Trattoria da Jonny is a fairly large place spread over 2 rooms. Exposed brick is on one wall corner and the small bare wood tables are set for 2 or 4 people with paper place mats and napkins. Music plays in the background and the large menus contain both English and Italian. The ceiling has exposed wood beams in part of the room and floor appeared to be a large plank wood but was really a type of tile. The service was friendly and efficient even while a number of family members stopped by to eat and/or chat. Continue reading
Zanze XVI is a medium sized place with exposed wood beams in the ceiling and brick on the top part of the walls. The building was a restaurant all the way back to the 16th century. When re-modeling the last paperwork they found referenced Zanze which was a nickname for Angela who had the building in 1940. On the side are bench seats to match with small bare wood tables and a non-seated bar is at the front. The windows on one wall look out to the street and canal. They have been open just 1 year and 8 months but were doing a lively business. There was no music the first part of the evening but it started up during the evening, however the acoustics were very good for talking. They offer only surprise tasting menus, one with 8 dishes, one with 5 courses from the sea or one with 5 courses from the land. Wine pairings are available for all. If you prefer al la carte that is also a surprise and then you can order as many courses as you wish. A lot of ingredients were named with each dish but as nothing is in writing, I’m sure I left some things off. I apologize for any oversights but regardless, the food is really good and it’s a fun place with nice people working there. I’d put it on your list. Service was efficient and super friendly as well as speaking good English, but pacing was a tad slow. Continue reading
Locanda Cipriani is on the island of Torcello, a short water bus ride from the main island of Venice. You enter into a tiny old looking lounge room with seating around a fireplace that is used for cooking and warmth. From there you move into a large open room surrounded by windows to the outside gardens and views of the local churches. The place backs to 1935 and is still owned by the Cipriani family. Hemingway stayed at the associated inn and brought much fame to the place who was then followed by a number of famous visitors such as Queen Elizabeth II in 1938 and in 1985 the Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles and Diana (who came for a private lunch a year after the Queen had brought the Queen Mother there), Maria Callas in 1952 and Marc Chagall in 1948 who left behind one of his drawings. The list of famous people and acclaimed artists goes on and on throughout their 70 year history. The nice sized tables are fairly closely spaced and covered with white linens with many of the smaller tables having a draped service table adjacent. Continue reading
Local is a fairly large place with very modern design. Wood beams in the ceiling are opposite the place’s logo made into the terrazzo floor. Many items also worked in the circular logo including coasters and seals on the toilet paper. Bare wood tables are appointed with some bench seating and chairs. No music was in the background until later in the evening and the lighting is lowered. A counter area fills much of the first room that’s underneath portion is made of woven wood and it has a few seats that would have the best view through the window into the kitchen. It also had windows to the street outside. A second room for seating led into the bathrooms and window to the large wine cellar. Service was friendly, helpful and they spoke good English. They have an a la carte menu but we had pre-ordered the surprise tasting menu, which was not available in printed form. The menu had good pacing and portion control. Continue reading
There are a lot of gelato shops in Venice and some with wild colors and flavors so it was a treat to find La Mela Verde or the Green Apple where they make their own gelato in house with fresh, real and Italian ingredients. They even have a video running on a loop in the store showing how the gelato is made and the ingredients they use. It is a nice option to the garish colors and poor textures found in so many other shops. Flavors vary with what is available each day. They are only open part of the year. It’s a really tiny shop but you can get 1-5 scoops in cones or cups as well as Nutella dressed. They have recieved a lot of press due to their quality and I thought Frankie should give them a nod for their creamy texture and flavor choices. The flavors are on the mild side but the smoothness makes up for that. Also knowing that no artificial ingredients are used to enhance the flavors gives you a good feeling, as well as being owner driven. Check it out! Continue reading
