. Service was very good, and the chef, with whom we talked for a very long time afterwards, was very nice and interesting to talk to.

Probably I will post later on the meal.

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  • 2 weeks later...

MURO vino e cucina

Tel 041-5237495

Location – from the Rialto Bridge go North West along the main street, past the two/three market stalls on the right hand side, and beyond the uniformed flunkies standing on the right outside some Government Justice offices. At the first alley to the right (effectively the southern edge of the block of butchers & provisions shops just before the main markets) Muro is located about 50 yards closer to the canal, on the left. There will be a small crowd of people standing outside, using the bar. Recommended recently by one of our Sunday papers, we asked our hotel reception for directions. He told us this was the 2nd Muro, and that it had the better food.

Consisting of a busy bar downstairs, and a small, ‘industrial’ style restaurant upstairs (20 covers). Unfortunately the restaurant was not that busy (7 others besides us). Interesting breads, refilled 3 times during the evening – olive rolls, rustic rolls, and short, fat bread sticks that managed to be both dry & crispy to eat yet were able to taste olive-oily when eaten. The menu for the day – Saturday 18 December 2004 – is listed in full here, with spellings and style as on the menu (prices in Euros):-

Crab’s tartare with avocado and salad – Euros 16

Rice leaves rolls with thistle, young artichokes, beef filet and confit of tomatoes – Euros 17

Chestnut soup with reindeer’s carpaccio – Euros 12

Tagliatelle pasta with shrimps, sardine, sultanas and saffron – E..15

Beans soup with beef bites and smoked ricotta – E..15

Tagilatelle with fresh white truffles (a gram last minute price) – base E..7

Sweet & sour trout with vegetable’s julienne and potatoes – E..22

Loin of deer with polenta, mushroom taste and dried fruit sauce and onion boiled in valpolicella – E..29

From the barbecue

Fresh fish from the market with potatoes & herb sauce – E..20

Fiorentina steak – hg E..6

Fillet steak – E..23

Duck breast – E..20

Argentinian Angus huft steak – E..20

Bison rib-eye – E..25

Spare-ribs marinated – E..25

The meat is served with a salad bouquet and roast potatoes

Deserts & cheeses

A selection of cheeses served with honey & home made marmalade – E..14

Home made chocolate cake – E..8

Marinated pears in vin brulee and cinnamon sauce – E..8

We prepared our specialities with fresh and selected ingredients from the Rialto market and we prefer to follow the season. Pasta and deserts are all home made. Cover charge and water are included.

My wife forwent a starter to leave room for a pud. I had the Tagliatelle with shrimps etc. A bowl of delicious pasta filled with sweet, small brown shrimps, pieces of sardine, and halved cherry tomatoes arrived. The highlight, beside the obvious freshness of the ingredients and the cooking, was the hit of saffron – clearly used as a very distinct flavouring rather than just a light colouring. The chef said I should eat the whole of the shrimp, but I couldn’t bring myself to eat the crunchy heads.

Next for me – Loin of deer…., This consisted of a serving of polenta, onto which was the porchini and fruit sauce, topped with fillet of venison cut into 3 pieces. Alongside were 3 shallots, which had been reduced down in the wine, and then the sauce trailed along the plate. To say the venison had just been shown the heat would almost be an exaggeration – it reminded me of the fashionable & correct way to BBQ tuna, that is a thin layer of sealing with the internal flesh essentially untouched. To eat this I was given a knife so substantial I’m surprised I didn’t need a licence to use it! It was hardly needed. To say that the meat was tender would be an understatement. A delightful eat.

My wife had ‘Fish of the day’ which was today a fat, juicy Sea Bream. BBQed to perfection, the skin black, crispy and delicious, whilst the flesh was moist. Served simply with some skin-on roast potatoes.

For pud I went for the Marinated pears… A red-wine cooked half pear, with a glass of cinnamon flavoured, fairly solid creamy mixture – hard to relate it to something more well known – and a light almond flavoured sauce. Again, delicious. My wife had the cheeses, which came as a plate of 5 portions – Stilton, Brie and 3 Italian, the names of which we didn’t catch. These were accompanied with two marmalades - one of white tomatoes, and the other we couldn’t deduce – and more of the breads.

