Finally done with my personal trip report, so I thought I would post my thoughts on the restaurants we visited while in Venice in October 2010. My apologies in advance for being too wordy - I am just copying from my trip report (which ended up being 17 typed pages!) and not having enough detail about what we ordered. That's what happens when you wait to long after the trip to start the report!
Gatto Nero on Burano. We sat inside in the back room and had a wonderful lunch, which included what they called razor clams. The clams were long like a razor clam with a similar type of shell, but they were long and thin like an index finger! We started with an amazing broiled scallop in its shell with the roe. We also had a wonderful appetizer of simple boiled langoustines and prawns accompanied by a dollop of whipped bacala (a favorite of J). Some of us also had one of the house specialties – seafood risotto, which was fantastic.
L’Osteria Santa Maria for dinner. My recollection of this restaurant is a little fuzzy (it was day 1 of the trip) but I remember my husband (J) had a wonderful spaghetti con vongole for J and Big J, and I had amazing prawns.
We stopped for some traditional cicchetti at All’ Arco – very tasty and a great introduction to a Venetian eating tradition. We had a plate of artichoke hearts, a plate of the little octopus, nice crostini selection (from meat to fish to veggies), tiny grilled mushroom sandwiches and lovely white wine. Great selection and I loved standing up at the bar watching the world go by through the picture window.
We had lunch at Naranzaria near the Rialto Market. We sat at a very cute table upstairs where we had a great view of the canal below. We had a fantastic selection of fresh salads (needed some roughage at that point) and a cured meat platter.
We had dinner at Il Ridotto. I was very much looking forward to having dinner there, as I had read quite a few reviews of the restaurant. It had been closed for renovations and it was the first night reopening – such luck! Although the restaurant was understaffed and service was slow, the food was great – nice and light! I had my first menu ordering mishap of the trip and ended up ordering raw prawns. Big J’s clam risotto was very good and the fish dishes were fantastic. Wonderful ravioli and one of the dishes was garnished with the tiniest cucumber ever! I would definitely return, as I liked the interior of the restaurant and I am sure the service was simply due to it being "opening night".
Gia Schiavi on San Trovaso (aka Vini al Bottegon) was a nice stop for a stand-up lunch. Great selection of "small bites" and it was fun to stand next to the canal and watch the locals come and go.
Our favorite dinner was at Antiche Carampane. It is a small family run place, with a tiny bar and we had a wonderful booth by the window. Fantastic food and a “window seat” for the action in the kitchen! We had a fantastic Fritti Misto served in paper cones, with zucchini, eggplant and whole tiny shrimp! After valiantly eating a few whole shrimp (the crunchiness was just too much), I gratefully noticed that our Italian friend was decapitating his shrimp, so I followed suit. Big J and J had an amazing dish of very small fried softshell crabs known as Moeche. Big J also had a fantastic clam dish. I had amazing grilled langoustines – so sweet and scrumptious! Dinner was accompanied by a wonderful sauvignon blanc by Miani, a producer in Friuli.
So, that's it for Venice. We honestly did not have a bad meal the entire time we were there. I will post separate reports for our time in/around Parma and Alba.
Feel free to contact me or post if you have specific questions, as I have all the business cards, etc. at home.
Sestiere Castello,4509, Venezia , IT
Calle de la Carampane, 1911,San Polo, Venice, Veneto 30125, IT
Via Castel Morrone, 10, Milan, Lombardia 20129, IT
Thanks for your post. We will be in Venice in a few short weeks, and this is very helpful! Do you recall the average price per person at Il Ridotto? And given your experience, and that it wasn't your favourite dinner.... was it worth it? It is on my list, and just want to be sure it will be "money well spent"...
Sestiere Castello,4509, Venezia , IT
Sorry, I don't remember the prices at Ridotto, other than it was one of our most expensive meals. But don't get me wrong, the dishes I liked were fantastic. I just mis-read the menu for the prawns. In fact, when I ordered it, the waitress looked at me and then looked at our Italian guide and said "is she sure she wants the prawns?" (in Italian) and I emphatically said "Si!". My fault, not theirs, as she was trying to warn me! I am sure the service issue was simply due to the fact it was their first night reopening. We are going back to Venice in October and will likely return to Ridotto for dinner.