I have already posted the report for our short stay in Rome. We started our trip in Venice, so I'll continue on with the report from there and then will post separate reports for our stay in Florence and Umbria (Todi).
We arrived in Venice on a Friday afternoon and after settling into our apartment in Cannaregio, which was just a short walk from the Ca' d'Oro vaporetto stop, we went out to walk. We had no plans that evening, as we knew we would be tired from our travels from Canada. However, that did pose some challenges later on...
We walked along the Strada Nuova and I noticed La Cantina, which I recognized from my research. We decided to stop, as it had been some time since our last meal - and of course, that was on the plane! We all enjoyed La Cantina, and for more reasons than just our appetite! We actually didn't have much, as it was still fairly early. We each had a glass of prosecco and two crostini, one meat and cheese and one tuna tartare and quail egg. Service was pleasant, the food and wine was delicious, and the price was 21 euro. It was a great spot to pinch ourselves, realizing we were actually in Venice, and a wonderful spot to watch the people traffic along the Strada Nuova.
After fortifying ourselves, we continued our explorations for several hours, walking and using the vaporetto. By 8:00 p.m. we knew we needed to find something more substantial to eat. We made our way back to Cannaregio, thinking we would find something to eat, pick up groceries at Billa for breakfast and then head back to our apartment. However, it was naturally very busy at most restaurants at this time on a Friday night, so it was a choice between the Irish pub and Osteria Ai Osti, which were next to each other. Osteria Ai Osti wasn't at all busy (which was somewhat concerning to us, but at that point we just needed to eat!) Service was quick and the food was just fine. We shared a 1/2 litre of white wine and a couple of bottles of water. I had the baccala mantecato and spaghetti pomodoro, K had mussels and spaghetti funghi, and S had an antipasti (it was our first night - I didn't write everything down!) and spaghetti pomodoro. I didn't enjoy the baccala primarily because of the texture. I expected it to be more creamy and smooth, and didn't like the large chunks of cod. K's mussels were delicious and lucky for S and I, she shared! We all enjoyed the pasta, and went back to our apartment happily satiated and delighted to be in Venice.
Every morning, we had breakfast at our apartment. With three women getting ready in the morning, it just made sense to take turns preparing breakfast. It also kept costs down, we could chat about plans during the day, and we were able to have some kind of Canadian-Italian combination breakfast. We picked up just a few things from Billa the night before, knowing we would be at the Rialto market on Saturday. Yogurt, apples, ham, cheese and bread - and of course, espresso, made for a hearty breakfast.
We immediately went across the canal to the Rialto Market and were dazzled by the array of fish, fruit and vegetables. I come from a fishing town on the east coast of Canada, but there were so many types of fish that I had never seen before. It was great fun to wander! We bought various fruit to take back to the apartment for our breakfast and then wandered through some of the shops in San Polo. We came across Casa del Parmigano and added to our breakfast supplies with a couple of cheeses, ham, mortadella and smoked salmon.
It was time to get a snack and I recognized Bancogiro from the recommendations on these boards. We shared a bottle of prosecco and a cheese/mustard platter for 60 euro, but wow, what a great location and view on our first full day in Venice. An overall note, every cheese platter we had in Italy was wonderful, with an interesting variety of textures and flavours. We were never disappointed in ordering cheese at any restaurant. This was just a snack, as we had booked an evening walking tour so we planned on an early supper.
We went back to La Cantina, after admiring the meat and cheese platters of other diners the previous day. We each had two glasses of prosecco and shared the platter for 50 euro total. It was a very large platter, very filling. With the location, friendly service, delicious and plentiful food, and reasonable prices, I would go to La Cantina regularly if I were able!
After our walking tour, we finally had our first gelato! We went to Al Teatro in San Marco and I had lemon and strawberry, both so flavourful. 2.50 euro
We had an earlier start on Sunday morning for a tour of the Doge's Palace. I know this board is about food, but I have to note that it was just wonderful to arrive in Piazza San Marco to enjoy the morning quiet. After spending a few hours in the palace, we were somewhat taken aback to come out and see the immense crowds. Which led us to our lunch selection - we had to escape the crowds, and we wanted to go to the Guggenheim, so we decided to leave the San Marco area and just go to the Guggenheim and have lunch at the cafe. While still busy, it was a pleasant refuge after the sea of crowds at San Marco. We were fortunate to get a table immediately. I'll note that our lunch plans were not generally well organized! We typically walked and toured and enjoyed each city and then one of us would realize we should eat, sometimes to the point where the person was so famished we must just find the closest place and eat. We did just fine with this approach in Venice, but had less success in Florence, but that is still to come!