A small wine selection – about 25 bottles each of reds and whites, almost solely Italian – with half a dozen of each available by the glass. Bottle prices were Euros 15 to Euros 30, whilst those by the glass were E..2.50 to E..3.50. Water – still or sparkling – came complimentary. We also had a free glass of grappa to finish – don’t know whether this is usual or a Xmas treat.

This is only our 2nd time in Venice and I cannot draw comparisons with other places there. I can only compare with the range of fine restaurants we have in our vicinity in South Devon, England. Muro stands comparison with any of them. We regarded this as a real find, a meal we would happily repeat. Well worth looking out.

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  • 4 weeks later...

If everything comes together for our prospective trip to Padova this spring we will also get to spend a little time in Venice.

Now I adore Venice, but I have a little problem eating there - I'm violently allergic to all seafood & pretty darned allergic to all fish. :shock:

Given that fish is what Venetian cuisine is all about, you can immagine the dificulties. Our last visit, we went to one highly reccomended place & my friends still rave about the most wonderful fritto misto they'd ever had (at Brodo di Giugglio?) and I got plain spagghetti with literally just a can of crushed tomatos dumped on it, and surly attitude from the waiter to boot, because there was literally not one thing on the menu that didn't include fishies.

I have read the various threads here on venice extensively, and almost everything raved about that falls in my price range is naturally enough fish heavy. So beyond pizza & gelato (& apparently la Zucca, which sounds wonderful) where would be some nice, but budget conscious trattorie/osterie etc, that I could actually enjoy?

Thanks for any help, I know this is a challenge, but I have a lot of faith in the egullet gang!

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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I'm in the same boat and am interested in whatever responses you receive. My spouse is allergic to all scaled fish; shell fish are OK. We are flying to Venice in less than 2 months, and it will be his first visit there. I've told him that pizza, some of the pastas, and panini will be his best bet.

My last trip, I had a yummy albeit very rich pasta (bacon, cream, asparagus) at Hosteria Al Vecio Bragosso in Cannareggio; they also have a wonderful sgroppino here. Fegato a la veneziana is a "only in Venice" entree that I had at another restaurant on Calle dei Fabbri.

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Expense-wise, Venice is fairly pricey in comparison to the rest of Italy. There are some restaurants that serve meat; in fact there was one near Piazza San Marco that had a very interesting looking menu posted out front and it was mostly grilled meat items. I'll check my notes for the name but I don't think I have the address.

One route for both seafood-free and less expensive eating is to look for "cicchetti"--snacks that are like tapas, in any number of bars throughout town. They have them on display so you can see what you're getting, and there are many non-fish items: sandwiches, wedges of frittata, pickled vegetables, etc. As is usual in eating out in Italy, you pay more if you get a table, so eat them standing up. Eat a few and then move on to the next place that looks interesting for a fun little evening on the town.

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I think this thread, by noted food critic Tommy, may have some useful information on Venice. I confess that I was too lazy (ok, hungover) to read through the whole thing but I went through it when it was originally posted and recall it as being brilliant and insightful, more or less.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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One route for both seafood-free and less expensive eating is to look for "cicchetti"--snacks that are like tapas, in any number of bars throughout town.  They have them on display so you can see what you're getting, and there are many non-fish items: sandwiches, wedges of frittata, pickled vegetables, etc. 

This was good both as a social event and a way to eat very inexpensively. I was able to get into the bar and stand and eat, where I couldn't get a table too. Ridiculously inexpensive.

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I plan to make Bill (long suffering husband) order the fegato so I can taste it - I'm not a big liver fan in general, though I certainly make exceptions for pate's and of course fois gras, which is clearly not liver, but manna from heaven :wub: so I have to at least give the Venetian rendition a chance.

I adore tapas type snacky bits, so I'm looking forward to trying cicchetti now that the new anti-smoking laws give me a better chance at them (on my last trips the few cichetti bars that I looked at were too smoky for Bill who's seriously allergic) but honestly after a long day of walking my feet to bloody stumps around Venice's back streets, I do like me a chair sometimes :laugh: so at least one or two actual sit down meals will be in order as well.

I bought our plane tix yesterday! It will be so great to be back in Italy, and to explore a new part of it (We've never visited the veneto,only Venezia)

Thanks for the various suggestions. Must head off to class so my prof can torture me with obscure italian verb forms...

