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Jan 29, 2009 10:09 PM

Venice restaurants - "lunch in a sestieri a day" idea?

We have a romantic week in Venice planned for Feb 9-15th, our first trip. There is so much to see, I am thinking of building our trip around "where to eat for lunch each day", thinking we'll have light "chicetti" dinners before music etc in the evenings (most nights except Valentines).

He's a real foodie, loves fresh simple food and good wine. I eat fish & vegetarian things, no other meat/poultry.

I know I have to navigate "days closed", but wanted to hear ideas about "the best place for lunch" by sestieri?

I still have to "locate" a few places I've heard a lot about - Al Covo, Obika, Metropole Hotel, Vecio Fritolin, etc, but to get started, here's what I have so far... any ideas/suggestions would be helpful. We are not focused on budget, but rather on great food, great eating experiences, great places to discover and love....

For Valentine's night dinner (Sat 14th), I'm thinking Da Fiori sounds like the best bet for "best Venice restaurant" but if you have other (romantic) ideas, please do share! Carnevale starts on Feb 13th, so some areas may be a little crowded then...

Your ideas, thoughts, votes, would be so appreciated! Thankyou!

Dorsoduro: Avogaria

Cannaregio: Al Fontego dei Pescaori, Fondamenta Misercordia, Fiaschetteria Toscana, La Cantina, Osteria da Alberto, Anice Stellato

San Polo: Da Fiore

San Marco: ?
Castello: ?
Santa Croce: La Zucca
Burano: Trattoria al Gatto Nero
Murano: ?

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  1. A Cannaregio, very good ANICE STELLATO, but, my suggestion, do not miss OSTERIA DA RIOBA at Fondamenta de La Misericordia (reservation is mandatory tel. 041 5244379).
    In San Polo, I suggest BANCOGIRO, closed Sunday night and Monday and to reserve is almost mandatorY, tel. 041 5232061.


    4 Replies
    1. re: vidanto

      Thanks Vincenzo, looks like Cannaregio has a TON of good places, it will be difficult to choose! Maybe a casual diner at La Cantina one night, a lunch at Osteria Da Rioba (sounds great) and I found other referrals in Cannaregio for Fiaschetteria Toscana, Naranzanna, Osteria da Alberto, and Anice Stellato. We will have to choose based on where we can reserve, I think.

      And San Polo - I now have Da Fiori and Bancogiro (also widely recommended elsewhere).... perhaps one for lunch, one for dinner.. on different days, tho!

      Thanks so much for the advice.

      1. re: celebrating

        FWIW I believe that Osterial da Rioba is not in Cannareggio, it is I believe in Santa Croce, very near the Piazzale Roma along the walking route over toward the Frari and Campo Sta Margherita.

        For lunch in Castello, I recommend Osteria Alla Frasca; Al Mascaron also looks good for lunch (it was full when we walked by, a good sign)

        In Dorsoduro, there is a whole cluster of restaurants around the Church of San Barnaba and down Calle Lunga San Barnaba, 4 Feri, La Bitta, da Sandro (Osteria San Barnaba), the last a good stop for lunch, Ive recommended before.

        1. re: jen kalb

          correction - I think I must be mixing up Da Rioba with another restaurant - forget my comment about it above.

          1. re: jen kalb

            There is a restaurant called Ribo in Santa Croce. That might have been the mixed up. Never eaten there though.

    2. Castello: Trattoria da Remigio, tel. 041.5230089. Very good food and people-watching. Good idea to let waiter guide your choices. At the west end of Salizada dei Greci. Closed Tuesdays, I believe.

      Others here have recommended Corte Sconta for its shellfish but I have not eaten there (further east in Castello, on Calle del Pestrin).

      After your lunch in Castello, be sure to walk as far as Arsenale, checking out impossibly leaning campaniles, and if decent weather keep going east to a park and nice non-touristy residential area for good people-watching.

      Here is a link to an old but still very useful compilation of Venice recs:

      Lastly, the Rough Guide map for Venice is my favorite of many maps -- accurate and shows many restaurants on it. Have fun!

      1 Reply
      1. re: GretchenS

        Wow thanks Gretchen - for the good ideas including walking over to Arsenale - and is was a great link! Trattoria da Remigio was recommend also by someone else (Dean Gold I think, I will add to my short list fo Castella (along with Al Covo, and a casual option of Osteria Al Mascaron).

        This is such fun! We leave Sunday, I can't wait!

      2. Adding to the above recommendations:
        San Marco: Vino Vino, ai Assassini
        Castello: dai Tosi
        Cannaregio: Boccadoro, Enoteca Giorgione, Vini da Gigio, ai Promessi Sposi
        San Polo: do Moro, Rivetta
        Santa Croce: Nono Risorto, al Prosecco, Antica Bessetta
        Dorsodoro: Riviera, Cantinone Storico
        The above mentioned da Rioba is in Cannaregio and Naranzaria is in San Polo, just a couple storefronts down from Bancogiro.

        1. You didn't ask for it, but since you mentioned cicheti I thought I would recommend my favorite, Osteria Al Portego, San Lio in Castello.

          We are a meat eater and a veg/fish eater, and we both were really happy there. Great vibe (crowded but cozy and friendly), spritz con aperol running freely. We did the standup cichetti thing and also ate once at the tables on the side. Great risotto. Maybe they are open for lunch too?

