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NY Hound Not Fooling Around-Back From Venice

guttergourmet Sep 22, 2011 02:37 PM

Was in Venice for the first time in 19 years for 10 days 8/25-9/5. Had an unbelievable time. Happy to discuss further. Local Venetian Hounds: How'd I do? Here's the highlights of where we ate in no particular order:

Trattoria al Gatto Nero-Murano

Alle Testiere

Hostaria da Franz

Antico Martini

Busa alla Torre da Lele-Burano

Da Fiore

Do Forni

Corta Sconta

Pizzeria Al Vecio Canton

Trattoria Olivanera

Fiaschetteria Toscana

Birraria La Corte

Al Covo

-----
Hostaria da Franz
Fondamenta San Giuseppe, Castello 754, Venice, Veneto 30122, IT

Fiaschetteria Toscana
Cannaregio, 5719, Venice, Veneto 30131, IT

Antico Martini
Campo San Fantin, 1980, Venice, Veneto , IT

Alle Testiere
Calle del Mondo Novo,Sestiere Castello,5801, Venice, Veneto 30122, IT

  1. jen kalb Sep 22, 2011 03:44 PM

    and the highlights are?? Id love to see a more detailed account of what and why.!

    5 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb
      h
      hmast Sep 22, 2011 06:52 PM

      Me too! Do tell...

      1. re: hmast
        guttergourmet Sep 23, 2011 12:45 PM

        Da Fiore was incredible. Scampi nostrani infornati al lardo with lightly fried rosemary reminded me of a dish here in NYC at Marea that I've written about on the Manahttan board http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/664148
        which is ricci crostini al lardo. Trattoria Olivanera was my first and last meal and was truly wonderful also. I wrote about it in more detail here: http://www.thedailymeal.com/eating-im...

        1. re: guttergourmet
          jen kalb Sep 23, 2011 01:16 PM

          hey, can I assume are you talking about MIchelin* Osteria da Fiore in San Polo and not the trattoria of the same name? Good to have a report on OlivaNera - your blog entry is sweet.

          Are you recommending all the others, too?

          -----
          Osteria da Fiore
          Calle del Scaleter, San Polo 2202A, Venice, Veneto 30125, IT

          Osteria Oliva Nera
          Sestiere Castello,3417, Venice, Veneto 30122, IT

          1. re: jen kalb
            guttergourmet Sep 24, 2011 03:21 AM

            Yes, THAT Da Fiore. With the exception of Corta Sconta, I'd highly recommend them all. Al Gato Nero on Burano and Busa alla Torre on Murano are reasons enough to visit those two beautiful islands. The owners of most of them were actually there presiding over their restaurant and, refreshingly, were delightful hosts insuring that everyone had a great meal and experience.

      2. re: jen kalb
        jen kalb Sep 27, 2011 09:01 PM

        ps adding further links

        -----
        Hostaria da Franz
        Fondamenta San Giuseppe, Castello 754, Venice, Veneto 30122, IT

        Antico Martini
        Campo San Fantin, 1980, Venice, Veneto , IT

        Birraria (aka Antica Birraria La Corte)
        Campo San Polo, San Polo 2168, Venice, Veneto , IT

        Gatto Nero da Ruggiero (Trattoria Al Gatto Nero)
        Fondamenta della Giudecca,88, Venice, Veneto 30142, IT

      3. menton1 Sep 24, 2011 05:46 AM

        Well, so much for the reputation Venice has as having "Mediocre" food...

        44 Replies
        1. re: menton1
          b
          barberinibee Sep 24, 2011 07:00 AM

          But bear in mind that some of us wouldn't be much drawn to eating at many of these restaurants, since they serve an international cuisine rather than Venetian cuisine. I read the link that guttergourmet posted about his family's meal in Olivanera, and I appreciate his sentiments about how a good meal shared draws him closer to other people, but a cold pasta salad with mozzerella or a perfectly grilled veal chop is not the food experience I'd be seeking in Venice.

          I'm not sure that it has ever been in doubt that Venice has high-end restaurants serving elegant and careful cuisine reminiscent of what you find in NYC's high-end restos if you are willing to pay that same high price (or even higher in many cases). Most of the reputation of Venice having "mediocre" food is based on people's experience of being served low quality food in Venice that seems beneath general standards of Italy, and I'm not sure that this one post removes that caution, since other Chowhounders have recently dined at some of these picks (not me) and reported being disappointed.

