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#1 Escoffier

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 05:56 PM

Our first trip to Venice and thanks to Dean Gold, a very tasty one. Restaurants we particularly enjoyed in no real order:

Al Mascaron - a true bacaro. Our first taste of genuine Sarde and Saor

Trattoria da Fiore - San Marco - Spaghetti with pomodoro and huge prawns

Rosa Salva - The best pastry in Venice

Da Alvise - on the Fondamenta Nove - great Caprese, risotto with pesce accompanied by a 2002 Tamellini Soave that was wonderful.

Da Pinto - a huge collection of wines with a wonderful restaurant wrapped around it. Thanks to Dean, we had a great meal and couple of complimentary glasses of limoncello when Milan beat Lyon in football.

Ai Tre Spiedi - a tiny workingman's restaurant. Tables are crowded, the diners friendly, the house wine a very good vin rouge. Inexpensive and good. Try the salumi.

It's hard to go wrong in Venice. Follow the locals, stay away from the tourist areas (San Marco, Doge's Palace, any place where gondoliers ask if you want a ride), explore alleyways, you'll find a lot of excellent food.

On the side trip to Verona (slightly off-topic but definitely food related)...Ristorante Greppia. On a side street near the famous Montague/Capulet Balcony...the bolisto misto, a plate of boiled meats. There was tongue, cheek, and seven more. Tastes much better than it sounds.


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#2 Joe H

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 09:31 PM

Almost six years ago I first promoted Osteria Alle Testiere on Chowhound's International board. It had never been mentioned there or, to the best of my knowledge, on any other internet board before this. I raved about this 30 seat, two seating a night with no menu nondescript treasure and now almost every guide book and internet message board also raves about it. It is worth a visit.

In Verona Al Pompiere is well worth a visit. I am not a fan of the two star Il Desco there. My wife and I have stayed in Verona at least once every year or two for the past ten ("Gabbia d'Or" is a wonderful centrally located five star hotel) and love this city, perhaps as much as any other Italian city excepting Venice.) It is an extraordinary experience to attend the opera in the two thousand year old amphitheatre in the center of Verona: if you go you should buy tickets months in advance. It is popular and known around the world as a one of a kind experience/adventure. Vin Italy is also a huge event which occurs in February every year.

The walled city of Soave (center of the wine consortium for the Veneto) which is halfway between Verona and Vicenza (which has been a "base" for me on business trips for years) is also host to several excellent restaurants. This is literally less than a km off of the Autostrada. I return there in two weeks and look forward to returning to Lo Scudo which is considered the best restaurant in the region and is just outside of the walled city. About seven or eight miles south of Soave is the two Michelin star Perbellini which is an outstanding restaurant and well worth the detour.

Last, anyone visiting this area should give serious consideration to a visit to the three Michelin star Le Calandre in Rubano which many consider to be the best restaurant in Italy. It is easy to find, only two turns off of the Autostrada to Venice. But you must reserve two to three months in advance.

Edited by Joe H, 10 April 2006 - 10:37 PM.


#3 ulysses

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Posted 11 April 2006 - 10:41 AM

Theres this little gastropub in an unusual part of town call Anice Stellato. It was owned/operated by a bunch of late 20s hipsters. They were really staying true to the Venice former maritime power/spice hub idea. All of the fresh seafood from the lagoon spiced with curries, mustards and cardamoms. It really showcases the uniqueness of Venetian cuisine.

Also while my friend(Johnny Nielsen/Dino) and I were there, we found his wet dream restauarant La Cantina: 20 seats, little raw bar, big mortadella on a tiny little bar, boutiquie wine selection and a lone waitress that looked like Paris Hilton(married to the owner/chef). Crostinis of cured mackerel with over easy duck eggs, sea bass crudo and raw head on prawns.

These two places really had no interests in catering to the tourist which was what them so special.

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#4 The Hersch

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 02:45 PM

I wrote the following to my sister after a trip to Italy last May:

I'm afraid we didn't follow any of your suggestions for dining in Venice, Diana, although I'm sure we would have been happy if we had. But we ate at two magnificent places, which I herewith recommend to you. The first is called Al Mascaron, the second, which is even better, is called Alle Testiere. They're both on streets that run into the Campo Santa Maria Formosa, which is quite near where we were staying. Mascaron is on Calle Longa Santa Maria Formosa, Testiere on Calle del Mondo Novo. Alle Testiere is tiny (about 20 places), and booking is necessary--but we got a reservation by popping in to ask for one at about 10 pm of the night before. They have two seatings, at 7:00 and 9:30, and a limited menu that the waiter will convey to you orally (in English, French, German, or Italian). I had moleche to start. These are tiny little softshelled crabs that are a specialty of the northern Adriatic, and are wonderful. Each one is only about one bite. They were fried and then marinated. These were followed by gnocchi so light they nearly floated off the plate…the best I ever had, and then a wonderful John Dory with fresh herbs. Wonderful. I had some grilled fresh sardines in Murano the next day.

