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16 Places

Restaurants & Bars

Venice Trip Report April 2019

wendyrobin | Apr 28, 201912:22 PM     1

We just ended 12 days in Venice, staying in an apartment in Dorsoduro. With the help of Elizabeth Minchilli’s app, Michela Scibilia’s app, and friends’ recommendations, we ate at these places, with comments on each.

Best overall
• Corte Sconta: Best dinner we had in Venice. We started with the seafood tasting menu appetizer – 3 courses for 28 euros each. So very expensive. But totally worth it. The first course was 2 types of crudo (sea bream and tuna) with lovely and creative seasonings, plus a crab spread on toast. Second course was steamed clams. Third course was spider crab and a platter of various types of cooked fish – shrimp, cuttlefish, baccala on polenta and grilled sardines. After that we only had room to split a pasta course; we picked squid ink spaghetti with clams and mussels. And we did finish it off with their house specialty dessert, zabaione and biscuits. Everything was delicious and the service was impeccable.
• Osteria alle Testiere: Dinner reservations were booking 6 weeks out (!) as the email auto-response stated, but we were able to get a table for lunch within 2 days. No phone reservations; only via email. Small “hole in the wall” type of place but excellent food and warm, competent service. We shared a “caprese salad” to start which had the expected tomatoes and burrata cheese, but much more. It had 4 large grilled prawns, melon, and something else I can’t remember. We then split a ravioli with tuna sauce and then each had a different grilled fish for our mains. I had swordfish and my husband had monkfish. Email before you travel to ensure you get a table.
• Ristorante al Covo: We’re repeat customers here. Food and service are both excellent. Upscale atmosphere and you pay for it. The owner is a long-time Venice resident from Texas and very warm and friendly. I can’t remember what we had.
• Ca’ D’Oro alla Vedova: Very old restaurant with delicious food. For Cicchetti stand up at the bar, or eat outside. We ate inside for a regular meal and had meatballs, sarde in saor, and spaghetti alle vongole. All delicious.

Other really good meals
• Impronta Café: Very modern and stylish downtown café that seems to get a fair number of local businesspeople. Delicious and creative food. Interestingly, if you get the English menu you don’t get the daily specials, so be sure to ask for at least one Italian menu.
• Trattoria Antiche Carampane: Small, warm place with delicious food. We started with the crudo appetizer which was fantastic.
• Ai Promessi Spossi: Classic Venetian food, all delicious and the warmest, friendliest service we found in Venice. The menu is only in Italian, but the all-female waitstaff will take all the time in the world to describe each dish in English. Delicious fritto misto and grilled fish.
• Osteria Anice Stellato: We had a special Easter lunch menu on “Pasquetto” (Monday after Easter) when they are normally closed on Mondays. Fairly expensive but worth every penny. Green and white asparagus with a soft-boiled egg and complicated sauces, plus an excellent grilled fish with creamed potato and vegetables. We sat outside on the side of the canal and took about 2 hours with the lunch and bottle of wine.
• La Palanca: Beautiful spot on the water in Giudecca; try to sit outside. Good seafood antipasto and ravioli. I didn’t love the cuttlefish in black squid ink, as I found it too strong, but my Italian friend enjoyed it.

OK meals
• Osteria ai Carmini: Hidden in Dorsoduro, but steps from our apartment so we went there our first night. Tiny restaurant, very good seafood antipasto and pastas.
• Osteria ai 4 Feri: Good classic Venetian food, but tiny spot with variable service. Excellent grilled sea bream and monkfish.
• La Bitta: What are we missing? A friend who stayed in Venice for 3 months on a teaching stint rated it her favorite restaurant in Venice; also gets good reviews from others. No fish, so the place to go for meat dishes. Great starters, but the mains were very weak. Veal chunks in a totally uninspired red pepper sauce that tasted like it came from a can. Duck with chicken liver sauce that had no nuance whatsoever.

Cicchetti – we often did this for dinner when we’d had a full restaurant meal at lunch
• Cantina da Mori: We enjoyed our stand-up lunch of cicchetti. Very old restaurant with bottled and unbottled wine. Regulars (older men, presumably from the nearby Rialto market stands) stand at one end of the bar, tourists stand at the other. We stood at the end with the regulars and felt totally comfortable.
• El Sbarlefo: We went 3 times. Very stylish bar, better cicchetti than most. Rather than giving you a crostini that’s been sitting in the case already made, they toast a slice of bread on the spot and top it with baccala, cold cuts, etc. They also have good balls of deep-fried olives.
• Basego: Went twice. Very buzzy cicchetti bar. There’s good space inside, but most people spill out onto the campo and tables outside. Reasonable cicchetti – mostly toppings on slices of bread. Come here for the great vibe of the place.
• Osteria alla Bifora: More than cicchetti, a great bustling wine bar with a good vibe. Very little cooked food; the specialty is cold antipasti, especially meats.

Corte Sconta
Osteria Alle Testiere
Al Covo
Cà D'Oro alla Vedova
Impronta Cafe Restaurant
Trattoria Antiche Carampane
Ai Promessi Sposi
Osteria Anice Stellato
La Palanca
Osteria Ai Carmini Di Biasotto Daniele
Osteria Ai 4 Feri
La Bitta
Cantina Do Mori
El Sbarlefo
Basegó
Osteria Alla Bifora
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