          12 Replies
          1. re: sinjawns

            This is so awesome, thanks for all these great ideas! It will be hard to choose with one small week in Venice, but I know we have two meals a day minimum to work with (I don't care if I put on twenty pounds next week!).

            OK, last BIG question>>>>> YOUR VOTE FOR MOST ROMANTIC SATURDAY NIGHT DINNER (other than room service at our hotel, sorry, too much information :)... is Da Fiore the best spot for a perfect meal after a week of Venice days and nights? Valentines is our last night in Venice....

            1. re: celebrating

              we didnt find da Fiore romantic - its very expensive and you will be surrounded likely by people speaking English. We were let down by the experience ourselves. Ive always felt that the streets of Venice themselves are more romantic than any restuarant will ever be. On the other hand, if you want to go someplace at all elegant that night, you will probably want a reservation -and because its winter and in the low season, sitting outdoors is not going to be an option.. Here are a couple of names that you might want to look into (I havent been but have wanted to)

              Hostaria da Franz - in Castello, out past the Bienniale site, along a quiet side canal - traditional seafood
              Altanella, on the Giudecca facing the Zattere- traditional seafood but was closed when we were in Venice in Feb (would need to check)
              Le Bistrot de Venise - serves traditional venetian dishes, San Marco

              La Zucca is a small place with a very warm sophisticated atmosphere, and its back room looks out over a quiet canal - that could be a romantic location, - we also liked the food (meat and creative veg dishes, rich) very much.

              Have a lovely trip!

              1. re: jen kalb

                Jen-- I like Zucca too but find it a little rustic for romance-- I would not call it sophisticated. They have a really delicious pumpkin sformata, though, which our questioner might like.

                Celebrating, we would need to know what your idea of romantic is. One person's romance is another person's kitch, no? Do you want sexy or staid? Busy or quiet? White linen or rough tables? View?

                For me, a stiff over-priced restaurant is anti-romance (casting no aspersions here on the places named above-- I haven't been to most of them). I want it loose, yummy, wine-y, candle lit, buzzy. I have to feel comfortable and welcomed. Flirty, attractive servers only enhance the experience.

                Do tell.

                1. re: sinjawns

                  Its all in the eyes of the beholder - I thought of it because of its location over the canal, the quiet back room (I hope it would be quiet) and a certain casual elegance. Its an old building that shows the old beams - cozy, but Id hardly call it rustic. No mama in the kitchen atmosphere - the food and service is stylish enough without any gold leaf, venetian mirrors, chandeliers or dressy service one finds in places like Da Fiore or the hotels. When we were finishing our very good dinner a whole group of stylish venetians were sitting down to lovely plates of nicely ruffled up prosciutto and flutes of prosecco.

                  Ill be interested to see what Venetian places fit the criteria of the post above! Personally, after a week of eating in Venice and on Valentine's Day Id be trying to low key it a bit.

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    So on that note, has anyone eaten at L'Alcova, the restaurant at Ca' Sagredo near the Rialto bridge? They have a bar too (Bar L'Incontro)....

                  2. re: sinjawns

                    Your view of romance and mine sound OH so similar!!!
                    Wine-y, candle-lit, buzzy, loose, yummy - OH yes!

                    Of course, there's always room service :)

                2. re: celebrating

                  I agree that if I was to choose a romantic restaurant, it doesn't necessarily mean expensive or the best food but somewhere where the food is good with a cozy ambiance, not too noisy and not too formal service. For Venice, I like Vino di Gigio and Boccadaro. If I am in a mood to splurge for great food and more formal service, the Restaurant in the Hotel Metropole has a beautiful intimate dining room, warm lighting and just enough buzz (only about 10 tables) to feel special. The food is modern take on Venetian food.
                  I really like the food at Da Fiore but it is terribly expensive with service that is somewhat cold. The dining room is beautifully lit but does have an international feel.
                  The food at Zucca is good and I usually have a fun time but I've never found it to be romantic. The two small dining rooms are quite bare with the back room too brightly lit. The location is very quaint, just in front of a bridge and next to a small canal.

                  1. re: celebrating

                    For romance along with good food, you could check out Riviera (the one in Dorsoduro, not the one in San Polo or Castello) or Antico Dolo:


                    They both have great food, Riviera is definitely a bit more sophisticated, but Antico Dolo has a sort of romantic ambiance as well.

                    Boccadoro (recommended here by PBSF) is also a good choice.

                    Definitely don't miss da Alberto or La Zucca! Reserve at both, no matter what the day or season.

                    1. re: Shannon

                      I am so so loving all this fantastic input, not just names but moods and food views... my idea of romantic (everyone's is different) is more in line with the "great food, casually knowledgeable friendly service, not at all stuffy or pompous, but cosy and warm..." idea... a little bit of finery doesn't hurt, one likes to feel slightly special, but it's not the main attraction.

                      Actually, I think pretty much what sinjawns said!

                      So we will go to La Zucca for sure, but perhaps not for Valentines..... will visit these websites and decide....

                      Do people want to see a report back at the end of the trip?

                      1. re: celebrating

                        yes please on the report back! We are hoping to be back in that gorgeous city in the next few months so will be keen to hear more about your experiences.

                        Happy & romantic travels...

                        1. re: sinjawns

                          I have a fresh update about ANICE STELLATO.
                          I was there on last Wednesday and the lunch was very good but not the bill. Now, in my opinion, the rate quality / price is not excellent.

                        2. re: celebrating

                          You are probably still floating from your trip... but I am dying to get a report about where you ate... do tell...