Osteria Da Pampo is a tiny place near a park in the southeast end of Venice, that opened in 2009. It has a totally different feel to the area than the more visited mid section. This became a family run (mother and 2 daughters) place with a small menu and a couple of daily specials three years ago. Service was attentive and friendly and delivered by the baker of the restaurant, who also spoke great English. You enter on the side of the building into an area that looked like a place where you could get to-go items. Inside the limited dining area were 12 small closely spaced bare wood tables, but there appeared to be a space for outdoor dining depending on the weather. The room looked like it was a porch that had been enclosed as there were windows on the 3 exterior walls. The light green walls and tile floor contributed to the very casual feel of the place. A couple paintings were on the walls and one corner housed a display of blue and white dishes on elevated crates. It definitely felt off the beaten tourist path. Continue reading
Bistrot de Venise is a large place made up of a number of small rooms. It offers a huge menu featuring Historic and Modern Classic Venetian cuisine including several tasting selections. It must be a common tourist destination as the brochure on the table offered a number of the items from the place for sale. However the food is amazing and the number of people in attendance showed that, that was known. The room where we were was colored with red and gold, with decorative gold fish candleholders on each table to supplement the already well lit room. The red velour walls were accented with strips of antiqued gold where recessed lighting was. Red bench seats matched red chairs on the other side of the table. The walls were decorated with drawings, paintings and photos. Tables are closely set and some of the 2-tops were pretty small but all were covered in nice linen cloths embossed with a leaf design and matching napkins. It was a casual crowd in a fairly elegant setting. Waiters spoke good English and were helpful, friendly and willing to direct your meal plan. Classical music played in the background and they were happy to split dishes or have us split them at the table, even bringing extra plates. Continue reading
Da Ivo is an institution in many eyes. Opening in 1976 it is an elegant, old school setting frequented by the rich and famous, like George Clooney, Elton John, Naomi Campbell, Tom Cruise, and Barbra Streisand to name a few. Its location allows clients to arrive by water taxi or gondola rather than walking there. The small tables are fairly close and covered with salmon covered clothes with the name prominently printed in the middle, and the napkins are the same. Tables are set with little birds or cats that turned out to be the salt shakers. Photos, wine bottles and other memorabilia cover the walls which have stained glass partitions between diners and the street and the kitchen. The wait staff all spoke great English and were very helpful and friendly, but plenty of Italian was being spoken by other guests. They offer a huge menu but where to order is off the small chalkboard of daily specials that is brought to the table on a swivel pedestal. Continue reading
It hasn’t been long since Frankie’s last visit to Al Covo but she always enjoys the food and hospitality there. Thought we’d include a few pictures of what we had that evening but warn you that we ordered primarily from the specials that evening so it may not be available when you go. However it’s fun to watch the food evolve as does the physical facility. This time they’d put in new seating and tables. Always moving and that may be why it is one of the best places in Venice. Continue reading
Ostaria Da Rioba is in one square room with polished wood tables with beige cloth runners and matching napkins. One wall is exposed brick and 2 others are windows to the streets surrounding it. Wooden beams line the ceiling and a beautiful terrazzo floor in below. Tables are small and there is light mixed style music in the background. There was a set lunch menu or a small menu to chose from. Service was attentive and they have an extensive after dinner drink menu. While nothing was bad here nothing came off as outstanding or unique, it felt like it lacked soul. Continue reading
Osteria Enoteca San Marco is a good sized place that runs through several rooms. Soft music plays in the background, lighting is lowered, chairs are springy and comfortable, tables are of wood or marble with the rough wood ones having cloth runners and smooth tops are all being bare, nice large cloth napkins at every place – in other words there has been some attention to detail awaiting you here. The restaurant has been here for 15 years and so has had time to collect some interesting fixtures and decorations. The menu changes about every 3 months so expect some different options but check this place out if you are in the area. Service was efficient and well paced and the various staff spoke good English. Continue reading
Antica Trattoria alla Maddalena is on the island of Burano, just off the Mazzorbo vaporetto stop, in Venice. It is a large building that has numerous dining rooms, garden, patio and take out counter. Inside we were seated in a contemporary dining room decorated with modern paintings and large wood accents. It has been serving typical Venetian cuisine for 60 years. Service was friendly and efficient and they were happy to show us around to some of the other rooms when we finished our meal. It is worth it to take the trip over here. Continue reading