I think the "waiter" who recited the menu at Alle Testiere was actually one of the owners.

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#5 Joe H

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Posted 14 April 2006 - 07:59 PM

Thank you, Hersch, there is a passion and pride at Alle Testiere that is well worth seeking out.

#6 Joe H

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 09:02 PM

We have been to Venice nine or ten times over the past 15 years and have posted extensively on our experiences on both CH and eG. On the upcoming trip I am looking for somewhere new to compliment a return visit to Alle Testiere which we have fallen in love with over the years and have been back to on every trip. Over time we have also eaten at, probably thirty or more other restaurants ranging from da Fiore to Corte Sconta to Fiescheterria Toscana, all of these dating back to the early '90's. This is very specific since many restaurants are closed on Monday evening which is the night I am "researching."

Has anyone been to:

1. Osteria di Santa Maria
2. Canaletto

#7 Escoffier

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 09:14 PM

We have been to Venice nine or ten times over the past 15 years and have posted extensively on our experiences on both CH and eG. On the upcoming trip I am looking for somewhere new to compliment a return visit to Alle Testiere which we have fallen in love with over the years and have been back to on every trip. Over time we have also eaten at, probably thirty or more other restaurants ranging from da Fiore to Corte Sconta to Fiescheterria Toscana, all of these dating back to the early '90's. This is very specific since many restaurants are closed on Monday evening which is the night I am "researching."

Has anyone been to:

1. Osteria di Santa Maria
2. Canaletto

Joe, PM Dean Gold. He pointed us to some great restaurants in Venice and I'm sure he can do the same for you. He spends as much time in Venice as he does in Cleveland Park.

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#8 Joe H

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 09:17 PM

Joe, PM Dean Gold. He pointed us to some great restaurants in Venice and I'm sure he can do the same for you. He spends as much time in Venice as he does in Cleveland Park.

I read his excellent lengthy report on Slow Traveller and it did not include either of these. I'm actually being very specific in the two restaurants I'm asking about. Thanks...

Edited by Joe H, 03 September 2006 - 09:20 PM.


#9 The Hersch

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 03:21 PM

2. Canaletto

Is this the restaurant in the Hotel Canaletto? I stayed at the hotel a year or two ago (it's fairly nice for a fairly reasonable Venice hotel in a great central location), and we thought of trying the restaurant, which looked like it might be good, but we never did. I realize how utterly unhelpful this is, but I'm just curious if that's the place you're asking about.

ETA: Actually, the restaurant I'm thinking of isn't strictly speaking in the hotel. It's in the same building (or I suppose it might be the building next door, but I think it's in the same building), but there's no access to it from inside the hotel. It has a separate entrance outside.

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#10 Joe H

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 03:29 PM

I'm not sure if it's in a hotel or connected with the hotel of the same name. I've made the decision to go to Osteria di Santa Marina based on L'espresso and a couple of other guides along with liking the photos on their website. I'm sure we'll walk by the other restaurant and check it out while we're there. Thanks for the response!

#11 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 10:56 PM

Going to Venice for the first time the day after Xmas. Staying near San Marco. Looking for really good food at reasonable prices (i.e., $200 a meal for 2, not $500 a meal for 2).

#12 Loire Lover

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 08:40 AM

Going to Venice for the first time the day after Xmas. Staying near San Marco. Looking for really good food at reasonable prices (i.e., $200 a meal for 2, not $500 a meal for 2).

I was going to recommend Al Covo, but I just checked and I think they are closed from December 15 to January 15.

Although not as near San Marco, we had a wonderful meal at a restaurant called Oniga. Good food, good wine list. It is located in the Campo San Barnaba between Ca Rezzonico and Accademia. And, next door to it is a great organic gourmet food and wine shop called Pantagruelica. Definitely worth stopping in to see what's available.

For something less expensive, we have had good luck with tramezzini in a local small cafe/bars. Tramezzini are sandwiches that you order by the half. I recommend going of the beaten path and looking at what is displayed in the window of the local cafes. If the sandwiches in the window look good, go on in.

This is probably stating the obvious, but at all costs, avoid restaurants on the main drags that have pictures on their menus and employees outside enticing you to come in.