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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Hi Eden,

A really great, unusual thing to do when you're in Venice is to head out to the agricultural island of Sant' Erasmo, a good hour's boat trip, or maybe even longer, way out in the far reaches of the Venetian lagoon. (You can catch the boat from Fondamenta Nova.) This is the rich agricultural island where much of the fresh vegetables labeled 'nostrale' or 'nostrano' that you see in the markets come from: radicchio, tiny artichokes, peas, asparagus, lettuce and more, all in season of course. In truth it's a quiet, remote, peaceful place, far from the madding crowd, all the better for it if you feel the need to get away for an afternoon to experience the peace and beauty of the lagoon itself.

The real bonus is that there is a simple farmhouse restaurant on the island - well, actually quite big now, and able even to cater for largish groups, but no worse for that. In good weather you eat outside; in winter, I would hope there would be a wood fire indoors. The place is called Ca' Vignotto and used to be run as an agriturismo though it may have now outgrown the restrictions placed on such establishments. Come out here to experience another island; and to feast on ample and simple country foods, the homegrown vegetables of course, homemade soppressa and other salumi, pasta such as wholewheat bigoli, followed by secondi of grilled meats, maybe a spezzatino, most likely polenta, perhaps a homemade tart to finish. Nothing at all noteworthy or fancy; everything all honest and homecooked, the unchanging diet of the Veneto. As a not inconsiderable bonus, the house vino sfuso, I recall, was actually quite passable (sometimes wines in such places, often homemade, can be unspeakably bad).

Mind, don't come out all this way without booking. It's quite a boat journey. So ring in advance and make sure it is still here. I'd be very disappointed if it wasn't.

Ca' Vignotto

Via Ca' Vignotto (from the ferry stop, you walk straight up the only road there is!)

Loc. Chiesa

30401 Sant' Erasmo

tel 041/5285329

Incidentally, by chance I found myself in Venice only yesterday afternoon. I was flying back to Bristol from Venice having been in Le Marche for several days (more on that later) and fortuitously found myself with a few free hours. So I checked my bags and simply took the Linea 1 vaporetto from the Ferrovia to San Marco, then wandered back passing old favourite haunts through Dorsodoro, Rialto and finally Cannareggio, stopping here for a panino and a tumbler of vino rosso, there for an exquisite caffè. Venice was quiet, as if slowly building up to Carnevale; it was cold and bright, the air pale as it is at this time of year and stingingly cold to breathe so that it hurt your lungs: wonderful. Venice in the winter - even for just a few hours - is good for the soul.


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Grazie Marc & Kevin

WHEN will I learn not to reag egullet on an emptly stomach. those descriptions of the food at Ca Vignotto are making me ravenous!

With a bit of poking on the web I confirmed that Ca Vignotto is still open (or at least some students from Padova have an event planned there later this year) and I also found a german website that talks about the restaurant and has a lovely photo along with a few of their recipes.


I also found DaBruno, with plenty of fish-free options http://www.dabrunovenezia.it

I'm so looking forward to this trip, but for now I must go hunt down breakfast before I start chewing on the keyboard :biggrin:

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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I guess I should have remembered this days ago, but l"Incontro is a restaurant at the edge of Campo Santa Margherita in Dorsoduro. The chef is Sardinian and, to the best of my recollection, there is no fish or seafood on the menu. A rarity in Venice.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am a little late here, but you should definitely try La Zucca. Fantastic pastas, meat dishes, and lots of rich vegetable dishes - no seafood. It is not the insane deal it used to be, but it is still very reasonable. Don't go there without a reservation.

La Zucca

Ponte del Megio 1762 Santa Croce

(near Campo San Giacomo dell' Orio)


You'll do very nicely elsewhere, just don't go to seafood shrines like Corte Sconta or Alle Testiere.

When are you going? They have a chicken curry dish at Il Refolo, plus awesome pizza, but they are only open April - October. Il Refolo is behind San Giacomo dell' Orio church.

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  • 1 month later...
Trattoria Antiche Carampane

Filli Bortoluzzi


There's a sign outside this restaurant: "No Lasagne.  No Pizza.  No Menu Turistico."  For that alone we had to eat there.