Vini Da Arturo was a small place of about 9 white cloth covered tables. It had a lively crowd and no fish which is unusual in Venice. It also offers some vegetarian options. Ernesto Ballarin is the chef behind many of the recipies, which he’s developed over the 23 years he’s run Vini da Arturo. He and some of his staff get flown to Los Angeles every year to cook his famous fried vinegar pork. Interestingly there never was an Arturo. Service is helpful and well paced. Tables are given a mix of breadsticks and bread. It was fine but mostly good with food. Continue reading
It’s been 4 years since Frankie visited Osteria alla Frasca and this time we went for lunch rather than dinner and sat inside instead of in the outside tent. Without the addition of the outdoor seating it is a very small place of about 7 tables. Located on a quiet square, this structure has been around since 1903 where it was rumored to store paintings by Tiziano at one time as well as serving as a wine shop. Bruno Natural took over the place in 2012 and restored much of it to its original state including the wonderful sign on the front of the building. Soft jazz music plays in the background and natural light fills the lightly painted room from the large front window. A small window behind the bar serves as a pass through for the kitchen which offers a simple Venetian, locally sourced cuisine. Tables are covered with paper mats and alternately colored napkins. Continue reading
There are several previous Alle Testiere write ups on this site so I’ve identified this as an update. I had been a number of times and it was in fact one of my favorite places in Venice and I just couldn’t not go whenever we visited Venice. We often went the first day there and either the jet lag effect or just having been there enough to make you tired of going there, made me declare I’d been there for the last time. Either way, I’m glad I broke my word and went back to try it again. I felt it had gotten too tired and too full of tourists but this time it showed the freshness and friendliness that brought me to love it in the first place. It was a fine meal from start to finish, with the dessert being better than ever. The only ding I’d still give it is the size of the tables and how close they are together however in their defense there is no room to have bigger tables nor to place them any further apart. Continue reading
Al Portego is a tiny little place with 2 portions. One half is where you stand and eat cichetti and the other part is filled with 8 pretty small tables that have table service. If you want one of these tables a reservation is a must as the locals appeared to like this one – with good reason. They seems ready to push the tables and chairs around into different configurations. We originally were told that we could get a reservation if we were willing to sit with another couple but when we got there tables had moved and we had our own table. The tables have a chalkboard menu of options which get erased when they run out. Our great server was most helpful as well as spoke good English. Lighting is dim with darkened windows and background music was possibly overflow from the kitchen, but the ambiance was just fine. Cozy and casual, this is a slow food place not to miss. Continue reading
This is a repeat visit to Al Covo and what a wonderful visit we had! It was even better than I remembered. It is a medium-sized place of 2 rooms with lovely linens on the nicely spaced tables, lowered lighting supplemented by candlelight and some background music. The owners just finished a re-do of the front facade and as you can see it looks perfectly inviting. Speaking of the owners, wife Diane Rankin is a transplanted Texas and gives you a Texas sized greeting – you couldn’t feel more welcome. She also fills the role of pastry chef and front end manager. Husband Cesare Benelli is a native Italian and does a splendid job as chef and welcoming host. Together they have run Al Covo since 1987 and it is a must visit if you are in Venice. They offer a tasting menu as well as a la carte, that changes with the season. Continue reading
Osteria Enoteca Ai Artisti is a small cozy 2 rooms with some outdoor seating. Tables are small and close, covered with paper and paper napkins. The entry room contains a good sized bar with a pass through window to the small kitchen. The second room contains wine storage and a larger table for big groups. Since it is a wine bar, serving afternoon cicchetti, the wine selection is expectedly nice. For meals it looks like reservations are a must as seating is limited and the food is really good. Ceilings are low, soft music plays in the background and staff is extremely helpful, speaking good English. Servings are generous and the place has a great vibe. The chef is Mashiro Homma who has spent 8 years in Italy with the last 5 being in Venice. Continue reading