#13 Joe H

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 08:21 PM

I apologize for my redundant comments but Alle Testiere continues as one of my favorite restaurants anywhere. From two years ago Osteria Santa Maria ended up as a mediocre experience. The Met, a Michelin star from last year, was excellent. Somehow it has lost its star and, perhaps, it's"hot" lustre. Da Fiore continues as one of Venice's best restaurants. Yet, I liked it more in the early and mid '90's when it was less than half the current price. Al Covo is very good (superb, exemplery fritto misto and very good risotto) as are a half dozen other places. Yet, enduringly, Alle Testiere with a endless number of mentions on many, many websites, continues as what I think is as good of a restaurant as Venice has to offer. The two owners are incredibly passionate; one of them is fluent in at least seven languages. He even responds to e-mails while he and his partner, the chef, are on vacation. I just cannot rave about this restaurant enough.

Again, you MUST reserve several weeks or more in advance. It is well known by now.

And, once again, I mention Le Calandre in Rubano a "suburb" of Padua. This is 35 km from Venice, an easy drive (literally two turns from the Venetian parking garage) and considered by many to be Italy's best restaurant. Yes, it has three Michelin stars. But for me this is the current equal of any restaurant on earth. (I love hyperbole but with five visits now it has lived up to this every time.)

www.calandre.com

Yes, very expensive (i.e. prix fixe around E160) but a dinner for a lifetime and worth dieting for here.

PS hope for fog, cold weather, snow. Serious. Venice is our favorite city on earth; even more so when the weather is so bad you cannot see more than several meters or a Vaporetto could float up to a stop and, despite the closeness, your not knowing it is there. We've also been there when they hoisted up the Christmas tree in San Marco. Don't overlook a trip to Cemetery Island or the Lido. AND, the best advice you will receive on any message board or website: many of the Vaporettos have seats IN FRONT OF THE BOAT'S CABIN. Perhaps three rows of four each outdoors. Incredible seats. Try them if it's not too cold or windy. LOOK FOR THEM. This is literally like having your own boat and sitting outside, cruising the Venetian canal. You won't even be aware of the floating "bus" behind you.

We leave for Rome on Sunday for our annual vacation; both of now believe we should have gone to Venice instead.

Venice, before, during and after Christmas will provide memories for the nursing home...

#14 Steve R.

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Posted 25 October 2008 - 05:25 PM

Almost six years ago I first promoted Osteria Alle Testiere on Chowhound's International board. It had never been mentioned there or, to the best of my knowledge, on any other internet board before this. I raved about this 30 seat, two seating a night with no menu nondescript treasure and now almost every guide book and internet message board also raves about it. It is worth a visit.

Just as an aside, I read that post on CH and, several years later (2 or so years ago) went based on your post plus a bunch of subsequent agreements from CH, Mouthfulsfood and other board folk. We had a great dinner there and wound up sitting next to a woman who eats there 3-4 nights/week. Great owners, lovely place and clearly well known to "us folk" as we also wound up talking to a table for 6 from Park Slope, Brooklyn (we live in Brooklyn too). I hardly ever recommend based on one dinner but this was an exceptional meal. Nice post. Thanks. :lol:

#15 ghostrider

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Posted 25 October 2008 - 08:00 PM

AND, the best advice you will receive on any message board or website: many of the Vaporettos have seats IN FRONT OF THE BOAT'S CABIN. Perhaps three rows of four each outdoors. Incredible seats. Try them if it's not too cold or windy. LOOK FOR THEM. This is literally like having your own boat and sitting outside, cruising the Venetian canal. You won't even be aware of the floating "bus" behind you.

Solid.

Second best advice may be to hit one of the vaporetto routes that goes back & forth across the Giudecca canal & eventually approaches a stop near the Doges' Palace, & to time that so that you're approaching Venice near sunset. The colors in the sky can make that a magical little trip.

#16 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 10:10 PM

It is cheaper to visit when it's cold, but I've seen pictures of Venice covered in snow and I would love to see that with my own eyes. We will bring warm clothes and hopefully experience Venice unlike the masses do in the summer, with fetid canal water and overflowing crowds. I've got to get started on making dinner reservation too.

#17 deangold

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 10:11 AM

It is cheaper to visit when it's cold, but I've seen pictures of Venice covered in snow and I would love to see that with my own eyes. We will bring warm clothes and hopefully experience Venice unlike the masses do in the summer, with fetid canal water and overflowing crowds. I've got to get started on making dinner reservation too.

