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Venice Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations

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The frittura di pesce from Vecio Fritolin was the single best thing I had to eat during almost a week spent in Venice last month. At lunch it is also available to go for considerably cheaper. Very highly recommended.

Don't know if you read my Eating the Boot thread (can't blame you if you found it too long! :biggrin: ), 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).

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If the weather is decent, the outdoor pizza compound at the foot of the Accademia Bridge (on the Dorsoduro side) is a fun place.

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Sempione

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.

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Alle Testiere

(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.

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Osteria al Ponte "La Patatina"

2741a Calle dei Saoneri

San Polo

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.

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Da Alberto

(address etc upthread)

I loved this place. We easily made a reservation the day before for a Friday night dinner, but found ourselves in the neighborhood at lunchtime on thursday, so in we went. Only half the tables were full, but it was early.

This restaurant was definitely a great value. My mother had the grilled veggies, and with the exception of the peas, it was totally satisfying. The potatoes were divine--like the frites of my dreams. I wanted more Sarde en Saor, but could only get them as part of the mixed seafood antipasto, so my husband and I shared that. Very very good. The sarde was great, a bit different from the one at Sempione, but equally good. My mother and I both had the special, pasta with red sauce and mussels which was terrific. The sauce was clean and delicate, consisting of fresh halved cherry tomatoes, mussel broth and a little olive oil. The mussels were beautiful, tender, tasty. My mother spent half the trip trying to get "small" pasta instead of spaghetti, like capellini or linguini, and since this was served with a finer pasta resembling spaghettini, she was thrilled. And it was cooked perfectly. My husband, continuing his inkfest, tried the cuttlefish pasta, and it too was great. He spent a certain percentage of the trip with a black tongue. Luckily the goth lip thing fades quickly, since he isn't really the type. The house red at Da Alberto was the best house wine of the trip. I think we had tiramisu for dessert, in our attempt to duplicate the experience at Testiere, but I'm sure no other Tiramisu came close to that. Really lovely restaurant.

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Ai Quattro Ferri

Calle Lunga S. Barnaba 2754a

Dorsoduro

I would not recommend this restaurant. It was a short walk from our hotel, and by the end of our trip my mother, who is 89, was really tired, so we didn't want to stray far in the evenings.

I had the verdura mista, and it was pretty good. The three of us shared a large branzino. They brought us the fish to approve and it did look very nice and fresh. Then they brought it out for us right after it was grilled, and it still looked good. Then, before I could say anything, they whisked it away. Ten minutes later it came back, looking like a big mess and no longer hot. For us stupid Americans they deboned and beheaded the fish. They weren't very artful about it and, to add insult to injury, they overcooked it as well. I saw an Italian table served a fish with its head still on, which is how I would have preferred it. This restaurant does not take credit cards and our fish cost 75 euros, which seemed steep to me for what we got. Dessert was also a mixed bag. It was sweet wine and cookies. The wine was rather nice, but the cookies were lousy.

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Ae Oche

Zattere Ponte Lungo

Dorsoduro

Il Refolo

Campiello del Piovan 1459

Santa Croce

Let me start my saying that my standards for pizza are disgustingly high because we've been making our own pizza about every other week for years, and thanks to some great suggestions on a pizza thread here we are closing in on that ideal crispy thin crust. Lacking that wood-fire taste we're doing as best we can.

So. I would say that at least 75% of all pizzas I had growing up in New York were better than Ae Oche. It's popular, I'll say that, mostly with the students in the Dorsoduro. The pizza was just plain bad. Soggy.

Il Refolo was better, and the little square by the canal was a pleasant place for lunch. The salad was run-of-the-mill. We chose a pizza with radicchio and buffalo mozz. Their technique was interesting--the shredded radicchio and the buff. went on after the pizza was done, so they were uncooked. Strange, but interesting. The crust was mostly crisp, and it was cooked well and was pretty tasty. Not great, but far better than Ae Oche. Maybe Venice just isn't a pizza town. I would have thought to see more seafood on pizza--like vongole or cozze pizza, but didn't see any.