Another re-vist to Antiche Carampane, one of our favorite spots in Venice. However tonight the food seemed to lack the soul it usually has, not enough to keep us from going back but enough to drop it from the automatic reservation it has been. A fairly small place, it was packed as usual. There is a fun vibe with the close set tables draped in nice linens and the walls covered with stuff. Service is efficient and helpful but one server I had not seen before had no specials of the day to tell us about. We waited for another waiter who was willing to tell us about the fish of the day and that soft shell crabs were available. Continue reading
Dalla Marisa is a super tiny place that offers a fun, cozy vibe along with great food. Reservations are a must if you want to sit inside. Otherwise there are outside tables but the ambiance is so wonderful inside you shouldn’t miss it. The walls are covered with family photos and drawings of Venice and tables are set close to one another. No fancy linens just paper placemats and napkins but it’s all works in this welcoming setting. Most tables are for 4 so go with friends or you may get to make some there. They don’t appear to turn the tables, it’s one seating. There is a fixed price per person of 4o euros which covers all your food, wine, bread and water. Continue reading
This is a second visit to CoVino, a really small place of only 7 tables for 2. American music of the 60’s plays in the background. They offer a 2 or 3 course lunch special as well as a la carte options and an interesting selection of wines and beer. Reservations are a must but not overly hard to obtain. The menu is small and the service is attentive and friendly with the open kitchen taking up a good part of the room. Unfortunately I learned that the chef that was there last fall is no longer and the present ones don’t seem to have his touch. The dishes were fine but not outstanding, however the manager’s personality is so charismatic you really want to like the place. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good place but last time the food just reached a much higher note. Another problem is the portion sizing. Choices vary a good bit on size and heaviness and it would seem that some indication of this variation would be helpful in the ordering process. Continue reading
After you enter the bar area Boccadoro splits into 2 rooms, one to either side and one really small room separated by a beautiful glass sculpture. Patio seating is available if weather permits. The lighting is low with soft jazz music in the background. An elegant setting, there is lots of art on the walls, exposed beams in the ceiling and pretty tile on the floor. It is old school with ladies menus having no prices. The staff is friendly and very helpful. Our waiter, Simone, easily suggested what we should order and we were wise to follow his plan. It turns out he is the son of Chef Luciano Orlandi, so he really had the inside track. Continue reading
L’Osteria di Santa Marina is made up of a couple tasteful rooms of nicely spaced tables and lovely linens. It started as a bar serving Venetian cichetti but the restaurant as it is now, has been here 15 years with dual owners Chef Agostino Doria and Danilo Baldan working the front end. The windows to the street offer some natural lighting during the day but overhead lighting is at a good level. Even with the interestingly wood paneled walls and great tile floor the noise level is very low. They offer 2 tasting menus as well as an a la carte menu. There is a good, reasonably priced wine list. We weren’t ready for a full tasting menu and the waiter was most helpful in selecting fresh, good selections for that day as well as an appropriate wine. The offerings vary slightly from the printed menu to feature what chef found fresh and looked best at the local markets. Continue reading
La Bitta is a very small place and the tiny tables are close but with a jazz soundtrack in the background and lower ceiling it makes for a cozy setting. It is very casual with paper napkins and table covers and no superfolous elements on the plates. A variety of languages were spoken in the packed room and the friendly and helpful staff handled it easily. With the close and full room the sound level was noisy but not to a point that conversation was difficult. A sign on the door said it was full and thus not a lot of popping in by people looking for a table. Don’t be late for your reservation as they do turn the tables so each seating is allowed a 2 hour time window. It is a cash only restaurant. Continue reading
Fiaschetteria Toscana is a medium sized place with a display of their fresh fish on ice to greet you, and you can see the staff come get them as you order. There is also a case of the desserts in front to equally temp you. You’ll hear a mix of Italian and English spoken but the staff will make you feel like you are the most important visitor they’ve had all day. Our waiter Claudio waited on us during our visit several years ago and is still there providing fun and helpful service. He was happy to split a number of our dishes so we could try more things. Continue reading