Venice can be a quiet experience even during touristy times (like Carnevale). Just move out of the San Marco to Rialto to the Accademia triangle and you are in a sleepy little town with wonderful bars and small restaurants and very nice people who are glad to see you. We have been in Venezia in the snow and it was wet and goopy and not picturesque. It is always fun to see signs saying the Vaporetto line is not working because of fog! The Traghetti are also subject to this interruption. But Venice in the winter is pretty magical... get up at 6am and walk to the Rialto Fish Market, stopping at Bar Marca in the Erboria for caffe and tremezzini. You will be the only non working person out and to hear your own footsteps echo is amazing!.

For stuff to do that's a little off the beaten path:
Carpaccio Freschi in San Georgio degli Schiavoni
Ca Rezzonico
Ca d'Oro
The churches on Giudecca and Lido, the Jewish cemetery there too.
The Ghetto
Taking the 44 line entirely around the main islands of Venice.
Torcello
Tintoretto's greatest hits at San Rocco
Frari
The Stations of the cross at San Polo

Get the Chorus Pass and go to all the churches in numerical order. It doesn't matter which number you start with, but just keep going in either direction till you get to the end and then start at the other end. this will give you an amazing tour of Venice and let you see incredible art and small neighborhoods that most never see. It is ridiculously cheap (8 or 12 Euro) and at each church, you get a great explanation of the history and art you are seeing.

For glass go to Murano and get off at Collona and go to F Schiavon to see the work of the only Japanese glass master in Venezia, Tuschida. Tell them Dean of Maryland sent you.


For restaurants/Wine Bars:
La Frasca- amazingly fresh seafood, they buy their fish from friends with their own boats so you are getting today's catch any day of the week.
Vini da Gigio - straightforward food, great wine list, outstanding quality ingredients
Fischetteria Toscana - my favorite, superb traditional foods. Ask for Roberto as your waiter and let him chose the wine and food for you and then let him tell you how to enjoy it as well. The best cheese course I have ever had. Very expensive but we always manage to have one meal there.
La Cantina on Strada Nuova - great wine bar rumored to have morphed into a real restaurant but I do not know. Back when they only had a hot plate, they made great stuff. Let them suggest but it can add up quickly. Its worth it but 50 euro a person for snacks and wine is a real possibility. SO is 100 or 15o Euro if you go crazy with the Dal Forno, quintarelli and Gravner. But this is the joint to do it at!
Bar La Marca - great wines by the glass and small sandwiches. We go there 1-3 times a day when we are in Venezia.
Vitus Venezia - freat wine bar with great sandwices. Non local wines predominate.
Gli Schivoni alle Botegon - old fashioned place with lots of old red nosed venetian men speaking dialect and drinking heavily.
Alle Vedova although I understand the manager and cooks have left to go open or take over another spot.
Da Pinto- Pinto is a trip (you will recognize him by his wrinkled white shirt that is coming out of his pants.... he will be burried like that I am sure). Stay away from the touristico menus and order grilled fish and cicchetti. Cheap & good right in the Rialto Fish market area.
We have eaten at Alle Testiere since 1999 and it is quite good, but do realize it is very modern interpretation of traditional fare. If you want the more traditional versions directly, some of the above places are more apt to have it.
Anice Stellato - incredibly scholarly approach to the ancient cuisine of Venice. Amazing raw seafood especially
Do Mori - incredible traditional snacks eaten standing up. Buy the local cheap crap wine, its what you are supposed to drink. Great Fragolino which is a sweet wine with a touch of fizz and very low alcohol. Musetto is pig snout sausage served on a sandwich or on a plate with fasoi (fagioli to the rest of Italy, beans!). We will often go once a day or more if we are in the area.
BancoGiro in the Erboria area or maybe the next piazetta over. Good food, good wine (if they have it in stock, their inventory gets run down in off season) and they are open all day so go at off hours. Upstairs is romantic & there are a couple of tables with a view of the Canale Grande. We had a view of the most unbelievably attractive 20 something Venetians making out for our meal! We may have had the better view!

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#18 Joe H

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Posted 03 November 2008 - 08:37 PM

Just as an aside, I read that post on CH and, several years later (2 or so years ago) went based on your post plus a bunch of subsequent agreements from CH, Mouthfulsfood and other board folk. We had a great dinner there and wound up sitting next to a woman who eats there 3-4 nights/week. Great owners, lovely place and clearly well known to "us folk" as we also wound up talking to a table for 6 from Park Slope, Brooklyn (we live in Brooklyn too). I hardly ever recommend based on one dinner but this was an exceptional meal. Nice post. Thanks. :lol:

Thanks for the really nice words. Much appreciated!!!!

Joe

#19 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 10:25 AM

What should we order in Venice?

My wife would taste seafood but she's not going to order a branzino or a sea bream by herself. She basically only eats shrimp and scallops as far as seafood goes. What's a non-seafood person to order for primi, secondi?