          I think people like Venice for reasons primarily other than Italian food, and find ways to eat what they enjoy there -- which isn't to say they eat mediocre food. I believe them that they eat very good food, some of it even based on Venetian recipes and local foods of the Veneto. It's just that Venice doesn't seem much of a food destination for people interested in regional Italian cuisine, or people who are not going to drop $400-$600 meal after meal.

          But guttergourmet has posted so little other than "wow!" I'm happy to hear more and be persuaded otherwise. (And I hope he will include prices for his family of 3, including wine.)

          1. re: barberinibee
            menton1 Sep 24, 2011 11:37 AM

            Yes, I'll stick to Bologna, Milan, or Florence for top quality food...

            1. re: barberinibee
              jen kalb Sep 24, 2011 08:10 PM

              Well, Michele Scibilia likes Oliva Nera 1 and 2, which she says offer "meticulously prepared, deliciously fresh Venetian classics often with a new twist." Obviously they offer non-Venetian dishes too, as the OPs report indicates.

              Id like to hear more from Guttergourmet than snippets - what was the issue with Corte Sconta, for example?,

              I dont share the negative view of Venice food - it is a regional cuisine by the way - tho I would be the first to admit that it is surpassed by the cooking in other areas, we always look forward to eating (selectively) in Venice. Our most expensive meal to date in Venice was around 200E as I recall at da Fiore a few years back and it was among the least satisfying even irritating meals we have had there, in terms of the condescending, unhelpful service, some less than wonderful dishes and the fact that the people all around us were Americans and other tourists (including a group taking about downtown Brooklyn private schools, gag me with a spoon), while the italian group across the room were coddled by the waiters. We prefer the smaller places with a warmer welcome. Every time I hear about a good meal in this place from maureen fant or another poster I shudder, because I know I will never persuade my husband to return.

              -----
              Corte Sconta
              Calle del Pestrin, Castello 3886, Venezia 30122, IT

              1. re: jen kalb
                b
                barberinibee Sep 24, 2011 11:42 PM

                I didn't mean to leave the impression in my writing that I thought that Venetian food wasn't a regional cuisine in itself. I know that it is. What I was trying to say is that many people who report that that they loved a meal in Venice go on to describe in detail dishes that are not historically Venetian food, and sometimes even alien to it, the whole excitement of the dish being the "new twist." Even discounting hugely for the cosmopolitan history of Venice and the imagination of its people, one sometimes gets the impression that actual Venetian food is not much in demand in today's Venice.

                Funnily enough, I was online last night looking to see if I could find a nice hotel in Murano, and my google search popped up a 3 year old Chowhound thread about Venice where some of guttergourmet's picks got slammed, including by maureen fant, who slammed Alle Testiere, although she overall defended the Venice restaurant scene against the original poster, whose complaints against many of the most talked about Venetian restaurants were long. I'd post a link, but I can't find it again.

                -----
                Alle Testiere
                Calle del Mondo Novo,Sestiere Castello,5801, Venice, Veneto 30122, IT

                1. re: jen kalb
                  b
                  barberinibee Sep 24, 2011 11:54 PM

                  Found it:

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5583...

                  In the end, it is pretty hard to know, I think, what to make of restaurant recommendations for Venice. While it is true that you never really get 100 per cent agreement about any restaurant anywhere, and that consistent high praise can often create false expectations and therefore disappointment, the wildly swinging needle on just about every recommended Venice restaurant does raise questions. Maybe many people are not used to paying $250 for a meal, so they become more demanding. Maybe seafood eating in the US has gotten much better than it was, people aren't so easily amazed. Maybe some people are just so enamored of Venice it affects their judgment. Maybe some people really like "new twist" restaurants and Venice is pathbreaking. Don't know.

                  But I feel like when I go to other Italian destinations, packing a list of restaurant recommendations, I'm improving my odds of eating very well. But if I'm headed to Venice, the list is already super-short, and I feel like I'll be only lucky if every restaurant is still on its game, and I'm bracing myself to discover that the people recommending these restaurants may have little in common with me when it comes to food.

