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Aug 24, 2007 01:06 PM

No reservations, Venice.

Looking for places to go without reservations in Venice in early October. We will be there for four nights and would like not to have the pressure of, first deciding in NYC where to eat in Venice, second having to make the reservations and then, when there, having to find these places after long days of sight-seeing. Been there, done that in Venice before and always felt a fairly high level of pressure often followed by a big let-down. Obviously we're not going to walk into high end restaurants popular with tourists and expect to be seated but would love to find charming walk-in places with good food, perhaps more simply prepared. An example I've seen mentioned approvingly on recent strings here is Il Refolo. This place is also highly regarded by the ChowBella book people and as I researched it a little, by many other publications including Travel + Leisure magazine back in 2003! So not the newest place and maybe now a regular on the tourist trail. Any suggestions or thoughts?

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  1. Imead,
    My wife and I visited Italy for two weeks for our honeymoon, and had the time of our lives. We are foodies and are always trying to find the best places to eat. Although, we are in a town with nothing good to eat we still do our research elsewhere.

    We went to a well known bar in Italy called Harry's Bar. This restaurant is know for the Bellini and Rosotto. We had the Bellini. 13 Euro, but nice. Located on the behind St. Marks Square. When entering the square, head to the left corner and it is located somewhere in that direction.

    Italy's weather is alot like ours, so it will be nice and not many tourists. We went to the bar in the middle of July and was totally empty. You may have this luck. Alot of great history with this bar. Enjoy it. FInd me and let me know if you experienced it.


    1 Reply
    1. re: CHEFBUCK

      Ive been mulling over how many places have actually turned us away - there have been a few over the years, including Alla Zucca (DONT go to the place directly across the canal, its very mediocre) and - the restaurant with a sign that says no spaghetti etc - we got turned away once there too, in the midst of the dinner hour. Usually, If you get away from the big names/central areas and show up early, reservations shouldnt really be a big problem - weve rarely had an issue in Venice except for the above.
      Just make sure to have one or more backups in the general area since wandering through endless streets hungry is not pleasant - for example, go toward a cluster or restaurants like that over by San Barnaba rather than a single place in the middle of nowhere (possible!) The Michelle Scibilia book with its maps is great for managing this approach.

      But if you do know where you want to go why not call ahead and save aggravation.

    2. We were planning on being in Venice first week of October (Oct.4-8, to be exact) and discovered that there is some humongous convention taking place then and there is literally not a free hotel room in the entire city. As a result we changed our plans to arrive a week earlier. Bear this in mind, it may effect your ability to get into restaurants.

      1. It is probably a good idea to go dinner early, because in Italy you need about 1 1/2 - 2 hrs to dine as of course it is a way of life over there. It is not eat and run like it is in America

        1. Love Da Ivo, try to get the table by the open window where you can watch the gondolas pass by. If you're lucky you'll get a partial serenade while dining from one slipping by.
          Alle Testiere is unsurpassable but w/o an advance reservation, you're not getting in. For sheer beauty of the moment, try to engage the corner right front table at the Danieli rooftop terrace restaurant overlooking the Grand Canal or the Canalazzo as they affectionately call it.