Chowhound on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. I was warned that there is a lot of not very good food around in Venice so prior research is essential. I compiled a list based on recommendations from Chowhound, Venetians, Italian regular visitors to Venice, Slow Food, NY Times, Le Monde and my daughter. When I arrived, I discovered that the difficult part was working out where these places are and how to get to them. You may, quite reasonably, wonder whether I had time to see the sights. My general advice is make sure you have a map with a street index and then a little Streetwise Venice to carry around with you.
We mainly ate lunch out and didn't need to book anywhere. All were largely empty at lunch (12.30 to 2 usual opening time) except for a very few Italians. Essential to book in the evening and many more tourists around then.You can google many of these places for more details.
DA FIORI. Reputed to be best fish restaurant in Venice, though not absolutely the most expensive. A Chowhound says hard to eat for less than 300 euros a couple. We had several light antipasti and then halved a rather liquid shrimp and porcini risotto.We were invited, no prices on my menu so I have no idea of the cost.
IL REFOLO Pizzeria con Cucina, Campo S. Giacomo del l'Orio, Santa Croce 1459. Tel 041 524 00 16. Closed Monday and Tuesday lunch.
A really wonderful place owned by the Da Fiori son. Excellent pizzas with fresh seasonal ingredients (artichokes in Spring, porcini and pumpkin in the fall). Other things look tempting too. Outdoor tables behind the church by a canal. No pizza in the winter and closed in December and January. Pizzas 10-14 euros. Vaporetto stop. S Stae.
VECIO FRITOLIN, Calle della Regina (Rialto) 2262. Tel (0) 41 52 22 881. Closed Monday. Small sober classic Italian looking place with air conditioning. Fritto misto said to be better than other things. Bread made in house. We shared one pleasant fritto misto and half a liter of house white total 37.50 euros. No outdoor tables. Just north of fish market so Vaporetto S. Stae or Rialto.
CORTE SCONTA Calle del Pestrin No 3886. Tel 041 522 7024. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Probably our favorite - an all fish restaurant with a pretty vine covered yard. We were there for lunch so don't kow about mosquitos (see La Bitta below). Note on table says that primi (pastas etc) are 16 euros and secondi are 18-25. Deserts 7. But the waiter tells you what is on for the day - you don't see a menu til the desert. We had an excellent seafood pasta, then excellent fritto misto and soft shell crabs, and zabalione. One primo, two secondi, one desert, half a liter of house white and a Pellegrino came to 85 euros. There are other Pestrini streets. This is near Arsenale so Vaporetto is Arsenale
VINI DA GIGIO, Fond. d. S. Felice (Their card gives another address but this is where they are) Tel 041 52 85 140. Closed Monday and Tuesday. Air conditioning.
Cucina de Tradizione and a serious wine list. Meat and fish. Another good place. We had a delicious antipasto of sardines in vinegar, pine nuts and raisins, a pasta and a liver with onions. With 1/2 liter of house red total 50 euros. Italians near by had long, consultation over wine list and then made happily ecstatic gestures over their fritto misto, pasta and several other dishes. No outdoor tables. A great thing about this place is it is easy to find, From Ca'Doro Vaporetto and Museum turn left along Strada Nuovo, cross one bridge and you'll see it up Fond d. S. Felice to the right - so it doesn't require a lot of walking from exhausted sight-seers.
OSTERIA ENOTECA SAN MARCO, Frezzeria - San Marco 1610. Tel 041 5285242
A sophisticated wine bar with good food, surprisingly right near St Marks and the Correr Museum. Air conditioned. Quite expensive - few wines by the glass. Our two pastas, two glasses of wine and Pellegrino came to $51 plus tip. Antipasti 16-18 euros, primi 16-20, secondi 25 - 30. No outdoor tables. Vaporetto S. Marco quite close and easy.
LA BITTA Lunga San Barnaba, Tel 041 52 30 531.
No fish. Meat only. Closed Sunday. No lunch any day and no cards. Opens at 6.30 pm. La Bitta is warmly recommended by several people. There is a small yard at the back and on the evening we were there, we were all passing around the essential mosquito spray provided, on request, by the waitress. We had one antipasto, a beautifully done Caprese salad with mozzarela, cherry tomatoes and lambs lettuce. Then we each had liver with onions that came with runny polenta. Fine, nothing special. The menu wasn't particularly Italian except for our choices. Whole bottle of wine, one antipasto and two secondi came to 56 euros. The street is a quick straight line from Vaporetto and museum Ca' Rezzonico. There are several other promising looking little places on this street.
OSTARIA AI 4 FERI, Calle Lunga S. Barnaba. Tel. 041 520 6978
Right before La Bitta. Closed Sunday. Recommended as small, unpretentious, friendly, neighbourhood place. We had only a vegetable antipasto, spaghetti vongole (9 euros) and a side salad. With half a liter of white this came to 27 euros.Pastas generally 15 and fish 15/16. Perfectly decent and cheap. No outdoor tables. Quick straight line from Vaporetto and museum Ca' Rezzonico.
RISTOTECA ONIGA, Campo San Barnaba. Tel 0415224410
No recommendations, we went here just because it was next to our apartment, open on Sunday and had shaded tables on the square. Closed Tuesday. We had one stuffed vegetable antipasto (14 euros) and two seafood pastas. Nothing special but perfectly fine. With Pellegrino and 3/4 liter of wine 50 euros. In the square S. Barnaba close to Bitta and 4 Freri. Vaporetto Rezzonico.
OSTARIA DA ROBIA, Fondamenta della Misericordia 2553. Tel 041 5244379.
Closed Monday. This was recommended by more people than anywhere else - perhaps partly because of moderate price and certainly because of quiet outdoor tables on a canal. We had good with cuttlefish and ink with a runny polenta, a disappointing pasta with duck ragu. Sweet wine with the usual bad Venetian cookies to dip. With half a liter of house wine and a small Pellegrino 42 euros. Our neighbours were eating main dish salads: one with tuna fish, the other with cheese I think. Salads included grated carrots and corn. This is about a 20 minute but straightforward walk from museum and Vaporetto Ca d'Oro. Up Fnd S Felice and along Misericordia (you pass Vini di Giglio).
OSTERIA PONTE DEL DIAVOLO. Tel 041 730 401. TORCELLO Island where we went to see the mosaics. We had two excellent seafood pastas (20 each) at the most luxurious of the three Torcello eateries, in a shaded garden. With half a liter of white, and warm rolls (better than most Ventian bread) total was 58 euros. Open only for lunch.You can't miss it, it is on the way to the mosaics.