Il Ridotto is a small place with just two rooms, one having just 4 tables. Chef owner Gianni Bonaccorsi watches over all from the front counter and you will see the staff running across the walkway to another building where some of the supplies are kept. We were here before for lunch, several years ago, and while the interior feels unchanged chef doesn’t seem to be doing the cooking now. At dinner he offers 2 tasting menus, one of meat and the other seafood. There also is an a la carte menu and this evening a truffle menu too. The tables are set with lovely linens, Venetian glassware and modern comfortable chairs. I heard more Italian than English on this visit. The staff are friendly and helpful, but not overly so. We had the 5 course tasting of the land for which the chef makes the selection of your dishes except for dessert, which you get to choose. Continue reading
CoVino is a very small place, about 8 tables for two, with most tables worked around bench wall seating. It was started with the support of the owners of Al Covo but according to our server, it is now on its own, although you will find Diane’s chocolate cake still on the dessert menu. At lunch there is a fixed price 3-course lunch where you pick from selections offered and you can extra courses or supplements for a price. Bread and water service are included in the cost of the food. The kitchen was totally open and manned by two people while the dining room was managed by one person. The lighting is at a nice level and the decorations include some fun hanging grape light fixtures. Continue reading
Anice Stellato has 2 rooms with low ceilings and lots of wood. A beautiful terrazzo floor is set against the wood carvings on the side panels and otherwise minimal decorations. The good sized tables are tended to by friendly servers, ours being the co-owner, and set with paper linens. There is a cozy and peaceful vibe to the place even though it was filled to capacity that night. They have a small menu that is presented in both Italian and English, but Italian seemed to be the main language I heard. Continue reading
Da Fiore is a medium sized place that is made up of basically 2 rooms – one quite formal and then a very small, more casual room that looks out onto the canal. We hadn’t been in 6 years and this visit we sat in the bigger room which I preferred to the smaller room that felt cramped. The tables are set with fine linens and beautiful local glassware and the waiters are formal yet quite helpful. It is old school enough that the “lady’s” menu has no prices. There was a mix of languages within earshot. We were there for lunch and it was not full. Continue reading
Antiche Carampane is another regular stop for us in Venice but the last few trips it has really been a standout. Another small place with tightly packed tables that are always full of locals as well as tourists. There is often one bigger table of young people out for a night of great and reasonably priced food with friendly service. I will admit I wasn’t sure about the friendliness of the staff but after a number of visits they have really warmed up. It also helps to let the staff direct what you get – they know what is freshest and the best way to present it. We give them an idea of how much we want and they won’t let you down – this applies to wine too. Continue reading
Alle Testiere has been a regular stop for us in Venice for years and unfortunately it has also become a regular stop for way too many other tourists. There are only 11 tables and while at lunch it used to be a place you could drop by, that is no longer the case. Reservations are a must and for prime times you may need to make them a week out. The same staff works there but this visit it seemed less interesting, or maybe I’ve been too many times. The appeal of this place was the use of fresh local cuisine, sometimes classic and sometimes with a twist. This visit the “twists” didn’t work for me but their classics met my expectations. There are a couple really bright spots to Alle Testiere, though, one being the wine selection. Luca always comes up with something reasonable, different and tasty for you to try. The other bright spot is his wife’s desserts. They are generally quite good and change on a regular basis. Continue reading
Another repeat visit to this wonderful place but this time there were a few issues. We were greeted so warmly by Diane, a former Texan, that the evening had great promise. After talking with the waiter and getting the rundown of what was on the tasting menu that night, we knew that was the way we wanted to go. The first miscue was when they brought sparkling water instead of the ordered still.
A re-visit with a favorite spot where reservations are a must. They have roughly 2 seatings, 7:30 and 9:30, so if you want a more relaxed visit you might go for the later time. We have learned that the best is to order what the waiter suggests and just peruse the menu to whet your appetite. We started with the fish carpaccio and all were fresh and perfectly sliced. They are served with a sour cream like
Our friends in Venice found this little gem that has only been open 3 months. It has super friendly staff, reasonable prices and 2 small rooms that fill up fast. The owner, Marco, wanted to bring Sicilian cooking to Venice and named the place after the little Sicilian carts, “carretto” that are common there. He stresses cooking with what is fresh and eggplant was our night’s theme.