What are some things I should try in Venice (I'll eat anything)? I love linguine alla vongole?

We might have to go to Dino and take a lesson on what to order in Venice.

#20 DonRocks

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 04:38 PM

Is this a good place as warm-up for our impending trip to Venice? We're gonna hit Dino this weekend. Maybe we can do Spezie the following weekend.

Given how much water is in Venice right now, you might want to consider d'Acqua as a warm-up.

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#21 Joe H

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 05:39 PM

Given how much water is in Venice right now, you might want to consider d'Acqua as a warm-up.

http://www.iht.com/a...-High-Water.php
My wife and I have spent a week nine or ten times out of the last fifteen Decembers in Venice. Several times we've seen water rise near the top of the tables that you walk on to cross San Marco Square. Still, we've never seen it so high that they couldn't put the tables out as they were unable to do this year.

On the other hand standing in a dry San Marco Square watching the snow fall on the 20m tall Christmas tree may be one of the most beautiful sights on earth.

Venice is worth the risk. The most beautiful city on earth.

I'm editing this post to add this more serious link from today's London Times:
http://www.timesonli...icle5266829.ece
It notes that tourists are being advised to stay away from Venice for the moment because of the incrediblly high water.

#22 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 08:51 PM

Given how much water is in Venice right now, you might want to consider d'Acqua as a warm-up.


very funny, MF. :lol:

I just checked Spezie's menu. Kinda expensive....maybe we'll do Dino twice.

#23 Joe H

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 12:06 AM

Is this a good place as warm-up for our impending trip to Venice? We're gonna hit Dino this weekend. Maybe we can do Spezie the following weekend.

Don't dare come back to D. C. without going to Alle Testiere!

As for warmups ten of us go to Goldoni in a couple of weeks. I'd also revisit Roberto.

Note: this is the link to another article about Venice's flooding which is far more serious and notes that "tourists should stay away." http://www.timesonli...icle5266829.ece

We have been there several times when water approached the top of the tables they set set up to cross San Marco-but never when it was so high that it caused them to float. If your trip is later in December or January you are probably all right but this may be very good advice for right now.

#24 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 09:34 AM

Don't dare come back to D. C. without going to Alle Testiere!

We have been there several times when water approached the top of the tables they set set up to cross San Marco-but never when it was so high that it caused them to float. If your trip is later in December or January you are probably all right but this may be very good advice for right now.


We're leaving the night after Xmas and will return on New Years eve.

#25 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 08:51 PM

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Alle Testiere was closed for vacation and maintenance. :P

The first evening, we signed up for a bar crawl. At our first stop, we sampled smoked salmon (good), a steaming plate full of boiled tripe (tender but not very flavorful), and a platter of cold-cuts (ham, mortadella, salami, and cheese). At our second stop, we had baccalà, a very fishy cod spread that was delicious to me but appalling to Annie. At our final stop, we had a skewer of fried vegetables (artichokes, cauliflower, mushroom, etc.), a delicious hashbrown (tasted like a Spanish tortilla), and a kibbeh type of meat dish (fried dough with ground meat in the middle).

For dinner on our second evening, we went to Vini da Gigio in the Cannaregio district. This is a good restaurant off the beaten path. When we arrived at 7, we were told we could have a table only if we were done by 9. I started with a plate of mixed Venetian specialties as an appetizer, which consisted of a scallop with coral, two little clams, schie (tiny shrimp) with creamy polenta, fried baccalà, and fried polenta square. The schie and baccalà were good, the rest not so good. My first course was tagliolini (thin pasta) with crabmeat in a light tomato sauce, which was very good. My second course was eel grilled until its skin is crisp. It was a simple dish but cooked perfectly. Annie started with a Caprese salad, then had arugula ravioli in parmesan cream sauce, and ended with a Venetian duck. The duck was positively medieval. It was stewed in a red-wine sauce until the meat is red and falling off the bones. Neither of us really liked it. €155 for dinner (with a €45 bottle of wine and dessert).

While we were in the San Polo district, we saw a pizzeria that had New York style pizza by the slice (on Rughetta Ruga). They have both thin crust and Sicilian style thick crust pizza with various toppings. We of course had to get a slice (for a very late afternoon lunch). It looks much better than the pizza served at local bars but isn’t as good as the pizza at Bebo or even Church Street Pizza.

Finding a good place for dinner was nearly impossible on a Monday night during the off-season. We first went to Fiaschetteria Toscana, which claims to close only on Tuesdays on their website, but it was closed. We then went to Osteria di Santa Marina (which is open according to Rick Steve) but it was closed. So we settled for Osteria il Milion for dinner on our 3rd evening, a good restaurant according to Rick Steve that’s next to where Marco Polo used to live.