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Alle Testiere

I need to correct an error in my review. My nephew was with us for dinner, so that makes four people. 230 Euros sounds a little less scary divided by four. And he's young and eats a huge amount. He ordered oysters in addition to an antipasto, but I can't remember what he ate.

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wow...lots of good suggestions. I will be in Venice the week after next for four nights. One of the nights I will go to Cantina do Mori for cicchetti and another night I'm going to a restaurant I always go to there (that doesn't seem to have a name or address, but if I can get any better information on it this trip, I'll share it here).

Now, for my other two nights, I'm trying to decide between the following:

Alle Testiere

Osteria La Zucca

Anice Stellato

(maybe the Met?)

I was thinking da fiore, but think i have ruled that out after hearing some not so great reviews on the price/quality ratio.

has anyone eaten at more than one of the above restaurants and have an opinion on which one to choose?

Also, I will be with several colleagues. One of these nights I will probably go somewhere (the nicer/more upscale of the choices) alone or with one or two others. But, the other night it would be good if it were a restaurant that could hold a larger group of people (8-10). So, if you have any input on that much appreciated.

as always...thanks for the input!

And, finally, I am assuming I will need to reserve now (if it's not too late) for any of those that I want to get a large group in, correct?


52 martinis blog

@52martinis

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Some hits from my recent trip

Osteria Bancogiro (Campo San Giacometto 122, San Polo (00 39 041 523 2061) 10am-3pm & 6pm-1am, closed Sunday evening and all day Monday).

Alot of waterside outside dining space , on the Grand Canal, 1/2 block from the Rialto Bridge. Good bar snacks, great fresh fish. My monkfish stuffed with ricotta on a bed of sesame spinach was perfect. My son had a great steak. Reasonable for Venice

Taverna del Campiello Remer

* Address: Campiello del Remer | Cannaregio, Venice, Italy

* Phone: 349 3365168

This one is a bit hard to find, as it is off an unmarked street, down an alley way, but worth the trip. Mostly locals, no menus. Fabulous fresh seafood. Great crudo, and antipasto. Piano player. You need a reservation. The gnocci was very light. Accomodating staff.

Ristoranteca Oniga

Campo SanBarnaba Dorsoduro

We stumbled here by accident, after trying to get to La Bitta( which we realized with their limited menu was not going to work for the kids). Good seafood pasta, and great home made gnocchi. Next to Grom, for convenience

Best Gelato Riva Reno Sastriere Castello. Best artisinal Gelato we had(including Grom) in Venice

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I'd skip Do Mori...it's been written up so often that it's gotten a bit toursity and expensive, at least compared to the other bacari.

Jim

Do Mori is OK although perhaps a bit "pricier" than other chiceti places. Still it is nice for a bite or two. Certainly not expensive by any interpretation I can think of.

I'll agree on Da Alberto mentioned several times upthread.

We found it quite by accident well into a chicheti crawl one evening (theirs are excellent BTW) and made a res for last Saturday night when a friend from Geneva would be joining us for dinner.

Excellent food so good that my wife and I went back for lunch a couple of days later.

Dinner for three was right around 100 Euro.


Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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Hello!

Since the lasted post was writeen in 2008, i will ask again...!

Where we can eat well in Venice ?

I will stay in Hotel Canaletto Venice

Sallizade San Lio 5487 - 30122

I will be arriving in december 27 !

Thanks!


Edited by Ronaldoebt (log)

Rio de Janeiro,Brasil.

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For dinner Al Covo in Castello is outstanding.

Da Alberto is also quite good (address upthread).

Cicchetti are ubiquitous and often really good.


Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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Highly recommended:

Le Bistrot de Venice

Calle de Fabbri 4685 30124

+39 041 523 66 51

Recommended:

Alla Rivetta

Castello 4625

Ponte San Provolo

+39 041 528 7302

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Hi, I'm Italian, but even if I live in Milano, I'm half Venetian and I go to Venice quite often.

As already said, while this so unique city is one the most beautiful on earth, most of the restaurants are pretty bad since most of the tourists spend just one day so they don't really do any efforts to fidelize them.

