Restaurants in Venice – 2023
An eclectic choice from the ‘Educated Traveller’
GRAND CANAL – The restaurant of the Monaco and Grand Canal Hotel is sublime. Beautifully located with views across the water to La Salute and San Giorgio Maggiore. Food is excellent, very Italian. Waiters are all ‘old school’ they’ve been there for years. Food is elegantly served. This is truly the gastronomic heart of Venice. The hotel is owned by the Benetton family. https://www.hotelmonaco.it/en/grand-canal-restaurant-venice-centre/
Verdict: very smart and stylish – great for watching the world go by!
GRITTI PALACE – Riva Terrace and Bar / Ristorante Doge – superb terrace over-looking the Grand Canal. High quality international-style dining.
SINA PALACE – Restaurant Antinoo’s – a modern and stylish restaurant with just a few tables outside. Located inside the Sina Palace Hotel. Fantastic, contemporary dishes. The chef gets a mention in the Michelin guide – views across the Grand Canal are wonderful. House Prosecco is Collalto (it’s excellent and moderately priced). Staff are really friendly. https://www.sinahotels.com/en/h/sina-centurion-palace-venice/
LA CALCINA – Dorsoduro – lovely outdoor terrace, over the water. Gorgeous views across Giudecca Canal. Straight forward and good quality menu, served by competent staff who have been there for years. Excellent lunch spot. www.lacalcina.com Walking distance from Accademia, La Salute and Grand Canal. Or you can take the ‘traghetto’ €2 per person ferry (like the locals). Good quality, straight forward dishes. French ownership.
CAFE SAN GIORGIO – on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore – Modern café on the island of San Giorgio, good for tea/coffee or light lunch. We usually pop in here when visiting the island. www.sangiorgio.cafe
CANNAREGIO – On the northern side of Venice in the Cannaregio district is the stylish and high quality Algiubagio Restaurant. There is a covered terrace for eating outside and the views towards San Michele (the cemetery island) are exceptional. This is the part of Venice where many Venetians live and work, you’ll see every kind of boat plying the waves here. Follow signs to Fondamente Nove. The food is high quality, modern and fairly light. https://www.algiubagio.net/eng/
BURANO – Burano is the fishermen’s island of the Venetian Lagoon it is famous for its colourful houses and charming little shops. Definitely allow time for shopping. The lace shops are a delight selling hand embroidered tablecloths, napkins, hankies – all hand embroidered. On the main street is Da Romano, a fabulous traditional trattoria with original art covering the walls. My favourite. This restaurant is an institution – the same family have run this restaurant for three generations. Authentic and wonderful. The quality is always the same. I’ve written about Da Romano on several occasions. The Art of Da Romano
The restaurant is famous for three different types of risotto. Their frittura mista (mixed fried fish of the lagoon) is pretty spectacular too. https://www.daromano.it/
Da Romano, Burano – Lagoon of Venice http://www.educated-traveller.com
During the warmer months eating out on a terrace overlooking the water in Venice, is truly one of life’s magical experiences. Take your time. Arrive at 12.30 pm and expect to still be there at 2.30 pm, it’s all part of the journey!
A lexicon of eateries in Italian:
BAR – the place you go for your morning coffee and a pastry. They usually sell breakfast pastries (brioche) and rather nice sandwiches (tramezzini). You might come back here in the evening for an aperitivo (before dinner) or a digestivo (liqueur) after dinner. Either way you’ll soon start to recognise familiar faces – Italians are very loyal to their local bar. A proper local bar will serve drinks for about €3-4 for a wine or a beer.
BACARO – usually a small place, often quite dark inside, originally selling wine by the glass. Now the best ‘bacari’ sell numerous cicchetti (bite-sized snacks) and a selection of beers and wines (often locally sourced). These places are packed between 4 pm and 8 pm. Italians will visit the Bacaro on the way home from work to have a drink and a snack and gossip with friends. You’ll spend about € 12 on a drink and a couple of cicchetti.
OSTERIA – A very simple restaurant, no tablecloths. They offer just a few different dishes, at least one pasta dish, probably something ‘al forno’ cooked in the oven and maybe a seasonal delicacy. The local dish could be very local indeed. Wild boar in Umbria ‘cinghiale’ or something with ‘polenta’ in Venice. The menu is usually written on the wall in chalk and changes every day. Maybe about € 30 per person, including a glass or two of wine and 2 courses.
TRATTORIA – A larger restaurant with a printed menu and lots of choice. There will be starters and main courses, loads of choice and perhaps pizza too (although often pizza is served just in the evening). Typically a trattoria has been in the same ownership for generations. You can tell the good ones – they are always full of Italians! The cost is about € 40 per person (2/3 courses and wine)
RISTORANTE – A more formal dining experience. Tablecloths, smart waiters, elegant interior. Possibly a complimentary aperitivo on arrival! Often they’ll ask you if you want to eat meat or fish. In Italy most diners do not mix their courses, they either eat fish or meat at a meal, not both. A ristorante will probably have a meat menu and a fish menu. Usually they will specialise in one or the other. Nowadays there will also be vegetarian options (occasionally vegan too). Often there will be fresh fish (whole) being paraded around to show diners the quality of the ‘catch’. There’s usually a really good wine list too. You’ll spend at least € 60 per person in a good ristorante. Although you’ll almost certainly get a complimentary limoncello at the end of the meal too.
NOTE: The indefatigable Monica Cesarato has written a book about the bacari of Venice – she also does tours to the ‘bacari’ which I’m sure are a lot of fun. Her book ‘Andar per Bacari’ lists the author’s favourite watering holes. It is nicely written and illustrated, so even though its in italian – it is still useful as a guide and to suggest different ‘bacari’ to visit.
- Boun Appetito!
- #grandtourist #bacari #monicacesarato #educatedtraveller
- For more on ‘bacari’ www.monicacesarato.com
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