Return to Venice, just 2 days
After a 2 year absence, I'm finally going back to venice, but alas only for the weekend, and I'm looking to really treat myself I wonder if anybody's been recently to some of my old favorites to see how they are holding up, or can recommend something new
Il Vecchio Fritolin
Anice Stellata (on its way down last time i was there)
I know its been years since it was great, but does anybody know if Fiore pulled it self together? It used to be amazing, and last time I was there every once and awhile it still was great, but it was also not great as frequently......
We were in Venice late April/early May & I'm a long time regular on CH in the NYC Outer Boroughs' board. Some highlights:
Hosteria Al Vecio Bragosso (on Strada Nuova), was recommended/ reserved for us by our hosts. However, went up to our room to get ready and pulled out some recommendations I had taken with me & there was a post from CH ("Adam", from his Feb trip -- see above), saying that he found this "locals" restaurant w/an assist from his water taxi driver & had one of his best dinners there. Well, it was quite good. Shared an app. of scallops in the shells, both large and small, which was very fresh and excellent with some evoo. My pasta course (I'm really not a risotto person) was paparadelle w/mushrooms, more scallops & light cream. Great. Then, pieces of "angler fish" (?? -- is this related to monkfish? Similar texture-taste) with polenta cakes. Also great. Ginny had a whole fish, I think a small sea bass, which was meaty, simply grilled w/polenta cakes. Grappa and espresso, no dessert. Total bill before tip (service wasnt included -- unusual, perhaps to capitalize on tourist dollar tipping?) was 86 euros. I wouldn't mind this place in my neighborhood.
We wound up at Al Bacareto, Calle delle Boteghe 3447 in San Marco for another dinner. While nothing incredible (at least by local standards), it was a very good meal (for B'klynites, think Noodle Pudding +). Pasta w/anchovy, a very good Venetian liver, orata for Ginny, some local wine, etc.... about 80 euros and very satisfying. If it was in my neighborhood, I'd go there regularly as well.
Dinner at Alle Testiere lived up to the hype. It doesnt look like a fussy fancy place and it isnt. It's a nice warm place in a well lit art filled room with an upbeat friendly style. There are 2 seatings and we had reserved a table in the earlier 7pm one. There was no pressure to turn over the table for the next seating and we had a great meal. Starting with prosecco, Ginny had fried then marinated soft shell crabs as her 1st course, then spaghetti vongole, then sea bass, finishing with a choc. cake. I had a perfect shrimp and artichoke salad, gnochetti w/monkfish, then tuna balsemic w/strawberries. Finished with assorted cheeses. With wine and water and a good tip, this ran 200 euros but was much more than equal to the cost. Highly recommended & obviously well known even to non-CH/MF/OA/eG folks, as the next table over was a party of 4 from Park Slope. They like al di la, so we were civil to them.
We just got back from a wonderful week in Venice - where we were very pleasantly surprised by how good and, compared to NYC, reasonably priced the food was. Our favourite dinners were at Alle Testiere and Vini da Gigio - superb seafood, very welcoming service, and excellent wines at both; on the margin, we preferred Alle Testiere, but you can't miss at either - go to both! We went to Da Fiore, and while the food was first rate, it was by no means better than AT and VdG and it cost more than twice as either. Wonderful panini at Da Marco by the Rialto and the Pesceria, which has been mentioned before on Chowhound; and, of course, the world's best martinis at Harry's Bar - didn't even bother to look at the menu given how absurd the prices are...
I would like to comment that Alle Testiere is quite good regarding the food, but not extraordinary, just average. What IS extraordinary are the prices they are charging...
If you pass Alle Testiere and go across the piazza into the Calle Lungo S.M.Formosa, you will find a more old fashioned bacaro, the Al Mascaron. This place has excellent seafood at half the price of Alle Testiere !!
And for high end dining the best price/value performance is still at Fiaschetteria Toscana.
Our water taxi driver recommended a 'locals' restaurant that turned out to be one of the best dinners from our february 2006 trip.
The restaurant is called Hosteria Al Vecio Bragosso and it's located on Strada Nuova in Cannaregio. The staff was very friendly, the atmosphere is great and the fresh seafood was awesome. We had the pasta e fagioli soup, the pasta of the day which consisted of tagliolini with fresh tuna sauce and grilled sole.