                  1. re: barberinibee
                    l
                    LiberalFoodie Sep 27, 2011 03:10 AM

                    I've read few posts on this particular topic. Venice is a great city to visit but forget about your chances to get great venitian food there. Since your list of restaurants for good seafood is short, can you share them? We're heading to Venice for 2 days and wanted lunch and dinner recs.

                    Thanks

                    1. re: LiberalFoodie
                      b
                      barberinibee Sep 27, 2011 04:14 PM

                      I've not visited Venice recently enough to advise. Were I going tomorrow, I would have to start from scratch, like you, trying to nail down where I wanted to eat if I was determined to eat in Venice. (The last time I went there I stayed in Mestre so I could eat in Mestre.)

                2. re: barberinibee
                  PBSF Sep 25, 2011 05:50 AM

                  I love Venice for many reasons and I love Venetian food. I think there is enough written about it on this board, at least by me, that it is not a world class eating city. And chances of getting a bad meal can be quite high. Yes, it is an expensive city to dine out. There is a lot of money floating around in the world right now and places like Da Ivo, Osteria da Fiore, the Ciprani properties, etc have no problem filing their tables. Given all that, one doesn't have to drop $400 to $600 meal after meal to eat at most of the places mentioned on on this board or at most of the places on OP's list. There are two pizzerias on his list that he likes. Yes, we all love to know the details.

                  -----
                  Osteria da Fiore
                  Calle del Scaleter, San Polo 2202A, Venice, Veneto 30125, IT

                  1. re: PBSF
                    b
                    barberinibee Sep 25, 2011 05:44 PM

                    Maybe I'm not writing very well, but I don't think my post implied that most people eating in Venice who were happy with their food were paying $400-$600 per meal. Nor did I express a negative view of Venetian food, which seems to be the impression Jen got, and perhaps you as well.

                    Absent the guttergourmet's return, it would be interesting to hear what you are anybody knows or guesses to be the prices these days at the high end restaurants guttergourmet listed. My one experience of eating where he ate was Fiaschetteria Toscana, and were I to travel to Venice to eat there again, I would expect to pay $400 for two for a complete meal with wine, coffee, service, coperto, etc. Should people budget otherwise? ( I have generally seen Oliva Nera grouped with Fiaschetteria Toscana, Al Covo and Da Fiore. Is that incorrect?)

                    Also, if you ever have the time, it would be a great help to know which of these restaurants are serving creative food and which are serving Venetian food. In another post on this board, rrems describes his experience of the creative cooking at much-praised Alle Testiere. In the link that I posted to an old chowhound thread, mbfant indicated that her negative reaction to Alle Testiere was similar to that of wine blogger Fiona Beckett, who in other reviews pegged Fiaschetteria Toscana as elegant reataurant with "some interesting modern dishes that depart from the usual Venetian repertoire." Oliva Nera is noted for putting a "new twist" on Venetian fare.

                    Maybe I'm alone, but I'd be interested to know where to go in Venice to eat exemplary, best-quality Venetian food -- not where I can go to get a good meal in Venice. I would like to know how much I will pay to eat an antipasta, a primo, a secondo, drink a good wine with it, and have two bottles of water plus coffee, at what the restaurant will charge me for the coperto and the service.

                    I'm not really directing my post at you (it's just that you seem the most likely person to have an answer). I won't feel in the slightest bit offended if you say you've answered that question many times and I should search the boards, or that you are just too busy. But thus far, despite putting some research into this beyond Chowhound, I still don't know the name of a single restaurant in Venice that serves outstanding Venetian food, someplace I could go to several nights in a row and eat outstanding Venetian food.

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

                    Fiaschetteria Toscana
                    Cannaregio, 5719, Venice, Veneto 30131, IT

                    Alle Testiere
                    Calle del Mondo Novo,Sestiere Castello,5801, Venice, Veneto 30122, IT

                    1. re: barberinibee
                      jen kalb Sep 25, 2011 06:35 PM

                      you might want to get Scibilia's book. skinny and reasonably priced.I think the most recent edition in English is 2010 - there may be an app at this point. - she has the type of detail you are looking for - this is 2010 info

                      her FAQ says the local gourmets go to Corte Sconta, al Covo, Fiaschetteria Toscana, Met, Vini da Gigio, Il ridotto and alle Testiere.

