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Reviews from my trip to Venice (long)

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Hi Everyone,
Thanks for all of the good reviews I've found posted on this board. I was a little apprehensive about the quality of food in Venice, but every meal we had here was good! Granted, I have never been to any other parts of Italy so cannot compare, but we ate very well at Trattoria da Remigio (very nice saor di sarde (spelling???) and spider crab appetizer, and a very tasty fritto misto and a good, if difficult to eat spaghetti alla canoce. This, plus a glass of house white and prosecco for 60E. Plus, the service was extremely friendly and helpful, and it was one of the only all Italian menus we came across, in a room full of Italians.
We also ate at La Zucca, which even in March, was crowded for lunch. I had a great pasta with gorgonzola and pine nuts and BF had a vegetable lasagna that he loved. We also ordered two sides- parmesan covered asparagus and a perfectly ripe avocado with sauce (unfortunately it was out of season for pumpkin!), with a 1/2 carafe of house wine and two cafes was 45E. Also friendly service here, more of an English speaking crowd.
Another great place was Enoteca San Barnaba in Dorsoduro, an extremely friendly waiter at a cash only place. Here I started with an amazing saffron gnocchi in a duck sauce (probably the best thing of the whole trip!) and BF had a smoky swordfish carpaccio that was also very tasty. For mains I had the venetian specialty- fegata alla veneziana, which was extremely tender with great tasting onions, and BF had an also good version of meatballs. With two glasses of Refosco the total was 70E.
On our trip out to Murano we ate at the much recommended Trattoria Busa Alle Torre Da Lele, which grew extremely crowded with tourists and locals of all kinds (we arrived early so no wait). This was also a great meal, although our waiter got so busy it was a bit difficult to catch his attention towards the end of our meal. Here I had a plate of spaghetti with cuttlefish ink, nicely tasting of the sea, and BF had fish ravioli (he liked, I thought they were ok). Then we split a plate of fried shrimp and calamari- shrimp was amazing tasting, much different than in the US, so tender, but I found the calamari a little chewy. We ended with tiramisu, one cafe, and one grappa (plus a 1/2 bottle of wine and water), the total was 62.70E.
For our last day we ate Osteria da Alberto, a combination wine bar and food place. Had a light lunch of fried beef with a parsley/feta/balsamic mixture on top which was nicely crispy and tender, and BF had the tagliatelle special with tiny shrimp. Both dishes were nicely flavored, and well accompanied by a mixed plate of grilled vegetables in a very 'authentic' setting. Total with 1/4 liter of house wine (as noted, not as good as some other places), a bottle of water, cafes, and biscotti for 50E. This place was very good, but probably not quite as stellar as some of our other meals.
For dinners, we typically ate on the late side at pizza type places- Il Refolo, Antica Birraria, and Al Nono Risorto. All these places were loud, crowded, and bustling, service was probably at Al Nono Risorto (although about 5 different waitresses will help you). Il Refolo was the quietest of the bunch, and the pizza had great toppings, although maybe not the best crust of the bunch (we had a baby artichoke and lard pizza, and a vegetable pizza, with a 1/2 liter of house wine, spritz, and cafes for 41E). Antica Birraria was a great find for us, because we were drenched from the rain, and it was so nice to be dry! The place was hopping at 10:30, and service was quick, if a bit inattentive towards the end of the meal (menu in three languages). Good and rich gnocchi, pizza with brezola, side salad, 1/2 l. of house wine, and a sgroppino (wow, this was my favorite find in Italy- definitely order this! a mixture of lemon sorbet, prosecco, and grappa or vodka) for 32E. Lastly, Al Nono Risorto, probably our fav. of the bunch, had to order pizzas as they looked so good, and did live up to the look. Best crust of the bunch, nicely crispy, but not too, and good standard toppings, plus 1/2 l. of house and sgroppino for 30E.
We also tried several wine bars, our favorite being Al Prosecco with a great tasting aperol spritz and prosecco col fundo, then two glasses of house red (huge glasses!), and a mixed plate of hams and cheeses, one of which was a delicious mixture of honey and pepper! for 19E.
So, again, thanks everyone for previous posts and hope this info helps anyone travelling to Venice in the future. In general, I was looking for good food at relatively moderate prices, so we often forgo (forwent?) full course meals, which was good, because I was usually stuffed after two! and ate our big meals for lunch, opting for the pizza places for dinner. I also compiled a long list of places to eat while researching, and then, I know I know, I had a lot of time, organized it into the various sestieri, and then! looked them up on a map beforehand. That was extremely helpful, as we would choose what area we were going to be in, then look to see what restaurants were closest on the map, and it also made it very very easy to find things, just by following the dots instead of the addresses! I will try and post my list for others to take advantage of in the next topic! Thanks again!

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  1. great post, and so glad you had a good time! I think the Enoteca San Barnaba you liked was the same as "da Sandro" that Ive posted about - did you sit in the back room with the few tables lined by wines? The proprietor used to be chef at La Furatola across the way and opened up on his own a couple of years ago, featuring both meat and seafood dishes (and specifically dishes from - is it Friuli??)

    Your map idea is a good one. One of the real advantages of the Scibilia book is that it includes maps which enable you to spot all the nearby eateries.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jen kalb

      Hi Jen,
      Yes I believe you are right! The owner was great, extremely helpful, and thank you for all your posts about Venice, they were really helpful. I was trying to do things cheaply as possible, and since I don't know when I'll get back to Italy, decided to skip buying an extra book this time, but next time I definitely will!