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I just returned from 40 hours in Venice and couldn't be happier with the food! A big thank you to everyone here who helped me refine my eating itinerary. My kids (11, 9 and 5) were thrilled to have gelato 3 times during the stay and I was pleased by how easy it was to escape the crowds with just a little bit of planning. Now for the reviews!
Ostaria Boccadoro: Fantastic crudo, although the portion was very large. I had sea bream with honey and strawberries but the mixed platter would have been a better choice. My son was very happy with his sarde in saor and my daughter's mussels were fantastic. I had the gnocchetti with spider crab as my main and they were the most delicate gnocchi I have ever had. We went all out for dessert, with the kids all getting the chocolate mousse (with bunny ears for Easter), I had rosemary panna cotta and my husband had something that he enjoyed.
Antiche Carampane: One of the best meals of our entire trip. We were treated to little cones of perfectly fried zucchini strings to start. My son had scallops in a pea puree and then a fish dish (I was too busy with my own food to remember exactly what...) and raved nonstop about them. He especially loved the scallop roe. I had grilled octopus with spring vegetables and then a John Dory with baby artichokes. Everything was perfectly cooked and beautifully plated. The little kids had mixed fried seafood and I am in awe of the shatteringly crisp coating.
Magna Bevi Tasi: Only one stop on our bacaro crawl because the little one fell asleep. Lots of tasty nibbles, particularly a mushroom and unidentified cheese toast. We had a few croquettes, my son ordered a sandwich but it was mostly just point and eat. The boys ran around in the square while we finished our drinks.
La Cantina: This one was a bit of a letdown. The server was very nice but the food was unremarkable. The antipasti platter was lovely (fantastic Gorganzola dolce with preserved orange) but I don't really remember what else we had. It was lunchtime on Easter Sunday, so I'm not holding it against them.
Gelateria il Doge: Best gelato of the trip, hands down! I had Cream of the Doge (candied orange and chocolate), my daughter had the amarena and found all others lacking and my boys went for caramel and stracciatella.
La Mela Verde: Everything we had was creamy and not at all icy. The flavors weren't quite as stunning as at il Doge but we managed to finish everything.
Bacaro del Gelato: I had licorice which, while very well made, was just too much for an entire cup. We found this shop on the recommendation of our rowing teacher at Row Venice (which was a highlight of our trip--we rowed a gondola around the canals and into the lagoon!).
Pasticceria Chiusso: I snuck out early before the day trippers descended and it was just me and a handful of Venetians. The shop was dolled up for Easter and lots of people were picking up tarts and cakes to go. My macchiato and apple-marzipan pastry came to €3--best deal of the vacation!
We took a stroll through the Rialto market on Saturday morning and it was nice that it is still a local market, unlike the Campo de Fiori. We picked up a basket of wild strawberries watched the traghetto ply its way across the canal.
Venice was a delight, especially the moments when we found ourselves alone. We had a private glassblowing tutorial at Muranero, the Scuolo Grande di San Rocco was practically empty and the early mornings were blissful. I can't wait to go back and experience things with less of a rush.
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