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Venezia / Worth a try?

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Gerard Jul 2, 2006 07:32 PM

I was thinking of trying Venezia on University.

My Berkeley friends have very mixed opinions. What are yours?

G

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  1. joltgrrl RE: Gerard Jul 3, 2006 04:10 AM

    I have eaten at Venezia for years (since it was 2 places, Café Venezia and Ristoranté Venezia up-the-block). I have always appreciated their commitment to good ingredients, the robustness of the dishes and the friendly service. John Solomon, the owner, is one of the founders of the annual Only In Berkeley Parade.

    4 Replies
    1. re: joltgrrl
      Melanie Wong RE: joltgrrl Jul 3, 2006 04:30 AM

      Have you tried Venezia's malfatti?

      1. re: Melanie Wong
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        Gerard RE: Melanie Wong Jul 5, 2006 01:10 PM

        Malfatti, you say? Now that makes the place extra intriguing. Do you know if they make it with or without ricotta?

        Thanks,
        G

        1. re: Gerard
          Melanie Wong RE: Gerard Jul 5, 2006 03:19 PM

          Sorry, don't know, never been and the menu doesn't specify.

          http://cafevenezia.com/page/o0gx/Dinn...

          Had some malfatti in Napa on Sunday, on my mind.

      2. re: joltgrrl
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        thegrinch RE: joltgrrl Jul 5, 2006 04:11 AM

        I don't believe John Solomon owns Venezia any longer. He sold to three long-time employees who are very committed to the Venezia concept. Venezia has had its ups and downs since the chef who made Ristorante Venezia so good died, just as they were combining the Caffe and the Ristorante into the current single location. I have a fondness for the place but haven't eaten there much in the last few years.

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        cwujd1 RE: Gerard Jul 3, 2006 08:26 PM

        I haven't eaten there in years, but I still occasionally dream about Venezia's carbonara. Crispy pancetta and a traditional coating of egg and cheese, not a puddle of sauce like some places serve. I wonder if they still serve it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: cwujd1
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          Grocers Daughter RE: cwujd1 Jul 4, 2006 04:52 AM

          They still serve it. I always unimaginatively order the carbonara and cesar salad every time I go...and steal bites of other dishes from my dining companion :)

          1. re: cwujd1
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            nja RE: cwujd1 Jul 5, 2006 06:11 PM

            I haven't had it in years, but I used to love their carbonara. I can't remember having a better version in a restaurant in the USA. It rivaled some of the best I had in Italy. The espresso cake for dessert was also good. But other than those two items, I remember everything else there being no better than average Cal-Ital food.

            -nick

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            jiongliu RE: Gerard Jul 4, 2006 07:55 PM

            I had a terrible experience at Venezia a couple of months ago that I need to share. Me and my bf arrived on a Thursday night at 6pm. There were many empty tables for 2 but we were not seated immediately. We sat at the bar and watched 3 tables of larger parties get seated first. When I asked the hostess how much longer we needed to wait about 15 minutes later, she said that she could now seat us even though nothing had changed with the 2 person tables since we had arrived. I ordered the meatballs and my bf order the mushroom pasta special. My meatballs were disgusting. They tasted like and felt like bologna formed into ball form. My boyfriend's pasta was way undercooked even though the sauce was still good making the pasta inedible. The entire length of our dinner, there was another empty 2 person table right next to us. Towards the end of our meal, the hostess seated a couple at that table and apologized to them for their wait. She even told them that it wasn't her fault that people took too long eating dessert and that she sometimes shoots them leering glances to try to speed them up. This table had been empty for the past hour! My opinion: terrible service (mostly the hostesses fault) and bad food. Go to Eccolo or Rivoli instead. I would even say go to Gypsy's by campus than go to Venezia.

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              katya RE: Gerard Jul 4, 2006 10:03 PM

              I remember loving the four cheese pasta when I was last there six or so years ago. My friends loved the pasta with the smoked chicken, but I was underwhelmed.

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                ptrichmondmike RE: Gerard Jul 5, 2006 01:30 PM

                I just ate at Venezia this weekend for the first time in about four years. The carbonara was as heavenly as I remembered, and my companion ordered and loved the puttanesca. Ceasar salad was excellent. But we didn't get beyond pasta this time, so I can't vouch for other dishes.

                My experience with Venezia goes back 20 or so years, and I've rarely been disappointed. Personally, I like the neo-hokey decor.

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