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May 27, 2007 11:46 AM

Venice - Trattoria alla Madonna ?

Am in Venice over the coming weekend for 3 nights. Would appreciate recs for lunches and dinner. Am staying nr San Marco but want to avoid touristy places and/or getting ripped off.

Have eaten in Cannaregio when stayed in the past and had some great food but that was six years ago, so would appreciate up to date ideas !

Ideally would like somewhere close to San Marco for Friday night - reasonably basic will be fine and afriendly locals spot would be ideal. Open to suggestions at other times, though on one night we will probably go to the casino so somewhere smart would be nice.

Seafood is a big fave , squid and linguine alle vongole in particular. When I was last there I had lunch at an ace place down a side street nr the Rialto called ( I think )Trattoria alla Madonna. Is this still any good ?

Finally , is there any where to have a late drink if the mood takes us? We are late twenties/early thirties so ideally nowhere full of kids.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

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  1. Been 5 years since I ate at Trattoria de la Madonna. It was fantastic. Server helpd guide us to what was best that night. It was all great, & priced well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bigballoon

      I just ate there last Friday. We had just come off the plane and needed some food fast. The seafood risotto was good, as well as the spaghetti with mussels and clams. My Mom had the Venetian liver and onions. I'd say the food there isn't fantastic, but a decent place to get in and out.

      Our next night in Venice we went to Vini da Gigio. It was excellent. I had the fusili with asparagus and smoked ricotta, and the seppie alla griglia which was perfectly cooked. My Mom had a dish I'm still dreaming about - penne with gorgonzola and pistachios.

    2. you shouldnt have a problem staying a way from kids - there are very few kids in Venice all in all and those not out late. Ive always been grateful to see local children there because it means there are still Venetians living out their lives in the city, but I know what you mean about wanting an adult environment.

      Near San Marco are Alle Testiere (a foodie fave) and the nearby al Mascaron and alla Mascareta - both on Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa, which looked really good when we were in Venice last year. Corte Sconta is very good but a few minutes walk east of San Marco, in Castello.

      Canneregio is still a great place to find good venetian food , Anice Stellato being one of many small quality restaurants. There is a strip of quality restaurants on Calle Lunga San Barnaba too. Alla Zucca is quite elegant and close to the Casino - but you would have to take a hop across the grand canal.

      Here's a list of late spots for eating and drinking from Michele Scibilia - da Baffo, alla Mascareta, Centrale, Bacaro, do Spade, Cavatappi,Vitae,al Timon,Ruga Rialto, do Draghi, Muro, Naranzaria, (several of the last are right around the Rialto market area, which looks like a good place to try for late night drinks..

      1. Alla Madonna is a lively trattoria and not expensive but my dinner there couple years ago was dreadful. The risotto came out two minutes after ordering. The vegetables were limp and waterlogged. A friend of mine had similar experience. A good medium price restaurant is Osteria Vivaldi in San Polo. Alla Zucca is very good but some of the food is not particularly Italian/Venetian. There is a very good selection for vegetarians. I agree with a previous post on Alle Testiere, an all seafood restaurant near San Marco. I had an excellent dinner there in Feb and was not terribly expensive. The restaurant is very small, about 40 seats, and there is no printed menu (though one is posted on the window).The waitstaff speaks English so there is no problem understanding the items.
        Alla Mascareta on the same street is an excellent wine bar. Another good wine bar is Vino Vino near La Fenice.

        5 Replies
        1. re: PBSF

          I dont know that I agree that the food at Alle Zucca is not very Italian - as for being Venetian, it is not seafood based so its certainly not typical of the city but Id say they they reflect the Veneto (in a larger sense) - the cheeses, veg etc are all local and I think they served pizzocheri, from the Valtellina. We thought their stuff, both meat and veg was absolutely delicious (be prepared for rich food) and its a very civilized ambience.

          1. re: jen kalb

            I think I know where PBSF is coming from... Alla Zucca is not a place I would classify as having a typical Italian kitchen and definitely would not classify it as Venetian. Yeah, they have pasta and pizzocheri but they also have dishes with guacamole or curry powder in them. They are definitely into world cuisine, not just Italian cuisine, at Alla Zucca. Please take my word on this one, I have eaten there a gazillion times.

            1. re: jen kalb

              I ate at Alla Zucca last Feb and there were definitely dishes that were not particularly Venetian or Italian such as a baked goat cheese salad and a main plate of Latin American shredded beef. Also some of the vegetarian side dishes have a Middle Eastern flavor and some have Indian spices.

              1. re: PBSF

                Yes, that may be where the OP is coming from but I still dont agree overall.

                All the dishes we had (4 people, two courses plus a couple side veg) were "italian" with no adulteration and most of the dishes we saw others eating were classic italian dishes - I mean, whole tables of people starting with a plate of san daniele ham. Last year in France almost every restaurant - Im talking provincial restaurants in Michelin that werent identified as nouvelle or world cuisine -included curry powder in its vegetable or salad dressing. I dont think that offering a few items that arent in the classic repetoire or adding a little foreign spicing makes a restaurant suspect or non-italian.

                Alla Zucca decidedly goes against the grain in Venice with its exclusion of seafood - but remember that there is a strong tradition of exotic spices in venice which some restaurants - Alle Testiere and Anice Stellato, for example - work.

                Finally, for New Yorkers, Id have to say it reminds me most of Al di La - which also claims to be Venetian, but works a richer meatier vein than most Venetian restaurants.

                1. re: jen kalb

                  Hey all - just a quick post following my trip to say thanks for all of the help and advice you gave. We tried to get a booking in Alla Testiere but they had no spaces the whole weekend.

                  Went instead to Osteria de Santa Marina, as recommended by our hotel .Would heartily recommend to all for top quality seafood, albeit on the expensive side. They seriously dissed Trattoria alla Madonna as 'good 3 years ago' but not any longer and instead recommended Al Diavolo... on the same street which was chock full of Italians and great for a cheap lunch. The bars near the Rialto were also a good shout, though we went for late aftternoon drinks rather than later on in the evening !

                  Thanks again