Eating in Venice is an adventure and a gamble. Our list of restaurants is by no means a complete list. We'll review some other restaurants later. The food is expensive and since they have a new boatload of tourists each day, the need to keep the quality, flavor and service up doesn’t exist. Locals don’t eat out often, or believe me the food would improve immediately.
We usually eat with friends in their homes; however, I have been forbidden to give out the addresses, though they rank well above any of the restaurants below. With our friends, we eat the freshest of vegetables and fish & other local items. We go to the vineyards outside of Venice and bring our wine home in plastic jugs where we bottle it according to the little printed paper they give us with the signs of the moon. Maybe we’ll never get a 99 in Wine Spectator, but we have fun! As I explain to any friends or family who join me at in Venetian homes, if they make it, we eat it. Drink more wine!
Restaurants in Venice are expensive anyone’s standards. It is a tourist town situated in the middle of a lagoon, thus everything they serve to you has been brought in by boat. The cost of property is beyond outrageous and the cost of labor high.
Traditional foods in Venice mostly comes from the lagoon. The fisherman of Burano are renown as the provider of fish and today the lagoon is subdivided into farms where they carry on their tradition. In the season, we find a small boat by the bridge near our apartment in Murano with the night’s catch for sale, especially schie, a very small anchovy size fish served fried, in risotto and polenta.
Here is a list of a few of the traditional foods, read well so you can either avoid them on any menu or be brave and try a few.
1. Baccala (dried salted cod( served in several ways, but most popular is Baccala Mantecatao , where the cod is rehydrated and creamed with olive oil, much like making mayonnaise. The rehydration preparation takes two days and the creaming up to an hour. So if someone makes it for you, you’d best eat every bite and tell them how wonderful it is.
2. Sarde in Saor – Fried Sardines and onions marinated in vinegar
3. Sepe al Nero – Cuttlefish cooked in their ink. It can be served several ways, in pasta where the pasta looks black, with Risotto, where the rice looks black,
4. Fegato ala veneziana – Liver chopped and cooked together with onions.
5. Bigoli in salsa – A pasta served with anchovy and onion sauce and less commonly found on the menu.
6. Moéche, a small lagoon crab(granchio), in the soft shell phase, battered and fried (This one scrumptious, but available only in season (March-April and October –November). It is the job of the fisherman of Burano to carefully watch the for the perfect moment to harvest these and get the to the restaurants and fish market immediately.
Famous, expensive but worth it for a once in a lifetime experience. Experience or view may exceed the quality or taste of the food!
1. Hotel Cipriani Fortuny Restaurant located o the island of Giudecca . A private launch from San Marco provides the transporation. Exclusive with amazing view, and obviously expensive. You can also arrive by vaporetto.
2. Do Forni $$$$ Calle dei Specchieri, 468 Venice 30124, Telephone 041-523-2148 (Reservation) It is expensive and the food is classic Venetian, so save your money unless you like fish.
3. Il Trattoria al Gatto Nero da Ruggero on the island of Burano. This is a very popular local restaurants for Venetian Wedding parties as well so it’s good to have a reservation. You can arrive via the #12 Line from Fondamenta Nove in Venice or catch it in Murano.
Restaurants We frequent in Venice, please don’t write me if you go and it’s horrible.
1. Osteria Mocenigo, Santa Croce 1919, Salizada, Boat Stop San Stae and just straight ahead across from the Palazzo with the same name, Palazzo Mocenigo. It’s not expensive, filled with locals, noisy and makes a great place for us to take the kids. They serve traditional Italian, including roasted lamb, spaghetti Bolognese (with meat sauce), chicken.
2. Osteria alla Vedova, Calle del Pistor 3912, near the Ca’d’oro Vaporetto stop. When you walk into the Strada Nuova from the boat stop it will be directly across and set back.. It’s all Venetian, enjoy scampi and listen to the locals and catch a little Venetian dialect.
3. Osteria Giorgione, attached to the Hotel of the same name, Cannaregio 45827a Calle Larga dei Proverbi. Boat Stop Ca’d’oro or Fdta Nova. Again the food is mostly traditional Venetian, but good.
