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Aug 6, 2011 12:46 PM

Venice questions

Hello I have a few quick dining questions for Venice. I will be in Venice to host some meeting for work. We are renting an apartment in Sestiere San Polo if that makes sense. For lunch we are doing a "working lunch" in the apartment. I was wondering where we could pick up high quality foccacia, anti-pasti and other cold dishes to have for lunch. In the evening I need to invite the entire team to dinner I think we will be 8-10 in total. The group aren't huge drinkers, I want to arrange a nice meal for around 50 euros a person max, excluding wine. Close to the apartment would be helpful. Thanks for your suggestions!

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  1. San Polo is not very big. If convenience is an issue, good to know where your apartment might be. It might be closer to the other sestieri of Santa Croce or Dorsoduro.
    Best for food shopping in San Polo is near the Rialto market: high quality deli food is Aliani on the Ruga de Rialto which has a good selection traditional items such as bacala manticato, fish in saor, seafood salad, vegetable antipasti, etc. also excellent cheeses and charcuterie; the other is Pronto Pesce Pronto, just off the pescheria, on calle delle Beccarie; seafood is their speciality with some vegetables (no cheeses, etc). Both places also carry items that can be warmed in a microwave or oven. Around the corner on ruga degli Spezieri is Forne de Canton for very good bread. A large selection (maybe even some form of foccacia), including their excellent crusty rolls flavor with herb or pancetta or cheese, etc. Another good forne nearby is Mauro on the same ruga as Aliani. Mostly bread but a small selection of savory items. Both deli are closed Sundays and Mondays; for the best selection go there around 11am; too early and nothing is set up. both forni are closed Sundays and Canton's bread selection gets thin by noon.There are still numerous small neighborhood bakeries all over San Polo; in general, their bread is nothing special but frequently they have one good item. There are also two small supermarkets, a Coop on Cp Meloni and a Billa between Campo San Polo and San Tomas. Both has a small deli section, cheese, cured meat, etc; nothing great but ok in a pinch.
    Dinner for the group: 50 euros excluding wine is a very good budget. What specifics are you looking for: old-fashioned osteria/trattoria serving traditional Venetian food where some are quite low key while others are bustling and noisy; more creative food; pizzeria with good antipasti and primi; more modern and hip ambience; outdoor seating?

    4 Replies
    1. re: PBSF

      Thanks for your wonderfully detailed answer. The apartment is by the Frari Church. For the dinner I would obviously be happy to do it for less but I want something nice with good food. In terms of the vibe I think we are looking for low key traditional food. I will probably contact the restaurant in advance to arrange for a set group menu,

      1. re: spacesasha

        The two best trattorias in San Polo (and just about all of Venice) are Antiche Carampane and Al Paradiso. Ordering a la carte will be pushing your 50euro per person but if you are doing a set group menu, I am sure you will be able to do it for less. Antiche Carampane is all seafood where as Al Paradiso has some meat/poultry options. Both serve traditional Venetian cooking with some creativity. The ambience is typical trattoria with Antiche a little more lively and a little less space. Al Paradiso is more low key with a very friendly owner.
        The rest you can do it for much less than 50euro:
        Might consider Bancogiro. The menu is small (no padding) but everything is nicely prepared. Traditional food with some creative touches. An excellent inexpensive wine list; since the first floor is a bacaro, it has a good selection of antipasti and lots of wines by the glass. The place is right on the loggia near the Rialto Market. The upstair dining room consists of cozy alcoves, nice for a small group. There is also outside seating on the loggia with a view of the Grand Canal. The whole ambience is a bit more hip and modern.. One of my favorite spot.
        Al Garanghelo is a good typical Venetian osteria. Not expensive; the food is solid and honest; very friendly staff. Nothing wow but just good Venetian experience. I take my guests there if they want a comfortable place with good honest food and friendly service.
        Since the Frari is on eastern San Polo, you are almost bordering Dorsoduro. La Furotola on c/Lunga San Barnaba is very good seafood trattoria (not quite as good as Carampane but less expensive).
        La Bitta on the same Lunga is one of the better moderate price trattoria for food; but no seafood; everything is well prepare, very tasty. It is very popular and can be a bit cramp.
        If you are near the Frari, the Billa supermarket is about 2 minutes walk on Rio Terra, take the little bridge crossing Rio dei Frari. It has a small deli, etc; the food is not bad. A 10 minute stroll north on Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio in Santa Croce is a very good pasticceria, Majer, with one of the best selection of quiche, pizza taglio, foccaccia, etc., There is a Coop supermarket on the same campo.
        A short stroll to Campo Santa Margherita in Dorsoduro is the supermarket Punto. It has one of the better deli department of any supermarket in Venice. Not high-end but more than decent. A large selection of prepared food, cheeses, cured meat, bread, etc. Then go across to an another but smaller branch of Pasticceria Majer and see what they have in terms of savory foccacia, etc.
        If you want the best, I would stick with a trek to the places around the Rialto.

