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Nov 11, 2006 08:20 PM

JoeH or JenKalb: Help with Venice Recommendations

We're going back to Venice soon. On our last trip, we ate at Alle Testiere, Da Fiore (not going back - overpriced, mediocre food) and the Terrace restaurant at the Danielli Hotel.

We are going to Alle Testiere but still need to book for a couple of dinners and lunches. We are not looking for haute cuisine and don't want to be overly extravagant.

Here are some of my thoughts - please give me your thoughts on the top three that you would consider:

Al Covo
Vini da Gigio
Trattoria de Remigio
Corte Sconta

I'm primarily craving fresh well-prepared seafood - love raw plates of fish, grilled scampi/fish, and pasta with lobster or scampi. I am not hoping for haute cuisine on this trip.

Thanks for your help!!!

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  1. For seafood, go to Fiaschetteria Toscana: Great selection, expertly prepared, good value for the money.

    1. I’ve eaten at Al Covo, De Remigio, and Corte Sconta -- all three close to my favorite hotel.

      I confess up front that I’ve never eaten superbly in Venice. I’ve certainly paid out more do-re-mi there than the food was sometimes worth. Perhaps both of these experiences are explained by two factors: the place, however sublime to the eye and ear, is predominately for tourists; and I’ve only been there in Nov., Jan, and March. I suspect that the culinary tradition might be simply weak. In desperation I often have to abandon savoring the food and indulge myself solely in a fine Amarone wine, to shamelessly stagger back to my hotel (now you see why I chose places closeby!). Or even more desperately, seek a place with a view (in winter: Ristorante Hotel Pensione Wildner). The best meal I ever in the area had was not in Venice proper but in Murano: fresh fish at Tratttoria Busa alla Torre, Campo S. Stefano, 3. In the city itself and in Castello .... well, I hate to give away a secret that might spoil a fairly decent place. Yet _caritas_ obliges and my better angels prompt me: Trattoria dai Tosi, Secco Marina 73, in the eastern end of the city, has real locals and low(er) prices; it’s a pizza place save on the weekend. Trattoria da Paolo, Campo Arsenale, wasn’t bad or quite so hard on the wallet.

      Truth be told, I’ve even eaten better in Florence than in Venice, the former a city also with a possibly weak culinary tradition, however strong it may be in wine. Pisa, Siena, and Orvieto have offered me more appetizing opportunities. In contrast, I’ve almost never had a bad meal in Rome (myself avoiding dining around the Vatican [since pilgrims resemble tourists in having low gastronomical expectations – evident also at Assisi]), and I never had even a mediocre meal Naples and Campania – all the food experienced there at least above average, and often enough excellent.

      That said, the three restaurants mentioned are good and acceptable, and with luck will be above average, albeit expensive. All have good wine lists, and I can’t fault the service. Al Covo is run by a charming woman from Houston TX, and she seemed to go out of her way to explain matters in English.

      I pray this helps. I myself will be posting a query next month, asking for inexpensive yet good places in Castello.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Sid Cundiff

        As far as I know, it didnt kill "Dai Tosi" when I recommended it - and I wasnt the first! We had pizzas, but they also were offering delicious looking seafood platters to a group of footballers when were were there a few years back. Busa alla Torre "da Lele" on Murano is also worthwhile, but be prepared (as someone noted a month or so ago) to see the proprietor cater more lovingly to habitues than he does to you.

        Corte Sconta is the only place on the OPs list we have been to, and we liked it very much. Their multi-course seafood app followed by a pasta course is plenty for two. If you search "International" you will see my wish list and reccs from prior trips (I have not made it to all the places on my wish list however) Anice Stellato, Alla Zucca (no seafood), Osteria San Barnaba (Da Sandro, who I believe used to be at Furatola - more meats than seafood tho), Alla Frasca. there are many other worthy places - go into a bookstore and maybe even invest in Venezia Osterie e Dintorni - by Michele Scibilia which basically includes a write up, with pics of what I take to be most all of the worthwhile venetian restaurants (hotel establishments not included)- you will find many fresh ideas there as well as get a better sense of some of the much-recommended places.

        Venice's food traditions are hardly weak - its just that, with a declining population of Venetians in the city proper and scads of undiscerning tourists, there is room for disappointment.

      2. The Met (who was recommended on here several months ago by someone else) IS the "hottest" restaurant in Venice right now. It just received its Michelin star and is legitimately excellent. I would not miss it. I am partial to Alle Testiere but the Met's style is very different and in its own way every bit as good. I would suggest that the Met is as good now as da Fiore was 14 years ago when we first went-and its prices were MUCH lower with the food more consistent. Both Corte Sconta (several excellent fresh seafood dishes) and Al Covo (excellent fritto misto and risotto) are very good. I just think they are a step or two below Testiere and the Met. I went to Vini da Gigio about ten or so years ago and, while I liked it, have not been back. Osteria Santa Maria was good, too, on a visit in September but I would probably liken this to Covo, Gigio, Corte Sconta and Fieschetteria Toscana: all very good but, for me, not on par with Testiere or the Met. I have not been to Rimigio nor Boccadero. Thanks for asking.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Joe H

          If, Joe, by the "Met" you mean the restaurant at the Hotel Metropole, then I can certainly move a second to your recommendation with a hearty "hear, hear!" The atmosphere is quite refined: the short menu posted out front, the rooms (one of which said to be Vivaldi's studio) not too large and quite cosy on chilly evenings, the glassware Riedal or Spiegelau, the tables candle-lit, the music soothing and live (including the pipes-of-Pan), the food presented almost as if each dish were an artwork, the eager-to-please service equal to the ambiance, the food having merited its 1 Michelin star, the wine list good.

          And for those of us who indulge in the Evil Weed, in front of the hotel are benches where one can sit after dinner, light up a good Cuban cigar, and ponder the sublime evening vista across the lagoon to St. George's.

          By the way, the bar no longer offers cigars -- a tell-tale sign of creeping gynocracy -- but the bartender told me where to find them in Venice.

          Just wear polished shoes and a suit with coat and tie, bring a heavy wallet, keep your voice low and subdued, order a full meal, and don't ask for the ketchup. It's that kind of place.

        2. FWIW, I've eaten a couple of times at Avogoria, Dorsoduro 1629, of course a worthless address. When walking from Accademia toward Campo Santa Margharita take a hard left after the sottopassagio at the entrance to Campo San Barnaba. Walk for some distance until you go over a bridge. Avogoria will be a hundred or so feet ahead on your left. Ultra modern interior and a chef from Puglia so the food takes that slant. I've enjoyed it.

          1. I second the rec for Avogoria (website is
            )Very interesting modern food. And you are right, hard to find as most places in Dorsoduro area.

            I also love Al Gondolierie in the Dorsoduro district also not far from the Academia bridge. Excellent service, food. Interesting seasonal venician specialities.