Oct 15 2012

Venice – 2012

Published by at 6:44 pm under Venice Restaurants

This year, for the first time, we went to Venice in September. We had been there in May and June previously. The good news was that we could enjoy the architecture biennale and the collateral shows by waiting until the fall. The exhibit that I enjoyed the most was at the Cini Foundation on Isola San Giorgio of the Scarpa designs for the Venini glass works. (BTW, as I write in December, 2013, this terrific show is now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC!!) Not only were the beauty and breadth of the glass amazing, the descriptions of the processes were pitched perfectly to nonprofessionals who wanted some technical explanations. The Correr also had a wonderful show of Guardi paintings; I now understand the connection between his works and Canaletto.

The bad news was that moeche (soft shell crabs) and local, Sant’ Erasmo, artichokes were no longer in season.

I thought it would be helpful to give some guidance about the practices and prices in restaurants in Venice. It is always correct to make a reservation, even if it is 15 minutes before you are about to arrive. Even modest restaurants might address you with disdain if you have not made a reservation in advance.  This includes lunch as well as dinner. We found that almost all of our favorite restaurants have two seatings at dinner: one at 7:00 or 7:30 and the next at 9:00 or 9:30. For lunch, it is best, and sometimes necessary, to arrive before 1:45. While it is done by some tourists, getting take away and eating on steps, benches and other public places is really frowned upon. Good restaurants do not serve fish on Sunday or Monday because the fish markets are closed on those days.

Please note that you can share any course between 2 people without any sour looks from your waitperson. Also, you do not have to order several courses. We frequently have just 2 and on occasion just a main course:

In a very good restaurant, plus or minus a euro or two:

Antipasto: 25; Primo (Pasta): 16; Secondo (main course): 25; Dessert: 10; Coffee: 3; Bottle of house wine: 20; Water: 5.

So, 2 people with very healthy appetites can anticipate a bill of about 180. With some sharing, 120 for 2 people is about par.

In a very expensive restaurant, add 10 to 15 to each course. We choose not to dine in these restaurants since the value just doesn’t seem to be there.

In a modest restaurant, subtract about 5 to 10 from each course.

Pizza, which is served as individual pies, costs about 8 to 10  and is a good deal for the budget conscious.

Cicchetti (tapas or snacks) cost about 1each. We have found that 3 or 4 of these can be quite satisfying.  I have even ordered just one when passing by because it looked particularly interesting and I was a little peckish. One dines standing up at the bar or in the environs of the bar.

There are many places that sell sandwiches; but I am not a big fan of spongy white bread, so I’ve never tried them.

Coffee and a  pastry, standing up at the counter, costs about 2.

While I generally like to sit down and have a quiet interesting lunch, sometimes I indulge in a progressive lunch: an apple in the garden of the pensione as a healthy start, 3 or 4 cicchetti with a small glass of prosecco at Gia Schiave – the local bacaro (wine bar), and then on to Tonolo for a coffee and pastry. Delicious, satisfying and cheap (7.) (And no calories, right? Standing up and walking between courses.)

This year’s restaurant choices:

Antiche Carampane, in San Polo sestiere, is still our favorite. The food is always delicious and the service excellent. I think I have eaten almost everything on the menu at one time or another. Finding it is a bit of a challenge but Google maps does a good job of giving directions.

Ai Artisti, on Rua Toletta in Dorsoduro, serves excellent dishes. I sometimes just have a pasta course and no one seems to mind even if the restaurant is very small.

La Favorita on the Lido has tasty and somewhat different food from the main part of Venice. I had a delicious pasta with lobster for lunch.

B Ristorante on Murano had very good mussels in a pleasant if bustling outdoor setting.

Algiu Bagio, on the Fondamenta Nove in Cannaregio (the restaurant, not the snack shop a few doors down) has an unusual decor and also delicious food.

Alla Zucca in San Polo has very interesting vegetable preparations. I like to go there for lunch.

La Fontanella on the Giudecca provided a tasty lunch. We have only been here once.

Casein dei Nobili on the Zattere in  Dorsoduro (not the one on Rua Toletta) has very good pizza and good mussels. They tend to use quite a bit of salt.

Le Cafe in Campo San Stefano in San Marco has tasty salads and hot or toasted sandwiches.

Pier Dickens in Campo Santa Margherita in Dorsoduro has good pizza. Seems to attract beer drinking tourists.

Do Torri, next door, same owners (used to be Due Torre with different owners) is not bad, not great.

Oniga in Campo San Barnaba in Dorsoduro has a very tasty vegetable plate with several different preparations. Good for lunch.

Disappointments (ok, I am a bit fussy):

Agli Alboretti in Dorsoduro used to be great, then it was closed for awhile, now it is awful. Very heavy handed with dried herbs to the point of inedible.

Avogaria in Dorsoduro used to have tasty, somewhat unusual, preparations. This year it was just plain bad.

Ai Gondolieri in Dorsoduro was expensive and not worth it.

Beccafico in Campo San Stefano in San Marco was disappointing this year. The bread covered mussels had a lot of unbaked bread on the dish. I do not plan to go back.

Da Montin, in Dorsoduro, used to be our favorite go-to restaurant. We have now dropped it from our list. The food just wasn’t very good, at least by our measure. We did, however, hear others in our pensione rave about it.

One response so far

One Response to “Venice – 2012”

  1. Jim Stewarton 10 Jun 2013 at 8:39 am

    Hi, nice article. I really like it!

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