        La Bitta
        Dorsoduro 2753A, Calle Lunga San Barnaba, Venezia 30123, IT

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

        Campo San Giacomo di Rialto, San Polo 122,, Venice, Veneto 30125, IT

        1. re: spacesasha

          Just want to add a comment about Aliani. Venice does not have a big high-end food shop such as Volpetti in Rome, or the food hall at KaDeWe in Berlin or Venzo in Bassno del Grappa. Their selection of cheeses and cured meat is very good. Their deli selection is not huge but probably the best Venice has to offer. It is somewhat stodgy, attracting a well to do clientele. For cheese and cured meat, I shop at Casa di Parmigiano, their sister store on Cp Bella Viena off the Rialto Market. It does not carry any deli items. Both stores have very friendly staff.

          1. re: PBSF

            Thanks for all of your wonderful advice!

      2. Supplementing PBSF's suggestions...

        Have you considered having a dinner prepared in your apartment, assuming it's outfitted well enough?

        And you know our focaccia is a dessert cake, similar to Pan d'Oro, yes? (Sorry, I'im probably a little sensitive to the Veneto getting lumped into Tuscany -- two separate, if equally fine, regions... :) )

        Considering your apartment location, I wonder whether Al Prosecco in San Giacomo dell'Orio could whip you up some of their marvelous lunch platters to go? (For some reason I am not able to add the link). I do know that La Cantina (just off the Ca d'Oro stop) will prepare simply spectacular meat and cheese and vegetable platters, which would be marvelous for your working lunches (they are open in August as well). Order in advance. That, and they have some of the best bread in the city, as it's "imported." (ah, but what Venice lacks in bread they make up in fish. Nobody's perfect...). Cantina would make a good dinner suggestion for your group as well.

        La Cantina
        Campo San Felice, Cannaregio 3689, Venice, Veneto , IT

        7 Replies
        1. re: livingvenice

          Focaccia de Venezia is 'addictive'; once we bought a large one from Tonolo and the two of us proceeded to devour it for breakfast. Their crunchy almond sugar topping is amazing. Last trip, we bought 3 of them to take back to the states. They were bulkier than our luggage.
          Good bread is an issue, especially in most of the small neighborhood bakeries. Even the bread at the supermarket is much better. Fortunately, there are a couple places near our apartment in San Polo. Also the Majer chain is pretty good.

          1. re: PBSF

            So so so so true. Anytime I am asked to bring dessert and lack the time to make it, it's focaccia for me (I hardly ever have the time, as it turns out. Oh well).

            Martini on Strada Nova as excellent Focaccia as well, all light and almondy, available in two sizes...and as PBSF points out, won't weigh your luggage down...

            1. re: PBSF

              Oh how true. Anytime I'm asked to bring dessert and don't have time to make it, it's focaccia for me (and I hardly ever have the time. Pazienza...)

              Martini on Strada Nova also has lovely focaccia, all almondy and light. Pair it with a nice tardivo and you can't go wrong...

              1. re: PBSF

                We have only had the foccaccia from Colussi on Calle Lunga San Barnaba, it was wonderful, but this was several years ago - are they still baking? Fred Plotkin's book led us there

                Colussio had a very limited repetoire including traditiona cookies, in a sensible size rather than the monstrous size one often sees. The foccaccia was the thing. Wonderful older people.

                We never found a local bread bakery in Venice that I considered good, and that includes all those around the Rialto. It was all too fluffy - in my opinion, the best bread was the ciabatta and other "imported" bread in the supermarkets. Sadly

                Pasticceria dal Nono Colussi
                Calle Lunga San Barnaba, 2867A, Venice, Veneto , IT

                1. re: jen kalb

                  You're right that Venice is not bread heaven. Have you try Forne del Canton near the Rialto market (couple of store fronts from Drogheria Mascari)? excellent chewry rolls and good loaves. there are some good bread at Forne de Mauro on the Ruga Rialto and the bigger one on Strada Nova. Everything there is at least decent and some are good. Even found some good rolls and decent bread at deli department of Punto in Santa Margherita. I just won't buy bread from neighborhood bakeries. Besides being airy and bland, they have no qualm about selling dry out old loaves.
                  Colussio is still there. Nothing has change, small and dark with a few bread, cookies, dry good, etc.. Didn't see the older owners this Spring.

                  1. re: PBSF

                    we got our best bread at Punto. tried all those other places and they just werent very good (we like chewy, yeasty bread) Bread is our most important food so we were disappointed that even the best places were not very good.

                    If you havent had Colussio's foccacia yet, you should try and see if they are still making it - I think its only availale end of the week, Thurs on. or maybe its just a memory now like the old Anzolo Raffaele parish restaurant.

                    1. re: jen kalb

                      The next time you are in Venice, do try Forne de Canton. Their rolls are yeasty and chewry with good grain flavor;. Some flavored with olives, others with pancetta or cheese. The larger loafs are also pretty good. They don't puff up their bread with too uch yeast and there is enough salt to bring out the flavor. The best bread we had in Venice. Still, I am not saying that Venice is great bread city.

                      We'll give Colussio's foccacia a try this October. Tonolo also sells them only Thursday through Sunday morning.