                      She has a price indication for each listed restaurant in her book broken down at the level of detail you are looking for- for an antipasto, primo,main,contorno,dessert and coperto (no wine or water)- CS,AT,at "budget threatening - 65E

                      Al Covo at "exclusive - 80E

                      Ridotto,FT between those two categories

                      and vini di Gigio between 50E and 65

                      -----
                      Corte Sconta
                      Calle del Pestrin, Castello 3886, Venezia 30122, IT

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

                      Fiaschetteria Toscana
                      Cannaregio, 5719, Venice, Veneto 30131, IT

                      1. re: jen kalb
                        b
                        barberinibee Sep 26, 2011 04:20 AM

                        Thanks. I didn't mean to sound aggressive, especially not to PBSF, who does yeoman's labor based on an incredible amount of on-the-ground experience, guiding people in Venice while respecting their individual needs. It's nobody's fault on Chowhound that so many recommended places in Venice elicit wildly differing trip reports.

                        At the seaside in Liguria, to have the ultimate in a classic Ligurian seafood meal with wine, I advise people to budget something close to 100 euros per person. It is much more difficult to run a quality restaurant in Venice, so I don't find prices in Venice unjust (in fact, they now look like a bargain!) if we are talking about serving high quality Venetian cuisine.

                        What is hard to accept is paying that kind of money to end up with food you can eat in any major international capital, just for the guarantee that it won't be less than competently prepared. When I read a report where many of the restaurants are "budget threatening," and run in the direction of creative cuisine, I start to feel exasperated.

                        I personally felt exasperated in Bologna while lunching at both Teresina and Caminetto d'Oro. While Caminetto d'Oro provided me with an exemplary version of the Bolognese classic tagliatelle al ragu, I otherwise could have been eating anywhere in the world in terms of menu offerings and ambience. Likewise Teresina, which was equally pleasant but internationalized. Interestingly to me, that wasn't true of lower-priced places, like Serghei or Ciccio e Giampi, which execute the classic Bolognese menu with not a single nod to international trends.

                        I'll be curious to read what Scibilia's book recommends as Venetian equivalents for an only-in-Venice dining experience.

                        [Edited to add: I realize that both Venice and Bologna have long had high-end, astronomically priced, fancy signature restaurants with celebrity clientele that at this point can fairly be described as truly local institutions. Rome and Milan too. But that is a different story from what I am seeking out.)

                        1. re: barberinibee
                          jen kalb Sep 26, 2011 05:20 AM

                          Scibiia's book is from a venetian point of view. Why dont you grab a copy and draw your own conclusions.

                          I dont think any of the reports on alle testiere, for example, suggest they run toward "creativee cuisine". Venice is a very conservative place and it might be mild innovation away from the seafood-olive oil-lemon-a little parsley basic formula, like a little touch of spice. Anice Stellato is one of these places and when we went there, it read totally as venetian. these "innovations" are likely part of the older venetian traditions which included some of the exotic ingredients their ships were bringing from the east. It was less of a backwater then.

                          When Scibilia says budget threatening, first of all it is humor, second, she is talkiing from a middle class Venetian point of view. Today's Venetians can hardly afford to eat their specialties out in the current cliimate. You can judge for yourself based on the numbers she presents.

                          -----
                          Anice Stellato
                          Cannaregio, 3272, Venezia , IT

                          1. re: jen kalb
                            b
                            barberinibee Sep 26, 2011 07:51 AM

                            I will buy the Scibila book and draw my own conclusions, but I'm only going to buy it in Italian, and I'm certain I will still get the humor, as I already had in your post. It's not available in English in Italy, and since I don't need it in English, I'm not going to spend over $100 to get a used copy from the US or the UK. I don't have an I-phone, which doesn't work very well where I live.

                            rrems review of Alle Testiere of just yesterday says this, and I quote directly:

                            "We found the food a bit more creative than typical Venetian."

                            Perhaps you feel rrems doesn't recognzie typical Venetian food when he or she eats it. I don't know -- and I'm not trying to provoke an argument. But do pity the poor rest of us trying to sort out these conflicting reports from regular Venice goers.

