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Need input on these restaurants for 2 days in Venice

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My wife and I will be in Venice for just 2 days in early August. Staying at Bauer hotel. We would like the best combination of atmosphere and quality of food.
We want to go to some places where you know you are in Venice, romantic, but not total tourist traps. Also don't necessarily want to be shoulder to shoulder with other diners at same table and have to make conversation.
I have ruled out Da Fiore due to numerous reviews saying it is simply not worth it and if I pay that kind of money I want something like the French Laundry. One of the best meals of my life was in Italy however at Don Alfonso.
Thought possibly having lunch at the hotel at DaPrisis for atmosphere and convenience unless the food is not up to par with other nearby atmospheric places.
Osteria Boccadoro sounds like it is worth a try-what is the atmosphere like there and are there better places for food-how does that compare to Alle Testiere, Il Rodotto?
Also Antiche Carampane sounds interesting-how does it compare with the above mentioned in food and atmosphere?
Thought about Al Covo which sounds good but from the reviews I've read it seems like there might be better places for what I am looking for.
Again, I want the best combination of food and atmosphere,. NOT great food in a dive. NOT magical views and atmosphere with horrible tourist trap food.
Basically 2 lunches and one dinner plus some time to get a quick feel for Venice. Thanks to anyone who can help me.

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Antiche Carampane
Calle de la Carampane, 1911,San Polo, Venice, Veneto 30125, IT

Al Covo
Campiello della Pescaria,Castello 3968, Venice, Veneto 30122, IT

Boccadoro
Campiello Widmann,Cannaregio 5405a, Venice, Veneto , IT

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  1. Couple of general comments about Venice restaurant scene:
    First of all, there are no world class restaurant in the caliber of the French Laundry or Don Alfonso or those in Paris, London, NYC, etc.
    Second, the most expensive restaurants in Venice do not come close to the cost of a meal at the French Laundry or Don Alfonso. Also, no restaurant in Venice come close to offering the 'bells and whistles' of those two. The Met, Da Pisis, Da Fiore and Da Ivo and add to that Harrys Bar, Ciprani and Ristorante Quadri pretty much sums up "fine dining" in Venice. Are they worth it? no if one is always comparing or one is worry about how one spend ones euro. Are they total tourist traps? no, because they all offer something special that is uniquely Venice. I would not turn down an invitation to Harrys Bar, Ciprani or Ristorante Quadri though in term of food, they are not worth it.
    Third, there are two types of cooking currently in Venice. One is traditional Venetian which is mostly seafood based cooking simply. One is paying for top notch ingredients with precise cooking. The other is modern take on traditional Venetian recipes. The Met, Da Pisis and probably Il Rodotto (have not been) falls in the latter.
    To answer some of the the questions in your post:
    Places on your list are some of the best restaurants in Venice. Except for Da Pisis and maybe da Fiore, none offer what I think is your idea of 'romantic'. Alle Testiere and Antiche Carampane are two of the best tranditional seafood (no meat or poultry) restaurants but they are basically trattoria/osteria; family/chef own, simple decor, noisy with tables fairly packed; Boccadoro is just as simple but with a modern sparse decor, a little quieter, more elbow room depending on what one sits. For all three, service is usually very good but it is not fine dining, therefore, it can have its off nights. Al Covo's ambience is more comfortable, lively but not overly noisy and least lightly to have an off night service wise. The food is well prepared but for me, not quite as good as the above three.
    I would not simple say that Da Fiore is not worth it. The quality of the seafood and cooking is as good as one find in Venice.. The extra one is paying for is 'fine dining': better service, more comfort, more refine ambience, larger tables and more spacing. Some don't feel these are worth paying for. I think it is romantic in it's own way (intimate, flowers, beautiful lighting) but no view unless one gets the only table that looks out at a small canal. If one wants these extras, one has to pay more than dining at Alle Testiere or Antiche Carampane.
    Base on my two dinners, the food at The Met is very good but not in the category of The French Laundry, and probably not Don Alphonse (my only meal there years ago was not great but I love the service). The service is definitely not as refine. The dining room inside the Metropole Hotel is small, warm and nicely decorated; no windows, no view. The only meal we had at Da Pisis was dinner this April. The tasting menu that the we negotiated with the captain was excellent. Four of the 7 courses were substitutions and not on the regular tasting menu. The service was spot on, attentive without being obtrusive. The setting at the terrace of the Bauer can't be beat. Since you are staying there, you can check it out for yourself.

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    Antiche Carampane
    Calle de la Carampane, 1911,San Polo, Venice, Veneto 30125, IT

    Al Covo
    Campiello della Pescaria,Castello 3968, Venice, Veneto 30122, IT

    Boccadoro
    Campiello Widmann,Cannaregio 5405a, Venice, Veneto , IT

    1. PBSF has, as usual, summed up the Venice scene very well. I rarely get to have more than two dinners per trip in Venice restaurants, and I always want to go back to Da Fiore and Al Covo, though I had a very good lunch at Fontego dei Pescaori. I think Da Fiore is better than Don Alfonso, but it has a different context. Both Martin, of Fiore, and Benelli, of Covo, use the best local seafood, which accounts for a good deal of the prices. Covo is more casual, with a simpler cooking style. I think they are both wonderful.

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      Al Covo
      Campiello della Pescaria,Castello 3968, Venice, Veneto 30122, IT

      6 Replies
      1. re: mbfant

        PS Don't forget you're talking about August. Presumably many places will be closed.

        1. re: mbfant

          Good point about August closing. I think Antiche Carampane and da Fiore are both close all of August. Alle Testiere probably first week of August. Al Covo couple weeks in August. Hotel restaurants such as The Met and da Pisis would be open. I would check since closings do change year to year.

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          Antiche Carampane
          Calle de la Carampane, 1911,San Polo, Venice, Veneto 30125, IT

          Al Covo
          Campiello della Pescaria,Castello 3968, Venice, Veneto 30122, IT

          1. re: PBSF

            Thanks for the fantastic reply. I will see what is open first and that may dictate which restaurants we go to. Also, what do you think of Alla Madonna?

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            Alla Madonna
            Calle della Madonna, San Polo, 594,, Venice, Veneto 30125, IT

            1. re: greybanded

              Alla Madonna is a large bustling old style trattoria. The first time I ate there was in the early 80's. The spaghetti with squid ink came out two minutes after we ordered it; the grilled fish was nothing special, the contorni were overcooked and waterlogged. We returned a few years ago and nothing has changed; same tire food, same tire white tuxedo clad waiters. It is a mystery why it gets positive write ups; maybe it is the old style ambience of the place and the moderate price or it is my bad luck. It is one of those places that I hate to waste euros on because I can buy better seafood at the Rialto and cook it better in our apartment.
              If Antiche Carampane and Alle Testiere are closed while you are there, try mbfant's recommendation of Al Fontego dei Pescatori, similar in quality and cost but a little more comfortable.
              One general rule about eating seafood in Venice; excellent wild seafood is very expensive; one may find "value" in inexpensive or moderate price places but chances of them being excellent seldom happen. Most lightly, the seafood are not top quality or resort to the 'inexpensive' species (nothing wrong with them) such as sardine, hake, squid, the farmed varieties or worst yet, frozen.

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              Alla Madonna
              Calle della Madonna, San Polo, 594,, Venice, Veneto 30125, IT

              1. re: PBSF

                Thankyou very much!!! Your information has helped a lot!

        2. re: mbfant

          Thankyou for the information. I will have to find out what is open.