Burano is about a 40 minute water bus ride from Venice – a nice trip which you can make with your bus pass. The restaurant has an on- form to fill in for reservations but never got back to us so we had the hotel desk clerk call and he secured a spot for us when they first open. He said they are crazy busy and judging by the crowd we saw arrive after us, he is right. Burano is a fun place to walk around before or after your visit, so plan some extra time to visit shops and enjoy the colorful buildings.
A very small place that attracts lots of tourists but you also here Italian spoken by guests. Usually lunch is not as crowded whereas reservations are a must for dinner, but during this prime season, reservations were also needed for lunch and many were turned away at the door. Service is good and they are most helpful in selecting a wine to go with your order. We’ve eaten here many times and this visit was a little
Quickly becoming a favorite spot for us in Venice, this small cozy place is really hopping. They do about 2 seatings per evening. We’ve found that the best way to order is not from the menu but just to ask what are the specials and which fish is freshest and get that. They have particular fishermen that bring just to them.
Alle Testiere has been one of our favorite spots to eat in Venice during our last several trips and thus we booked it for our first night when we’re the most jet lagged and hardest to please as well as again later in our trip. This trip, however, it let us down. While it still had a wonderful cozy atmosphere and a very helpful staff the food didn’t live up to expectations. The turbot, or Rombi as it’s called there, was overcooked and dry. In the past this has been one of the tastiest fish they’ve prepared for me but this trip it simply didn’t measure up.
This restaurant is not in Venice but in Padova which is a short train ride away. Massimilliano Alajmo is the Italian chef, the youngest person in history to have his restaurant awarded three stars by the Michelin Guide. He is quite personable, coming out to the table to visit as your meal starts and to say goodbye as you leave. The restaurant is serene and peaceful with obvious thought being given to many details. One detail I read about prior to going was a good warning – the table has a lovely round indentation in the center where the bread is placed in a warming package after the initial ball of yarn is removed. A fun and useful feature but a hazard for moving wine or water glasses about the table.
The greeting gougere was delicious and a small packet of crispy bread is individually placed at each seat. The doughy crusty warm bread comes a little later and is particularly good. The menu consists of 3 tasting menus and it is suggested to start with the “Classic” as we did. We also enjoyed their wine pairings
What a perfect closing night for our visit, to eat with a fellow Texan in the house! Diane and Cesare Benelli opened Al Covo in 1987 after they met and married in the US. He is Italian and the main chef while she is the pastry chef and helps in the front. Both delightful, friendly people, she was thrilled to meet us. How could we not like the place?
We ate at this place on a previous trip and weren’t wowed but read enough good comments to try again this time. Our first visit we ate inside but this trip the weather allowed the patio to be open for seating, and what a difference that makes on the ambiance! It was so lovely I don’t think the food could have been bad. The clams seemed sweeter and more tender than the nights before,
A tiny little place in a hidden plaza, but that doesn’t keep the folks away. We sat on the enclosed heated porch and understand in warmer weather they spread tables out onto the plaza. Seemed like many of the locals knew the place and the staff knew the folks coming in. We were lucky enough to be with some of those local people who helped direct our ordering.
We’ve been here many times and were disappointed in our spring meal but they did much better this time, maybe because it was lunch and they were less crowded or maybe because Chef Bruno was there. Either way they were back on the mark this time. In fact it was so good I forgot to photograph the delicious grilled razor clams!
We’ve been here enough times they seem to know us now! It is worth going back to again and again. It’s a small place that is always packed – reservations are a must at dinner. The beginning cone of schie is hot, crispy and a perfect appetite enhancer. They are helpful in selecting a wine in your price range that is tasty.
This small restaurant becomes much larger in the summer when they also open the building across from it and have outdoor seating. In the winter it is a wonderfully cozy spot where the owners are very present. The owner’s daughter presented us with the “drawn at the table” dessert menu and the owner helped us make our meal selections. They even have their own label of wine which was tasty and went well with the food.
When you do it right, we’ll be back and such was the case for this restaurant that we first tried earlier this year. Although our Texas friend/owner and her husband were not there you would never have known. We had a different waiter this time but he was just as friendly and helpful as last visit’s (the waiter from April came over to chat and show us the photo of his new wife!).