                            I understand at least some of the history of Venetian food and -- and please don't interpret my rant as being a reaction to you -- but I really have been exasperated by the frequent caveats made about Venetian restaurants. Some are repeatedly termed "classic" and recommended to others as serving Venetian cuisine, but when live reports come back that either (a) classic Venetian dishes were poorly prepared there or (b) reviews of the restaurant talk about "new twists" or not "typcially Venetian", people are told they must have ordered the wrong thing, not understood Venetian cooking, and shouldn't have taken the first recommendation so literally anyway and gone to a different Venetian restaurant if that's what they wanted.

                            Yet at the same time, when somebody returns from Venice to rave about all the fab meals they ate in Venice, eating things like mozzerella, or pesto sauces, or meat and pizza, somebody cites it as evidence that those negative things you've heard about eating in Venice at doge-impoverishing prices are myth.

                            Just sayin', T.

                            I'll get Ms. Scibilia's book the next time I am near a Feltrinelli.

                            -----
                            Alle Testiere
                            Calle del Mondo Novo,Sestiere Castello,5801, Venice, Veneto 30122, IT

                            1. re: barberinibee
                              jen kalb Sep 26, 2011 08:49 AM

                              Its a 15E book but of limited availability except online and from street venders in Venice.

                              http://www.teodolinda.it/02osterie.pdf

                              for some reason the most recent edition out is in English (2010

                              )

                              latest italian 2009) http://www.ibs.it/ser/serfat.asp?site...

                              I certainly dont want to get into an argument on these matters. Im sure with your access to beautiful food in Liguria, the seafood and fish in Venice does not read as special to you as to me, coming from NY. We dont get true scampi here, canocchie, etc. except maybe shipping in and served at restaurants I cant afford. On the other hand, items like risotto al go, and schie are probably available in only a limited way elsewhere - maybe to some degree up in FVG?

                              There seem like two trends in operation that are confusing the picture. One is overwhelmingly, the influence of tourists who want "caprese" , pesto, veal dishes and "bolognese" wherever they go in Italy - and in a place like Venice, where most of the eaters these days are tourists, its understandable that chef try to meet their needs - as well as the needs of people - like may who come onto these boards for advice - who dont eat fish or seafood" The other is development in the cuisine and perhaps ambitions of profesional chefs to use new ingredients from out of region (well lemons are out of most regions for example so this isnt new) - as part of a newer italian cuisine.
                              any there are many eaters in Venice and elsewhere who want some variety from the staple dishes. There are alwsys folks who want to try something well done in a new way. Some of our Rome posters fall into this camp. There is nothing wrong with it - we just need to be clear about what sort of cuisine we are looking for.

                              ps, if PBSF is on this thread, what restaurants do you think present traditional venetian cuisine very well? What do you think of Dalla Marisa? They seem to offer both meat and fish dishes in their evening meals but I havent been able to sample yet.

                              1. re: jen kalb
                                b
                                barberinibee Sep 27, 2011 04:24 PM

                                Jen,

                                I tasted canocchie for the first time when I went to Friuli. The fact that I get to eat nice Ligurian seafood frequently doesn't diminish my interest in the regional specialties of the Adriatic.

                                As you might imagine, I really could care less about the desires of tourists to travel to Italy and not eat Italian food unless they have a medical condition. That said, whenever I go to Switzerland, I try to find a Chinese restaurant. (Still, somehow I think that is better than trying to find a Swiss restaurant that serves rosti with a new twist or molecular fondue.

                                I think Italian food is based on an exquisite understanding on the human digestive system. That's why I live here. I'm deeply suspicious of a newer Italian cuisine.

                                1. re: zerlina
                                  livingvenice Sep 28, 2011 07:42 AM

                                  just an aside: dalla Marisa is €15 at lunch an €40 for dinner. I'd go for the meat rather than fish, frankly (whoever reserves first names the evening menu), but just eating there is worth it just because she's one of a kind, period - does all the cooking herself, BTW.

                                  1. re: livingvenice
                                    b
                                    barberinibee Sep 28, 2011 08:17 AM

                                    Interestingly, I was just flipping through the Slow Food guide to help some friends who are planning a visit to Ravenna, so I looked at more closely at the Venice section, which I had only glanced at before, having no immediate plans to go there. Dalla Marisa is there, with many recommendations for the meat dishes, but also for the summer menu (with baccala mantecato).

