Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Venetian Feast...

Diplo-husband has declared enough with the Venice posts, but I still have one more before we wrap up.  Most people will tell you that Venice isn't much for dining, and that can be true.  But if you look beyond the usual haunts, you can actually find some excellent restaurants both from a food quality and service perspective.  Over three years, we've managed to gather some faves:

For Lunch on a Sunny Saturday:
Al Muro e Vino - As this restaurant is located in the Campo Bella Vienna, we have a natural inclination to like it.  But the owner serves up a fresh plate of the day on Saturdays outside and eight euros will get you a plate of it, as well as a glass of white wine.  Aperol Spritz and cicchetti can be found inside - the people watching is excellent during Carnival, and if you're coming from the Rialto market, it will be right on your way.

For Lunch on a Sunny Sunday:
Le Cafe - This is another place where people watching is half the fun as this Campo attracts all sorts of street performers and musicians which make for built in entertainment.  The menu is simple but good - I always tend to stick to the crepes, and the bakery serves up their desserts.  Waiters clad in brown sweaters speak English and have a great sense of humor.

For an inexpensive lunch on the go:
Pizza Stand, Calle delle Ostreghe, Right by Campo San Maurizio -  Honestly, I don't even know the name of this pizzeria - it's a little storefront that sells by the slice, for 2.50 euro a slice no matter the flavor.  Recognize it by the inviting aroma of wood-fire oven crust and  the mob of people crammed in the little foyer.  Pick up two slices and a drink and then enjoy in the Campo.

For an afternoon pick-me-up:
Rosa Salva - A bakery, cafe and restaurant all in one.  There are several locations around Venice, but while you're there, pick up some pastries and S cookies for the road and then wave the bag around local Venetians for street credibility.

For a sparkly aperitif hour that doubles as dinner:
Al Prosecco - It's a bar named after prosecco - what could be better? Perhaps only a bar named after Champagne.  Not only does the Prosecco flow freely, they do a legit job with the cicchetti during apertif hour so that you could easily make a meal out of it.

For a modern Venetian dinner:
Linea D'Ombra - gorgeous water front location with a terrace when the weather is nice (largely at lunchtime) and a minimalist interior for evening, this restaurant has been featured in lots of articles.  The food is first class, book a table early on or have your concierge help you out.

For the tragically hip dinner:
Centrale Lounge - On a side canal, this place is a bit creepy Venice meets some of the only mod action in town.  Even with the hipness the food is quite good and interior design definitely something to take note of.

For great pizza, decent beer and a warm atmosphere:
Antica Birraria La Corta - It used to be a barn to house bulls, but when the Austrians rolled into town, they established the first brewery in this 16th century building.  Fantastic pizza and a gorgeous courtyard in Campo San Polo for the warm weather with reasonable prices too.

For a great pizza when you run out of money:
Al Nono Risorto: Right under a sottoportego, this place can be a bit hard to find but worth it.  Great pizza and not to shabby pasta dishes, the food comes cheap but is of great quality.  Plus this place is on the way to the train station if that's how you'll be leaving town.  Note, they only take cash but you won't need much.  No website for this one, that's how low key this is.
Sottoportego  de la Siore Bettina
Calle de la Regina
2337 Santa Croce

And a nightcap no trip is complete with:
Harry's Bar - Warning, like Florian's, if you come here acting like a tourist, you'll be treated like a tourist.  That's the long and short of it.  Harry's isn't for everyone - it's got no view, it's got high prices, it hasn't been renovated anytime in my lifetime, and service can be variable.  That being said, it's steeped in history and there's just something about it that relives another era with their white jacketed waiters and veneer clad walls.  Come in, order a bellini, enjoy the olives and relish the fact that when you come back, whenever it may be, Harry's will still be there waiting for you.

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