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Eating in Venice


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Eating in Venice

Sid Cundiff | | Feb 3, 2007 07:54 AM

The Chowhound “Eating in Rome” report good, always updated, and needing no new start, I thought I’d start the same for Venice.

I was in Venice 12-15 Jan 07. My visit short, I didn’t have time to call on my usual inexpensive restaurant, Trattori dai Tosi, Secco Marina 738 (be sure your at the right place!). So reports are welcome.

Venice is magical in winter, with the fog, the view of the Alps, and between Epiphany and Carnival the city might as well be empty, San Marco with no line and minimal gawkers. Alas, for Chowhounds, many of the better restaurants are closed from Christmas to Carnival. And, alas, alas, Venice has not been one of my favorite eating places. I have found some exceptions.

After the sublime High Solemn Mass at San Marco (1030a, lasting about an hour and 15 min) or after Solemn Vespers (at 540p in winter, 6p in summer, lasting about an hour, concluding with a procession to an equally sublime Litany of the Virgin), worth a try close by is Antica Sacrestia, Fillippo e Giacomo 4442, at the corner of Calle de la Sacresta, and like most places in Venice, a challenge to find. I was there for lunch. I found it crowded, over heated, and I had to be shoe-horned into my table. Good food, good service, and nice atmosphere all the same. I had the simple fixed price menu.

Do Forni, Calle dei Specchieri, isn’t bad, and the ratio of price to food isn’t good. I wouldn’t call it fine dining. Still, my sole was acceptable. The service was good, my waiter displaying great self-control when dealing with two Russians who were making risible demands. I’m told that this place is also open late at night, and thus useful if one spends the day in Verona, Vicenza, or Padova.

Twice I’ve been to Trattoria Busa Alla Torre Da Lele, Campo San Stefano 3, Murano. Twice I’ve arrived for lunch right at 12 noon, the latter visit SA 13 i 07. Twice I’ve had the spaghetti in cuttlefish ink. Twice I’ve had the grilled fresh fish. Twice I’ve had the Tiramisu. And twice I’ve eaten as well as ever in Venice for a midrange price restaurant – and it isn’t even in Venice, but in Murano. So after touring the glass blowing, the glass museum, and the sublime Sts Maria and Donato (the exterior apse a hymn to the humble brick, the interior apse the otherworldly mosaic [have your party not look up and walk to the steps of the altar; you at the door put two Euro in the light machine; all will be transported to Paradise]), this restaurant is well worth it.

For Fine dining: The Met at the Metropole Hotel. The most outstanding food I've had in Venice, in a very well upholstered room, with fine service from a young Chinese woman speaking perfect English. The 1 Michelin star, shared by only one other restaurant in Venice (as of the 1997 ed. of the Red Michelin Italia), is quite well deserved. Vivaldi used one of the rooms for practice. Of course, it’s very expensive. Reservations are a must, the front desk telling me that the chef will serve only 40 people per night. Because the Metropole is my hotel in Venice, they slipped me in on short notice. Live music accompanies a fine meal.

Also at the Metropole: after a cold rainy day, as the darkness gathers, in the late afternoon or early evening, consider tea at the Metropole. Go to the hotel’s bar, ask for tea, and sit there or in the posh lounge. Alas, cigars are no longer available at the bar, but the bartender told me where to find good Havanas in Venice. Outside the hotel on the walk there are benches overlooking the beautiful view of the lagoon and San Giorgio, and there one may partake of the evil weed in peace.

From previous visits, and close to the Metropole: For fine dining: Do Leoni at Hotel Londra Palace, Corta Scota, Al Covo (2nd place after The Met), Trattoria Da Remigino. For less expensive eating: Trattoria alla Rivetta (if you can get in, given the crowds), Trattoria Pizzzeria da Paolo by the Arsenal, Ristorante Hotel Pensione Wildner (closed for renovation Jan 2007)

Corrections, updates, other reviews of Venice dining most welcome.

– Sid Cundiff

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