4. Algiubagio Restaurante, Fondamenta Nuova, Cannaregio 5039 Tel: 041 52 36 084. Originally a bar serving cafe & pastries, wine and sandwiches to the vaporetto workers and locals, over the years it has changed into a full restaurant. It’s perfect for Americans as they listen to Giulio’s collection of jazz and one of the few places you can get a steak. Reservations aren’t necessary and if you have to wait, sit outside on the terrace looking over to Murano.
I recommend their cappuccino, the Raboso (a red wine from the Veneto region) and the Spritz, a Venetian drink of white wine and aperol or bitters. As it is so close to the vaporetto to Murano, I stop in morning, noon and night. Do tell them Brenda sent you!
5. Trattoria Giorgione, Castello 1533, Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, It’s noisy, people burst into songs, especially the owner Bisutto. Great experience – and all Venetian Foods (see list above). For an evening you won’t forget along with traditional Venetian folk songs.
6. Trattoria Da Remigio, Castello 3416 Salizada dei Greci, 041 523 0089. Recommend reservations. If moeche are in season, don’t waste your money or calories on anything else. And the Sgroppino, a Venetian Cocktails are superb – but watch how many you drink. (They go down easy, but they are strong, vodka and limon gelato and Prosecco.)
7. Pizzeria Trattoria Vesuvio, Sestiere Cannaregio, 1837 Venice 041 795688 (near the boat stop San Marcuola and the TIM store on Strada Nuova. It has air conditioning. Not expensive and the pizza is good (for Venice). It has outside dining as well.
8. Il Caffé Florian in Piazza San Marco, opened in 1720. Sit outside, buy a bottle of prosecco and listen to the orchestra.
9. La Columbina in Cannaregio, The owner is from Sicily so the food is a mix of northern and southern. There is also a selection of meats. They have just moved, so we'll get the correct address shortly.
10. Bàcaro Jazz has a great selection of jazz music on CD and a friendly, casual atmosphere. It is located near Coin the department store not too far from Rialto Bridge. It is one of the few places serving American cocktails. So if you are in need of Jack Daniels, you’ll find it here. It is also open late, a plus in Venice.
Restaurants I go to in Murano: In Murano, the restaurants are generally less expensive than Venice. However, they are open mostly for lunch (il pranzo) though recently their has been a joint movement to keep at least one open at night during tourist season.
Since friends or family friends own these I will leave the critique to you! There are other restaurants, some better, or worse. As we have been coming for about 20 years, we are not experiencing it as a tourist, the waiters we know by name, and we have long ago chosen our favorite dishes on the menu.
1. Antica Trattoria Muranese –Rivalonga, 20, Murano 30100, 041 739 610 Good friends own this restaurant. It’s not expensive, great terrace out back for hot days. I recommend the Scampi Fritti (Fried Shrimp) or the assorted (a place of fish, shrimp & calamari fried). The salads are fresh and check for the daily special. It is just down from the Museo boat stop in Murano.
2. Da Tandue, Fdm Manin (between 2nd and 3rd bridge) This has been a home away from home for us for many years. We sit and write orders here, catch the locals at the bar, take an espresso and hold impromptu meetings.
3. Al Soffiador connected to the small hotel by the same name (just off the boat stop Il Faro). In the summer you can sit outside on the small piazza.
4. Ristorante Pizzeria Marlin Fdm Dei Vetrai, not too far from Colona the boat stop, before the 1st bridge. There is an inside air conditioned room if it is hot, another of our impromptu offices where we can talk quietly.
5. Al Ponte, a sandwich, pastry, gelato & great espresso. Just at the foot of the bridge to Riva Longa. Packed with locals, it’s a frequent choice when we are in a hurry and on any occasion for a coffee!
6. NEW: Acqua Stanca Osteria, Fdm Manin near the 2nd bridge – Opened in May 2012 on the site of a former panifico (bakery) with a couple of famous Muranese last names, Nason and Arcangeli, with only 24 seats serving local fare, cicheti and Veneto wines. The co-owner worked for 8 years for Harry’s Bar catering, great training for the restaurant business.
We will update this from time to time to add a few quick places for lunch, great sandwiches in 30 minutes or less and affordable. If you have a favorite, send to us and we'll add to our list or if you found an absolutely horrible one, send to us so we don't add to the list.
(Note that in Venice there are two spellings for many words, the old Venetian spelling and the Italian spelling. For many I choose the Venetian as it is how I learned it. It may not be correct in Italian, but in Venice it will mark you are a local!)