venice, florida...come on, chowhounds!
Have worked in Venice for the past 17 years. There's not a whole lot of great food. The Crows Nest is a pretty good place to eat and they have a decent wine list. Sharky's is a tourist trap but I am always amazed how many local people still go there. It's probably because most of them are only a year or two past being tourists themselves.
There are a couple of other bright spots. Luna's is a great place for pasta and pizza, the Soda Fountain on Venice Ave. isn't the greatest food or the greatest ice cream but you have to go just to sit at real soda fountain, you can even order a real phosphate made the old fashioned way. Bogey's is the best sports bar and the food is pretty good too (same owner as Crow's Nest). If your looking for a good cup of coffee or something for lunch, try Bella Luna on the corner of Miami Ave and Nokomis Ave. Good wraps!
If you hear that Venice is old that's because it is. I think that's why the food is so forgettable. I'm sure there plenty of older folks who enjoy a great meal but in Venice the most important thing is how cheap it is and how early do they serve dinner.
Luna has the best Italian food in Venice, case closed. Their pizza is like heaven, and their other dishes are great. We go there at least once a week. They accept no credit cards, but will take a check. There are two locations, one downtown Venice, and the original which is in South Venice across from Wal Mart.
We stopped briefly in Venice on a drive down the coast and had decent red-sauce Italian at Luna, in the old center of town. Casual, neighborhood-style pizza and pasta place with clebrity photos and New York sports memorabilia on the walls. We were very happy with a crisp Caesar salad and al dente penne with a really good, garlicky ground hot-sausage sauce. Other diners seemed pretty happy, too; it seems to be a local mainstay.
Incidentally, portions are enormous. We took the waitress's advice and shared a *reduced-size* entree and salad and had leftovers. I'm not a big fan of quantity over quality, but the quality was really good for inexpensive Italian.
We were only in town for a few hours, but Venice looked like a mighty fine place to collapse on the beach all day, have a leisurely dinner in the evening without getting dressed up, and turn in early. Not everyplace needs to be South Beach or Naples, and I'm thankful for that.