At the moment my favorite one is El Fontego dei Pescatori in Canareggio, not this close to Piazza San Marco, but very good, the fish is always very fresh and the price is absolutely reasonable.

An "evergreen" is La Corte Sconta.

But if you're planning a trip to Venice (or Milano) please feel free to msg me.

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Thanks for the tip, Matteo. Will give El Fontego dei Pescatori a try when next in town. I, too, like Corte Sconta.

And welcome to eGullet!

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AL COVO

We’d booked this place for our first night, as it was only a couple of minutes walk from our hotel and, arriving in the evening, wanted somewhere nearby and easy to find. Good choice. And not just for the location. Food was spot on for what we might have wanted for a perfect first night dinner.

There was gnocchi to start, accompanied by a ragu of wild duck. This was long-cooked and much reduced and so was packed with flavour. The other starter was simplicity itself. Clams and white beans served in the cooking pan. Delicious sweet clams, mealy cannellini beans and a winey, garlicky, salty broth.

And there was excellent bread to accompany it – grissini, ciabatta, the excellent thin stuff that I think is called “music paper”. And the basket was replaced with a fresh supply even before we’d finished off the first.

As for mains, neither of us could see past frito misto. And what a good choice it proved to be. Each serving a really good selection of battered and fried seafood (squid, octopus, tiny fish that may or may not have been whitebait), a fillet of baby sole, another small fish of indeterminate origin and three tiny scallops served on the half shell. A little dish of sea salt was a thoughtful provision. As was a paper cone of matchstick potatoes.

For desserts, we both opted for ice cream. In one serving, house made hazelnut , the flavour heightened by a sprinkling of nuts on top. In the other, very good vanilla, topped with liquorice powder. Now liquorice seems to be the “in thing” to add to desserts. It’s appeared on a number of menus in recent months. And, here, as in the other places, it is used so sparingly that, frankly, you can’t taste it. But this was the only slip in the cooking over the evening.

We finished with reasonably good espresso.


John Hartley

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IL RIDOTTO

In spite of its hard surfaces and modernist decoration, Il Ridotto managed an attempt at retaining something of an air of intimacy. It’s to do with the tables being split between the two small rooms. Unfortunately, the attempt fails as the hard surfaces mean that, unless you are good at filtering out background noise, you are going to feel part of the conversations of neighbouring tables.

The menu also fits the modernist style. Things kicked off with an interesting amuse – a disc of bread, topped with a spicy paprika jelly and pecorino, a little red pepper sauce to moisten the mouthful.

For a starter, we opted for the “risotto for two” – good creamy rice, flecked with peas, mint and basil. Scallop roe flavoured the cooking stock and, perhaps, could have taken a more prominent role.

A main of beef cheeks, braised in pinot noir, was excellent. A really deep flavour that only comes from good meat, cooked for a long time. There was some just wilted raddichio providing some crunch. The menu had also advertised raspberries and I’d thought “No! That’s so wrong that they must be going to do something creative”. But, no, it was just a few berries scattered in with the meat. And, yes, it was soooo wrong.

Across the table, cod was being enjoyed. A small fried fillet sat on black lentils. In itself, this would have been good. But also on the plate was a “cod sandwich” – served cold, this was a salt cod mousse presented between two very thin “slices” of black rice. Really clever. Really good.

For desserts, I’d hoped that “Our take on tiramisu” might finally be the chance for something really creative. A deconstructed version, perhaps? But, no, this was a bog standard tiramisu. A good one, though. Lots of booze, strong coffee and good chocolate. Thoroughly enjoyable in itself.

There was certainly some creativity going on with the other plate. Small cubes of chocolate brownie, topped with hazelnut ice cream and surrounded by blobs of pumpkin puree. It sort of sounded like it might work and it did.

There were good petit fours to accompany the expresso. These days, it seems like they are often an excuse for the pastry chef to dash off a few mini-desserts but, in keeping with the name, these were indeed little baked items – a langue de chat, biscotti, a lovely light jam sandwich sponge.

It really had been a thoroughly interesting and enjoyable meal.


