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Seafood-free dining in Venice?

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Sadly I am allergic to seafood and am concerned about my upcoming trip to Venice and finding things to eat. Can anyone recommend some restaurants for dinner that have some good seafood-free options? Or places that speak English and can understand my issue? I don't want to live off gelato alone, although I probably could survive!

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  1. Do you mean shellfish only or shellfish and fish?

    1. I don't think you need fear too much as many traditional dishes from Venice are not based on fish or seafood at all. Most of the waiters will speak English. Look out for the restaurants that have menus translated.

      1. Sometimes I think nobody in Venice speaks Italian any more, so don't worry about language. Ai Gondolieri, where I've never been, is a meat restaurant. If you like liver, fegato alla veneziana, liver with onions, is about as traditional as anything in Venice.

        4 Replies
        1. re: mbfant

          Thanks for jogging my memory about liver and onions.

          On our recent trip, my husband, a liver and onions fan, ordered the dish at Fiaschetteria Toscana in Cannaregio. He pronounced it "the best liver and onions dish he's ever eaten."

          1. re: Indy 67

            My Dad is a liver and onions guy, and he enjoyed the liver and onions at Taverna San Trovaso in Dorsoduro (next to the Accademia). I had a spezzatino (stew) with polenta there that was very good. I think fin-fish is less likely to be a minor/hidden ingredient in a dish than shellfish, although I guess you have to watch for anchovies!

            If you haven't already, you should learn to say "I'm allergic to fish" in Italian, just to be sure the waiter understands that you need NO fish in your food.

          2. re: mbfant

            I had a wonderful meal (tasting menu) at Ai Gondolieri about 5 years ago. It was there that I had my first taste of lardo from Colonnata..I swooned and they gave me an entire plate filled with little bruschetti topped with this wondrous substance. Give them a try..there are a couple of dining rooms so you might do some investigation as to which is the nicest....we were in the large main room and it was fine.

            1. re: mbfant

              I second liver and onions in Venice. Indeed, the best I ever had was there. I ate at Ai Gondolieri March 2006. The liver and onions was excellent, the rest just good. Similar to just about every other restaurant in Venice, the price too high, and the restaurant catered to tourists.

              I had an even better and larger plate of liver and onions at Trattoria alla Rivetta (Ponte San Provolo 4625), and for a lot less money. The place was also willing to make risotto for one person -- otherwise unheard of. I ate there last January (2007). Yet because this place is for Venice relatively inexpensive, for Venice rather good, and right in the middle of the city, everyone else knows about it too, and unless you're there early, you'll find a mob, and you'll be seated with strangers. And that was in January.

              Three suggestions for carnivores

              1. you can almost always find on the menu an antipasto and a pasta or soup course free of scalefish and shellfish.

              2. Look for a Tuscan restaurant in Venice. The Tuscans are Italy's chief carnivores.

              3. In general for Venice, look for restaurants around the edges of the city, especially in the east. You're more likely to find restaurants that cater to locals, and thus an established and regular clientele.

              Nota Bene: I'm on record for disliking Venice and Florence for cooking. Every other city in Italy that I know has more honest and tastier cooking.

            2. As someone else noted FISH, as apposed to seafood is everywhere and wonderful.
              for restaurants specializing in meat and other non-sea options, as opposed to having a dish or two, La Bitta, Alla Zucca and Dalla Marisa are three additional options to those noted.
              Anice Stellato and da Sando (Osteria San Barnaba) also routinely offer non-marine dishes too.
              There are also pasta, risotto and cichetti on offer that do not involve seafood.
              Go and enjoy!

              1. They have great meat specials at Osteria da Alberto on Giacinto Gallina in Cannaregio.

                La Zucca is a must. If you like pizza, check out Casa Mia on Calle Oca in Cannaregio... also Il Refolo in Santa Croce.

                1. From my Venice report: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/396880
                  Prices are for two.

                  Osteria Ai Assassini (Rio Tera degli Assassini, San Marco, 041 5287986) Unplanned stop, because Vino Vino was closed for renovations. This is a solid Tuscan place and everything we had there was excellent, better that most places we ate in Florence. Menu changes daily. We got a bottle of Valpolicella (16E I think). Started with an excellent plate of breseola with fresh mozzarella and rucola. Partner’s homemade orecchiette with chef’s special tomato and meat sauce was wonderful, as was my fusilli with radicchio and gorgonzola sauce. Partner had roast pork, this was the most flavorful roast pork we had in Italy, served with crispy fried cracklings of skin. I had a delicious veal stew with tomatoes and peas, served with a creamy mound of polenta. Tiramisu was invented in Venice, the version here was light and perfect. Would definitely return to this place. 90E.

                  Al Prosecco (Campo San Giacomo da l’Orlo, Santa Croce) Thanks mnwinship for this one. This is an ideal café for lunch, on a piazza filled with kids playing, few tourists in sight. Prosecco col fundo was delicious, we each had two glasses. Panietti of mortadella and porchetta with mustard were really good for 2.8E, and we each had giant a beautiful mixed salad with little piles of marinated mushrooms, olives, etc next to a mountain of frisee and other perfectly fresh greens. 34E.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: kenito799

                    Wow, thank you all so much! I am actually allergic to skin fish- anything with gills, and will eat some types of shellfish. My husband is checking out all your recommendations as I type!

                    1. re: amann_21

                      well, hope then you sample some of the very special venetian seafood which isnt findable anywhere else. Enjoy!