The Guggenheim Cafe was similar to many other museum cafes that I have been to over the years, a slightly elegant casual restaurant. I find that the food quality can vary at these restaurants, but the Guggenheim was very good. We shared a 1/2 litre of white wine, water, a plate of french fries (irrestistable!), two of us had the gnocchi with herbs and smoked ricotta and another had a sandwich. The total was under 60 euro, though I can't recall the exact amount. The gnocchi were light - just a great texture, and the sauce had an earthy taste, topped with an abundance of ricotta shredded on top. The french fries were great too!
We had an afternoon gelato at Ca' d'Oro. I have lemon and peach for 2.50 euro, and the lemon is very good, though the peach is not as intensely flavoured as I would have liked.
We made reservations for Sunday evening at Alla Vedova, which was truly no more than perhaps 50 steps from our apartment. When we walked home on Friday and Saturday nights, we passed the packed restaurant with people overflowing in the calle. Sunday night, the restaurant was just as busy when we arrived for our 8 p.m. reservation. Someone was seated at our table but immediately moved when we gave our name, and we had friendly, helpful service throughout the evening. We started with the meatballs - great combination of a crispy, thin exterior on the meatball that seemed both light and very flavourful. We shared a bottle of cabernet sauvignon (we asked for a recommendation, but now that I think of it, I'm not certain if we specifically asked for red wine, regardless it was very good, though of course I didn't note the name). We each had a primo and secondi, and it was definitely too much food! K and I both had spaghetti vongole, and I failed to note what S had. Full of clams and a very light sauce that tasted of the sea. S and I then each had the fritto misto, a huge platter of shrimp, calamari and sardines. K ordered shrimp with polenta. We were surprised to find out that these were the same extra small shrimp that we saw at the Rialto market - and unfortunately K just couldn't get over the look of them. They were so tiny they looked like bugs. We all tasted them, and they were well seasoned and tasted great, it was just the appearance! Needless to say, we couldn't eat dessert, but we enjoyed the limoncello that was provided. Another great spot, busy atmosphere, reasonable prices (94 euro for the three of us), friendly service and tasty food.
After walking dinner off for a while, we stopped at Grom for gelato. I had lemon and one of the chocolate for 3 euro. The lemon was not at all to my taste, but I very much enjoyed the chocolate.
Our last day in Venice, as we would leave Tuesday morning for Florence. We spent most of the morning wandering through the calles throughout Cannaregio, and as usual, needed a lunch spot. We somehow found ourselves on the Strada Nuova again, and K noticed a table of women enjoying great looking pizzas, so we stopped. It was Ristorante Pizzaria Da Giorgio and we ordered three pizzas. S and I shared the artichoke, and the ham and mushroom, while K had the funghi. With a 1/2 litre of white wine (for K and I) and S's spritz (someone finally ordered it!), the total was 40 euro. Thin, crunchy crust, perfect amount of toppings - plentiful without being overwhelming. The waiter was entertaining with his sense of humour, and it was a good find - I would return for those pizzas! We stopped at a nearby cart for gelato and I enjoyed the dulce de leche for 1.50 euro.
For Monday supper, K and S consulted the Tap Venice app that K had downloaded on her iPad. With the public transit strike, we couldn't use the vaporetto, and we had an early morning ahead with our departure for Florence. They found a restaurant in San Polo that sounded appealing, so we made reservations. S took the traghetto across the canal, while K and I decided to walk and stop into some of the shops along the way. We met up at Osteria Garanghelo at 8 p.m. and we were happy to be seated in the small row of tables outside to enjoy the cooler evening air. We all ordered the risotto with shrimp and porcini, which was just amazing. Every bite was wonderful and my friends often laughed at me, as I always saved my favourite food for the last bite of a dish. In this dish, you might think the best bite would be the shrimp. But the risotto was just so wonderfully full of a combination of sea and earthy flavour, that I could have cast the shrimp aside and just had the risotto itself. Which I did not do, of course! K and I also ordered a salad, S had the grilled vegetables - as we all realized our vegetable intake had greatly diminished. We succumbed to dessert - finally having tiramisu and we also had a cappucino (I know, I know...but we like it after a meal!) With a bottle of house wine and water, our bill was 119 euro. We happily walked off the meal to enjoy Piazza San Marco at a much less busy time before making our way back to Cannaregio.
Thanks to everyone who posted their helpful advice for our Venice stay. I would happily return to the Rialto Market of course, as well as Casa del Parmigiano for shopping, and La Cantina would be weekly destination! The view of the Grand Canal on a busy Saturday from Bancogiro will always be remembered, as we let our imagination wander to future trips and life on the canal. Thanks again!
Campo San Giacomo di Rialto, San Polo 122,, Venice, Veneto 30125, IT
Campo San Felice, Cannaregio 3689, Venice, Veneto , IT
Sestiere Cannaregio,3844, Venice, Veneto 30121, IT