I started with a Venetian classic, sardine with onions. The fish was served cold, topped with some sautéed onions and black pepper. My first course was spaghetti with clams (my favorite Italian pasta dish of all time). This version came out dry, with tiny Venetian clams. The flavor was good but the tiny Venetian clams left me wanting something more substantial. My second course was seppia (cuttlefish) sautéed in its own ink. The flavor is quite nice but the seppia itself was rather chewy and overcooked. Annie had the artichoke soup, which consisted of pureed artichokes baked with some cheese. It was a thick and hearty soup. She then had gnocchi in a vodka sauce. These gnocchi were large and firm, which I find less than appealing. She ended with veal scallopini in white wine sauce, which neither of us really cared for. We also shared some grilled vegetables (zucchini, yellow squash and eggplant brushed with olive oil – bland). Il Milion is a moderately priced restaurant, €100 for dinner (with a €25 bottle of wine and no dessert).

On our last day, after a chilly ride around Venice in a vaporetto, we went back to Fiaschetteria Toscana for lunch. They officially open at 12:30. We arrived a little earlier and were allowed in to have a seat but weren’t served until the waiters arrived. This place is expensive but they had stuff on the menu that I couldn’t find elsewhere. I started with a spider crab cooked with a little olive oil and butter and served in its shell. A very simple preparation but the flavor of the crab shines through. I followed with another spaghetti with clams, this one with a little sauce at the bottom. I finished with tiny fried soft-shell crabs (much smaller than the ones we get in the U.S.). Annie had a bean and pasta soup, and lobster ravioli with broccoli sauce. We also shared some fried zucchini, leeks, and radicchio. This is by far the best meal we had in Venice. €118 (just 3 glasses of cheap red wine for me and no dessert).

That evening, we went to dinner at Da Pinto, a cheap restaurant known for good food near the Rialto fish market. Da Pinto was woefully understaffed that night. There was one waiter, the owner who was not particularly helpful, and a real numbnut of a busboy (who cleared the wine off a table of diners who went outside to smoke, but it was obvious that they’re still in the restaurant because their coats were still hanging over their chairs). I had a huge plate of Parma ham, shrimp and mushroom spaghetti (overcooked shrimp), and grilled sardines. I didn’t finish any of the food, partly because I was not very hungry and partly because it wasn’t very good. The shrimp was overcooked and the sardines weren’t flavored with anything other than olive oil. Annie’s lasagna reminded me of high school cafeteria food and her four-cheese pizza had blue cheese on it. €56 (3 beers for me and no dessert).

Looking back, I wasn't really crazy about Venetian food.

#26 heh

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 01:07 AM

I'm sorry my post wasn't more timely but for the next go around...
my favorite restaurant in Venice is Hostaria da Franz. Small, quaint and well worth the experience just to have Maurizio recite the menu to you in any one of 5 languages!

http://www.hostariadafranz.com/

#27 Joe H

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Posted 26 February 2009 - 07:31 PM

Eric, we leave in a week. I sincerely thank you for your post and photos. (Dean Gold, too!) We have a dinner at Fieschetteria Toscana along with two dinners at Alle Testiere, one at the Met (Michelin star), one at Il Ridotto (this could be the sleeper of the trip: a total of 10 seats in the entire restaurant and the chef cooks for you personally along with the server; the chef had a Michelin star when he lived in Provence. No idea how Provence translates to Venice, still this is absolutely intriguing...), a place on Burano that Bourdain raved about for it's risotto and a dinner which we'll leave to chance.

Accuweather's 15 day forecast is predicting that it will rain every day we are in Venice...........................

#28 Joe H

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 11:09 AM

Il Ridotto is now the best restaurant in Venice. More about this later.

There are seemingly NO Americans in Venice. The only English we heard in a week was from the UK, South Africa, Australia, etc. The owner of Alle Testiere told me that he thought business in general was off 25%. This, the most difficult reservation in Venice, still fills up on Friday and Saturday but has half the covers on weeknights. Significant when you only have 24 seats. More significant when you only have ten (yes, ten!) like Il Ridotto. http://www.ilridotto.com/ MANY stores still had clearance sales on for winter goods. Remarkable was the size of the inventory which was left. Over the years most of our trips to Venice have been in the winter or now so we have a basis for comparison.

There is as much fear there as there is here.

#29 wahoooob

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Posted 17 July 2010 - 07:29 PM

Heading to Venice (and Florence/Rome) in November - any updates? Joe H?

