VENICE ITALY - LOOKING FOR A GREAT LUNCH OPTION
"amazing meal, that is also vegetarian friendly", that combination is difficult in Venice. Most of the popular recommendations on this board do not have a lot of vegetarian options, especially those that serve only seafood. Unless one is eating at the dining rooms of high-end hotels, most places do not deal well with special requests. And if they do, most likely it would not be great. Small children get better treatments on this front.
The best choice for vegetables/vegetarian is probably La Zucca. The menu offers no seafood and quite eclectic. There will be plenty of vegetable antipasti, primi and the large vegetable section should satisfy any vegetarian. Some dishes will be traditional Venetian such as their radicchio lasagne, zucca flan, pepernata, stuffed radicchio, others such as braised artichokes, baked fennel have an Italian flavor and others with international bent such as cauliflower cooked with Indian spices, spinach with pinenuts and raisins, gratin of leeks, artichokes stuffed with couscous. Usually, there are five meat/poultry secondi which one is Venetian. The decor is simple modern; moderately priced for Venice.
Most trattoria/osteria will have some vegetable antipasti and maybe a risotto or two without meat or seafood, a vegetable soup, polenta with mushrooms, fried assorted vegetables and generally a few room temperature contorni: can be simple bowl of arugula or greens ( that one dress with oil and vinegar/lemon), cooked seasonal vegetables served temperature. It is difficult to pin down what specific is being served at a particular restaurant: try some of the better moderately priced places such as Anice Stellato, al Bacareto, da Alberto, da Rioba. The first three also serve cicchetti in their front bar where there will always a few vegetarian options. Might consider the more upscale Fiachetteria Toscana which has a large menu of very well prepared traditional Venetian food. They will certainly have a few options for vegetarians.
The upscale pizzeria, Il Refelo, might be good choice since there is always a vegetarian pizza and couple of well-prepared vegetable antipasti. Another plus is the location in a charming campiello. Same goes for a less expensive Nono Risorto but the antipasti and secondi are not as refined; outside seating on a courtyard.
An additional comment is that if the person is a strict vegetarian meaning no chicken or meat broth, make sure to check as frequently these broth are used to cook risotti, soups, etc. If you can be little more specific as to what type of lunch (leisurely sit down for a day tripper?), area where you might be at (no point if you are near the Accademia for a place in western Cannairegio) and budget, you might get some recommendations that are more useful.
None of the above fits the "amazing meal" category which is difficult to come by in Venice.
Cannaregio, 3272, Venezia , IT
La Zucca (aka alla Zucca)
Santa Croce, 1762, Venezia 30135, IT
Could you better define "amazing" and maybe offer a budget? No fish, no cheese, correct? (I consider almost all Italian restaurants to be vegetarian friendly, though.) It depends a little on your expectations...
(agree w PBSF that Zucca would be the obvious choice. Pity you're only in Venice for the day...)
Thanks for your recommendations! I meant a great restaurant that has amazing food, but is also veggie friendly. I am going with a native Italian who eats everything, and I am a vegan, but I can usually easily get by without a problem.
I'm not concerned about a budget. Just going to be in Venice for a day, and would love an amazing meal for a few hours around lunch time..
If you are a vegan you will have special issues. A place like La Zucca has wonderful vegetarian dishes, but they are pretty dairy heavy. I do not believe you will find any amazing restaurant meals for you in Venice as a vegan. You may want to simply head to a place that will be an amazing meal for your friend and that also has simple pasta with tomato sauce, grilled vegetables and salad., possibly some other simple contorni such as boiled spinach dressed with oil and lemon. In a week there with my (formerly) vegan daughter, thats all we found. Bread in Venice will generally be ok as well. Sgroppino is a dessert of (usually) lemon sorbet and limoncello or other alcohol which would meet your restrictions.
FWIW here is a site with some suggestions - maybe our Venetians can comment on whether any of the other restaurants they list are worthwhile. One I have been to, Gam Gam, is not.
You should make sure your companion explains your dietary limitations carefully to the waiter - vegetarian does not adequately convey the no meat no fish no dairy (cheese or butter) limits you are subject to. - if you dont explain adequately you will wind up with dishes with butter or broth. You dont say what time of year you are travelling, but you should definitely head for the rialto market - early in the day - and select some beautiful fruit that will compensate you for a very limited diet.
La Zucca (aka alla Zucca
)Santa Croce, 1762, Venezia 30135, IT