Not that it was easy to find.  It's on a street that doesn't appear on any of our maps, near streets that also doesn't appear on any of our maps.  We followed a convoluted trail to get there.

It gets worse.  There's no menu.  Your waiter will tell you what food they have that night.  And there's no English; your waiter will tell you in Italian.

If you can handle all of that--if you are good at following a treasure map, if you have an Italian speaker in your party, and if you're willing to put yourself in the restaurant's hands--you're in for an excellent meal.

To add my two cents to the Venice Forum, I’ll second the excellence and breadth of Carampane, where we’ve been twice in as many years. And, if you plot the route on the map, it’s findable, the fare is well-explained (in English and French) verbally and it is well worth the effort. I might add that we also liked the Michelin Bib Gourmand - Anice Stellato, Fondamento della Sensa, 3272, in Cannaregio, 720744

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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The one restaurant that we return to frequently is Locanda Montin in Dorsoduro. It is not fancy but not plain, and the food and service are quite good. If you are there during the months the Garden is open, it is a wonderful experience. To eat there, towards the end of lunch service, has that slow, calming effect that only Venice can offer. Eating in the interior dining areas is just as nice; the walls are filled with artwork of artists that have stayed in the rooms they offer. Not far from Taverna San Trovaso, which I think is fine but not outstanding, Locanda Montin is not as busy and it is a wonder because I have only had excellent meals at Montin. But then again, I only travel to Venice off-season if there is such a time. It may be because the only way to find it, is to look for the lantern above the door. Maybe it's a Venetian secret, as there does not appear to be too many tourists. Does anyone know? It has wonderful seafood, pasta, legumes and solid Venetian fare. About the service; how is it possible that Italian waitstaff are available when you need them, but otherwise invisible? I just love that.

Emma Peel

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  • 3 weeks later...

Perhaps some of you could figure the exact name and location of the restaurant I am about to describe:

It has a name like Chalice and it is near San Marco (you start walking from the far end of the square from the church and turn right after a few blocks).

It is small and pretty. My husband and I stumbled on to it one day. There were no pictures outside, only a small menu with reasonable prices and lots of well dressed older men were enjoying their lunches (a promising sign!). In fact, while my husband and I were eating, several more older gentlemen came in and would greet the staff by name, proceed right to their tables and ask for their usuals.

The restaurant claims that a restaurant has operated there from the 14th century (it is an old building). The food was very good, espeically the monkfish and the mushroom pasta (which featured about 6 varieties of beautiful baby mushrooms in a luscious sauce). They also had a lovely spread of vegetables and tidbits that you help yourself to. Our delicious 3 course lunches with wine were under 50 euros for the two of us.

I wish I had taken note of the name, but if someone could figure it out and post it, then we will have a nice Venetian find.

S. Cue

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  • 1 month later...

Re Alle Testiere: This is a superb restaurant. We went in May, 2005 for lunch. We made a reservation one month before, for 1:00. We showed up at 12:00, tired and hopeful that we could dine early. No probem. We had an initial glass of white wine each, complements of the house, while they prepared to serve lunch. We had an order of moeche and an order of clam "stew" with ginger (including both vongole verache and spectacular razor clams) as a primo. Both wonderful. As a second course we had pasta allla vongole and gnocchi fruiti de mare (best gnocchi ever). Again wonderful. We also had a bottle of mineral water and a bottle of a reasonably humble, but good, pinot grigio, and shared a delightful piece of cake for dessert. Total cost: E84, and well worth the price. A very special restaurant. Service could not have been more friendly.

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La Zucca is still a winner when you have had your fill of fish in Venice. We had lunch there in May, 2005. One tagliatelle pomodoro with a dollop of ricotta. One lamb chops with tsatsiki and a side order of borlotti beans. A half liter each of the house white and aqua minerale. A shared semifreddo for dessert. Total price E38. My only regret is that the potato gratin delivered to the next table looked even better than the beans.

We unfortunately did not get a chance to try another meatless restaurant, La Bitta, during our stay, but the menu looked most inviting and moderate in price. La Bitta is mentioned in the current edition of Osterie D'Italia. It is about 1 1/2 blocks in from the Ca' Rezzonico vaporetto stop, next door to Quattro Feri, about which I will report separately.

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