                                    It would be interesting to hear what recent vistiors or Venice residents have thought of their other 2011 recs if they have recently dined there for full meals:

                                    Alla Botte, Antica Adelaide, Ca' d'Oro Detta Alla Vedova (full meals) and they also mention La Bitta, but I know that's often been discussed in recent posts.

                                    Apologies in advance if these have already been discussed in recent posts. I looked but missed any recent references to full meals there. And I better add -- at the risk of more hectoring from Zerlina -- that I am also deeply suspicious of anything marketed as "slow" these days in Italy.

                                    -----
                                    Dalla Marisa
                                    Cannareggio 652b, Fondamenta San Giobbe, Venezia 720211, IT

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

                                    Antica Adelaide
                                    Sestiere Cannaregio 3278, Venice, Veneto , IT

                                    Alla Vedova
                                    Ramo del Ca' d'Oro, Venice, Veneto 30121, IT

                                2. re: jen kalb
                                  jen kalb Sep 28, 2011 07:55 AM

                                  adding link for Dalla Marisa - glad its getting discussed. There was some disappointment expressed a couple years back about food quality at lunchtime (when the cheap workman's lunch is offered) but I havent seen any recent reports on her dinners.

                                  Is there a choice of meat or fish, or does she do one or the other on a given evening?

                                  -----
                                  Dalla Marisa
                                  Cannareggio 652b, Fondamenta San Giobbe, Venezia 720211, IT

                                  1. re: jen kalb
                                    livingvenice Sep 28, 2011 08:07 AM

                                    Whoever reserves first for a particular evening chooses the menu: meat or fish. Everyone else will have that. Operai / workers' lunch menus are set.

                                    I wouldn't go because it's the best meal you'll ever have. I'd go because Marisa's cooking it, and there's a lot of food, and you'll be served a big slice of vita Cannaregiota along with whatever the menu is. :)

                                3. re: barberinibee
                                  z
                                  zerlina Sep 26, 2011 10:04 AM

                                  Where are you going to draw the line for "classic Venetian dishes"? Sarde in saor are as classic as you can get, but they are "cucina povera". PBSF reliably informs us that Fiaschetteria Toscana, which most people would classify as a "classic Venetian" restaurant, "ennobles" it by making it with sole. Similarly, I don't think many higher-end restaurants offer another "classic Venetian" dish: baccala mantecato.

                                  1. re: zerlina
                                    jen kalb Sep 26, 2011 10:52 AM

                                    its a matter of interpretation, isnt it? Venice is not now the wealthy, world center it was . To me classic would include everything from the genuine local cucina povera to recreations of dishes that were made in a more affluent, populous and earlier time. Such a cuisine would have included imported as well as local ingredients..

                                    The last couple times we were in venice, it seemed that fewer and fewer restaurants were offering risotto. Was that a function of it being a difficult dish for last minute preparation - or reduced demand?

                                    1. re: zerlina
                                      b
                                      barberinibee Sep 27, 2011 04:27 PM

                                      zerlina,

                                      I don't think these lines are drawn by me. I think they pre-date my birth. I too have read about this "ennobling" of the cucina povera and I do understand that people in Venice can't make a living operating restaurants that serve Venetian food to tourists. I'm not going to shout at the moon about it. I just want the difference noted, and no pressure put on me to agree this is an "improvement." I can't see how it is.

                              2. re: jen kalb
                                livingvenice Sep 26, 2011 09:13 AM

                                Michela's book is indeed in app form: "Tap Venice Eating," and very useful.