#30 Joe H

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Posted 18 July 2010 - 02:53 AM

Heading to Venice (and Florence/Rome) in November - any updates? Joe H?

This post on Chowhound is entitled, Venice: The Great Binge of '09.

#31 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 11:23 PM

Tomorrow night on Bizarre Food:

Next up: Bizarre Foods Venice! This is the perfect show for all of you to call one friend who doesn’t watch BF and tell them to tune in. No bugs, no blood, just me and Venice and the best food you've ever seen.

Zimmern's favorite restaurant - Al Covo.

#32 silentbob

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 01:29 PM

This post on Chowhound is entitled, Venice: The Great Binge of '09.

We made a reservation for Alle Testiere a few weeks in advance and it certainly did not disappoint, from the creamy baccala to the grilled razor clams that tasted just like the sea. The potato-leek ravioli with prawns in a tomato-orange sauce was VERY similar to the crab mezzelune in a tomato-orange sauce that we had at Galileo III just weeks before! Wife also proclaimed that the tiramisu was by far the best she ever had. My tangerine cake with chocolate cream and berries was excellent as well. If we ever return to Venice, this will definitely be our first meal.

The linguine with clams and the sardines in saor at Al Mascaron were pretty good, though we might have been too jet-lagged to enjoy them fully. 24 hours in Venice seemed just about right...we definitely had a better time in Florence and Rome.

#33 MikeLastort

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 07:16 PM

Al Covo is fantastic. http://www.ristorantealcovo.com/

So is Fiaschetteria Toscana http://www.fiaschetteriatoscana.it/

#34 Lori Gardner

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:05 PM

I am with you in terms of Al Covo. Here is my recent blog post on Al Covo and a few other restaurants in Venice
http://beenthereeate...ning-in-venice/

follow me on twitter: @foodobsessed6
follow my blog: Been There Eaten That


#35 deangold

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:45 PM

Never been to Al Covo. FT is a favorite. La Cantina is also a favorite along with La Frasca. My last visit, however, is 7 years ago.

Dean Gold ~ Chef/Owner Dino's Grotto

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Pay Parking Lots: 7th & T ~ U between 9th & 10th

Dino's Grotto In Shaw
Dino's Grotto on Twitter
Dino's Grotto on Facebook

 


#36 yfunk3

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 04:00 PM

I was there about a week ago, and was told by my friends in Rome that it's hard to have a good sit-down dining experience in Venice that's worth the money, exscept for Il Gatto Nero on Burano (which I highly recommend, as well).

Well, I was staying in a B&B near the Fondamenta della Misericordia, and all along the Fondamenta are these small, lovely, honest trattorie and osterie that were filled with locals, yet still had at least one English-speaking worker on staff (though all you really need for a restaurant is to know the menu and the basic words of "Hello, thank you, check, etc."). I gravitated towards one, Bea Vita, near the end of the Fondamenta della Misericordia, and went there two nights in a row because the food and the service were great. It was also the least crowded since it was near the end of the Fondita, so I felt more comfortable as a tourist eating alone and being able to just peruse my guidebook during the meal (or snap a few quick shots of the food!). Great prices (an antipasto and a primo or a primo and a dulce wouldn't be more than EUR25 per person...this is without wine, as I don't drink alcohol), great housemade food (pastas and others on a limited menu that changes regularly), and good service. Can't get better than that for me no matter the location, and next time I go, I won't hesitate to stay in that area again, as people actually live in that area, which makes it a much more charming experience than the intense, annoying crowds of San Marco or Rialto.

My very first night, I stayed in an expensive hotel in Arsenale and walked to a restaurant recommended by my guidebook, Da Rafaele, to eat the frittura mista. It was definitely a good bet, and the seafood tasted fresh and not-frozen, like they just came out of the sea. It was a bit pricey and definitely catered more to tourists than locals, but if you only order a secondi and a cappucino, it's mid-range (around EUR33 total, including service and cover charge).

Edited because of stupid Autocorrect...

#37 wisehands

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 05:35 PM

...I was staying in a B&B near the Fondamenta della Misericordia, and all along the Fondamenta are these small, lovely, honest trattorie and osterie that were filled with locals...


I agree, the tranquil, atmospheric Misericordia canal is a great place to hang out. On a summer evening out on the fondamenta, it’s difficult to imagine anything better (don't know if that's absolutely true, but such places tend to have that effect). The Fondamenta della Misericordia is in the northern part of an area called Cannaregio, which is one of six sestieri or districts of central Venice. It occupies the large northern chunk of the town, with the Ghetto Ebraico (Jewish Ghetto) about at its center. Some nice bars are on Fondamenta della Misericordia, including the Paradiso Perduto (Paradise Lost). The food served there is nothing special, but the paper bag full of fresh fish fried to order on the fondamenta outside makes a great snack. Some other places to eat are the Ostaria da Rioba and the unpretentious Ristorante Diana.

