Venice - 40th Birthday Trip
My husband and I are going to Venice for my 40th birthday in November (yes, I will bring rubber boots). He has been to Venice several times, but this is my first time. I'm a bit overwhelmed by the restaurant choices and while I have read many of the posting on this site, I am still having trouble picking a range of different kinds of experiences. We will be there for 7 days. I would love your list of the perfect food week in Venice (I know that is a tall order, but I'd really appreciate any input). Thanks so much for your help.
One week in Venice is considerably long. Apart from my favourite, MET, one Michelin-Star, http://www.hotelmetropole.com/eng/buffetmet.htm you should consider at least one one-day excursion:
1. Do not stay on the main street. For example you can rent a bike and discover. In walking distance is La Favorita. Via Francesca Duodo 33.
2. If you happen to stay in one of the Starwood hotels: take their shuttle to Excelsior. From there are in walking distance several nice restaurants, for example Adrianas, just across the street.
3. Next island is Pellestrina: Da Celeste, via Vianelli. You have to take the bus or cab (10 miles) and the ferry. They serve in phase with the ferry, i.e. if you tell, they make sure, you reach the next boat/bus, which goes only on the hour or so. Seating with view over the lagoon.
1. There will be organized excursions, but you can go by train or cab as well. Around 20 miles. The city is a gem itself and offers some if Italy ́s most important historic addresses. Foodwise the local food hall, downtown, is worth visiting and in walking distance you find many simple but typical restaurants. In the suburbs, in Rubano, (cab, avoid public transportation!) is Calendre. Supposedly one of the 3 best restaurants in Italy, 3 (!) Michelin-Stars: http://www.calandre.com .
2. Between Venice and Padova is the Brenta river, with many ancient mansions. (Venices Long Island since the 16th century). You can go there by organized tour (bus, boat) or better by rental car or cab. There are countless restaurants (you find them by following yellow signs) with exciting food to discover, just to mention Nalin (my favourite) or Margerita in the village of Mira or Villa Goetzen http://www.villagoetzen.it or Villa mergerita http://www.villananimocenigo.com in Dolo
There is certainly much more than a week's worth of sightseeing and eating in Venice and the lagoon. A daytrip to Padua, Vicenza or Verona is good too, trains are quick. For a week I would definitely pick up the Michela Scibilia guidebook Venice Eateries (Osterie) the italian version works fine as well as the English - its available at bookstores and stands all over the place, maroon and white, I think. It provides a map with restaurant locations all over the city which is helpful, since to take advantage of your week, you will be walking all over the place.
The Rough Guide map is best - because it is accurate, helpfully waterproof and non-tearable and because it also is marked with reliable restaurants.
Just a couple of recommendations - La Zucca, great vegetable and meat dishes (rich cuisine, a good dinner spot), Da Sandro nr San Barnaba in Dorsoduro, great winebar for lunch, delicious Friulian specialties, Anice Stellato in Cannaregio, intelligent young hosts, nice informal atmosphere, fine and innovative cooking. Out of season the Lido is pretty dead - more like a terra firma suburb than venice - Id head for one of the mainland destinations for a day visit - or possibly take the boat-bus-boat excursion to Chioggia - rather than there.
We liked Da Lele on Murano (there is an extraordinary church there as well) and if you are in Venice in the fall rather than the dead of winter, there should be game at some of the lagoon and venetian restaurants to look out for. (Dalla Marisa, in Venice too, tho we had no success in dining there - night time only, lunch is not the same meal)