John Hartley

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ALLE TESTIERE

They pack about 20 covers into this tiny room, offering two sittings. One at the just too early time of 7pm and the other at the just too late time of 9. We went with the early one. Food is excellent with the chef fully appreciating that, when you’ve got good ingredients, the best thing is to do as little as possible to them before they get to the plate.

So, a plate of pilgrim scallops, or queenies as I’d usually know them, were served on the half-shell with no more than a scattering of chopped softened lemon and a few strands of mint. Absolutely bang-on for freshness. The other starter was also light and refreshing – salad leaves, some thinly sliced raw asparagus and a little pile of spider crab meat. Of course, with both plates being light, we scoffed the excellent bread like it was going out of fashion.

For mains, sea bass fillets were served “Mediterranean style” – topped with delicious salty olives and capers and drizzled with a little olive oil. Alongside, a grilled tomato and some boiled potatoes. This really was seafood cookery at its simple best.

Tuna was served properly cooked to medium rare instead of the fashionable “almost raw” and was all the better for it. There was a sauce, mainly reduced balsamic vinegar but, interestingly, spiked with juniper berries. On first bite, I wasn’t too sure about the berries – the resin-y taste didn’t seem quite right – but it was!

A accompanying order of mixed vegetables was excellent – carrot, courgette, wilted chard, aubergine, grilled radicchio

Desserts were also pretty good. A raspberry pannacotta was perfectly set and incorporated some small chunks of the fruit, which also appeared in the surrounding sauce. A slice of chocolate cake was excellent – both bitter and sweet, suggesting the use of a chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids. The only disappointment was the cream which looked and tasted as though it had been sprayed out of a can.

Excellent espresso to finish.

Service had been spot on throughout – but that’s almost a given in Italy.


John Hartley

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FIASCHETTERIA TOSCANA

Comparisions are odious, so the old saying goes. But this was our fourth and final Venice dinner. And the first three had been really good. And I mean, really good. And this one just wasn’t. Perhaps if it had been our first meal, we might have thought different. But it wasn’t. And we didn’t. Comparisions, eh?

White polenta features heavily on the fairly extensive menu. It cropped up on both starters. First in an underseasoned wet form on which were scattered a generous portion of very fresh, very sweet prawns. It also appeared in the “set and fried” version accompanying a small fillet of sole, with the classic Venetian “saor” sauce. This is mainly onions in a sweet, yet vinegary, sauce, spiked with capers. It usually appears with sardines where the assertive flavour of the fish will stand up to the dressing. But the more delicate sole was overwhelmed by it.

I’m a big fan of “fegato alla Veneziana” and will often order it at home if it’s on a menu. As might be expected on its home turf, this was a good version. Small squares of very lightly cooked calves liver; the long cooked onions almost meting away to form the sauce. More fried polenta as a carb.

Beef fillet wasn’t the best piece of meat ever encountered. Now I know you don’t expect fillet to have as much taste as other cuts but this was very underwhelming and, indeed, a bit scaggy in parts. The red wine sauce was almost non-existant but the topping of finely diced caponata vegetables was a cracking idea.

Contorni were €7 each which doesn’t sound a great bargain and, when you see you’re only getting two artichoke hearts, you know it’s not a bargain.

Also not a bargain was the €20 glass of Merlot. Perhaps that’s why the waiter came back to point out the price to my wife. Or perhaps, she didn’t look the sort who would order a €20 glass. In any event, she was somewhat affronted by his attitude whatever the reasoning. My advice to the restaurant is that, if you don’t think customers know what they have ordered then don’t put these items on your freaking menu.

We decided not to have dessert but did have espresso. It was OK but no more than that.

One final point of interest to us was to see on the menu Welsh lamb and that Halen Mon was the kitchen’s salt of choice. It seemed odd to see produce from an hour’s drive from home on a menu on the other side of Europe.


John Hartley

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Hi John,

We are heading to Venice next week. We are booked into Osteria alle Testiere I am assuming this is the same place. I need a rec for one more restaurant for 6 people four of whom are not adventurous and one of those is quite picky (aka no meat or dairy). Any thoughts? Much appreciated.

Nicole


The Critical Couple

http://www.thecriticalcouple.com/

Twitter @CriticalCouple

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