#38 jayandstacey

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 10:38 AM

Venice seems to be able to correct for even the worst planning...what a wonderful place.

Venice was a quick stop on our European cruise - time was short and our internet time was shorter, costing way too much per minute. So under duress, and shamed for not doing my homework before leaving, I came to this board for some quick research the night before arriving in Venice.

"Misericordia" was in my chicken scratch notes based on the posts above. So I look at my tourist map as we're heading into Venice from the piers...and found the Misericordia alley, just a few blocks from the train station. So that's where we headed.

It isn't the same thing y'all are talking about, as we found out the hard way. :) But this little alley (turn sideways if someone's coming the other way) had a little eatery that was a highlight for us. The owner didn't speak much english and the only menu was a few pieces of poster board held together with paper clips. The food was delicious, simple and fairly priced.

We had spaghetti with meat sauce, some prosciutto with melon, some eggplant parmesian...all the best we think we'd ever tasted. And all at about 6 or 7 euro per dish. It was a happy mistake.

Of course then others in my party insisted in dining near the Rialto bridge later in the day. The first place grabbed us, sat us down...their fees included a seating charge of 1.5 euro per person, then a built-in gratuity, then a note from the waiter to put his gratuity off to the side, as the included gratuity was "just the restaurant tax" - OK, it was total ripoff, but the people watching was fun.

We'll be back; we only did a tiny bit of Dean's chorus tour suggestion and we LOVED getting lost in the city. Next trip we'll have more time, we'll have the tourist restaurant out of our system and we'll take everyone up on the suggestions above....with better notes so we know where the heck they are.

#39 Ericandblueboy

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 04:48 PM

Please do tell about the cruise ship and the food.

#40 jayandstacey

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 09:27 AM

Please do tell about the cruise ship and the food.

I wrote a tome on this and then hit some combo of keys that wiped the whole thing. GRRRR!!

Since then, I've been recovering from the effects of misuse of the transderm scop (seasick) patch, which turns out you're not supposed to wear for more than 3 days. 12 days will mess you up as I've found out the hard way. Why did my doctor prescibe it for 12 days? Why did the Pharmacist fill the scrip? Most importantly, why didn't I read the instructions?

So I'm sure you weren't holding your breath for my many pages reviewing the food on the Carnival Breeze, but I will provide it in due time.

#41 Joe H

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 11:26 PM

My wife and I were the first Americans to visit the most excellent, individualistic Il Ridotto in Venice in early 2009.  Nobody else had written about it in English.  But my post, my essay on Chowhound attracted-I was told-over 100,000 hits.  A remarkable number confirming its popularity. Many of these hits led to more articles, more videos, more exposure for this heretofore unknown restauant in 2009.

 

Now Michelin, Gambero Rosso, L'Espresso and others write about it along with the New York Times and International Herald tribune.  Until my visit...none of them.  

 

Serious.  none of them.

 

Tonight you can click on Il Ridotto's website;  http://www.ilridotto...omepage_ENG.htm  Then cli9ck on "about us" which will lead you to a page of reviews.  Near the bottom is a link for Chowhound.  Please click on that.

 

What you will be led to is my extensive essay about our food trip from "The Great Binge of '09" which 

Chowhound actually featured for almost a year on their boards.  I once asked how many hits it had in total and was told "more than 100,000" which at the time was an insane number.  But the 120+ responses were almost all good and, for once, I felt that I did something right.

 

I raved about Il Ridotto in Venice.  RAVED!!!

 

Il Ridotto linked the whole bloody article.  All of it!

 

I am honored!  I am humbled.  They had my Chowhound piece right next to the Michelin piece. And the one from Gambero Rosso.  Me.  Of course then I had spent some time with the owner and in talking to him he had followed American publications like Chowhound and eGullet.  He also knew some of my writing.  When I wrote about our adventures in Italy a week or two later he looked it up, liked it and decided to include it for his restaurant.

 

Well, there's a punchline here:  we go back to Venice and Il Ridotto in May (have made the reservations) and look forward to seeing if they have anything on the wall that I wrote.  After all it IS on the website, it really may be on the wall.  At a minimum I am deeply appreciative that a restaurant in Venice, Italy  quote me as an authority of some kind.

 

I wonder if they would buy me a glass of wine to celebrate.  Or even a bottle.







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