                              3. re: barberinibee
                                PBSF Sep 27, 2011 10:26 AM

                                I didn't think your post was directed at me personally. I post often on this board because I love Venice and hopefully my extensive time spent as a longtime visitor will help others enjoy their visits. Although I have travel through much of Italy, much of my travel have been similar to most casual visitors, a few days here and a few days there. My knowledge of Italian history and the regional Italian cooking is not deep but I do try to familiar myself with some of the basics when I travel so I have a frame of reference. After so many years of eating and cooking, I think I have a decent palate. When I eat out while traveling, I don't eat much ethnic food but I don't get too hung up on terms such as traditional, creative, modern, etc. When I post on this board, I always try to read between the lines and figure out if a particular recommendation is appropriate for the OP. Given all my pontification, will finally add my point of view to some things on your posts:
                                *Cost of the popular restaurants discussed on this board: without going to the minute details for each course, coperato, coffee, etc, Al Covo has a three course prix-fixed (choices off the menu) at 58euro (no extra coperato added) and a current post by rrems that you referred to are good barometers. The cost is pretty much in line other restaurants such as Antiche Carampane, Al Fontego, Fiascheterria Toscana. Da Fiore is in a more expensive category: 35 to 40euros for antipasti/primi; 45 for secondi, 15 for dolci.
                                *Terms such traditional, creative, international, etc have different meanings depending to the individual. If you asked me for recommendation to traditional Venetian restaurant, my answer might be different than for some one else. What is international: a throwback to the old term 'continental'?, restaurants that take traditional food and present it in a new way? a restaurant that uses ingredients from different parts of the world? modern designer decor? And what does it mean when someone states that a restaurant can be in any cosmopolitan city in the world? Not many Italian chef/restauranteur has duplicate restaurant anywhere in the world. Exceptions being the Cipranis and Da Fiore. I still believe that there is a particular uniqueness to Italian food eaten in Italy. There are no Le Calandre or alle Testiere or Antiche Carampane being duplicated all over the world. So what if Marea in NYC has a scampi dish similar to Da Fiore in Venice. Does that mean that the dish is 'international', it is not worth eating or that Venetians have to travel to NYC to eat it's own creation? Places like Marea, Babbo, Del Posto in NYC try to re-create an "Italian" experience but it always come across as a NewYork-Italian experience; and NYC is not the US. Most visitors from rest of the US are starving for some part of Italy. I live in San Francisco and I would die to get some of the beautiful seafood from the Rialto. If I search hard enough, I may find a similar gaspacho with octopus dish that rrem enjoyed at Alle Testiere but it is by no mean common. For many visitors to Italy, regardless of their background, these dishes are a revelation.
                                *As someone living in Italy, your perspective, knowledge of italian food, what you want from a restaurant are, in most cases, are different from most casual visitors on a short visit. Most are less hung up about food terms such as traditional, creative or less discriminating in what they eat. But unless I ate the same meal and it is not good, who am I to tell them that some of us would not be drawn to this type of restaurant or what they ate are not traditional food and that I wouldn't be ordering mozzarella or veal chop in Venice. They enjoyed their meal and reporting it; what types of restaurant that I am drawn to or what I would order is irrelevant in this case. Yes, we can be skeptical and when someone say it is the "best" a few too many times, we can just pass on that post. Or start a new thread on a particular topic. Living in Italy and a person who is passionate about Italian food, you have many more sources for information and also dig deeper, but for the casual visitors on a short visit, the Italy board on this site is quite useful.
                                *"where to go in Venice to eat exemplary best-quality Venetian food---not where I can go to get a good meal in Venice": my honest answer if it is directed to you: nowhere; no restaurant that I have eaten can at deliver that.
                                *"Venice is not a food destination"; so true for eating out but it is not a waste land for a short visit; not true if one buys ingredients and cook.
                                *"Why there is so little consensus on so many of Venetian restaurants": a complicated issue, made more complicated that the internet allows all of us to be restaurant critics. I find the 'no consensus' thing to be true to just about every popular tourist cities.

                                1. re: PBSF
                                  b
                                  barberinibee Sep 27, 2011 04:01 PM

                                  Hi, sorry I only now had a chance to read your long reply.

                                  I think we only seriously differ on a few things, and the one thing we don't differ on at all is the value of the Chowhound Italy board to travelers, even given how much skepticism one should bring to reading internet posts.

                                  Where we more seriously differ is that I do think there is an international style of upscale restaurant-ing, somewhat in the same way there is an international style for airports, and Italy has not been entirely successful in walling itself off from the trend, and it diminishes the flavor of Italy, both on the plate, and speaking poetically, culturally.

                                  I also don't think descriptions of local food cultures are as subjective or as subject to wide interpretation as you do.

                                  Another point where we differ is that long before I ever moved to Italy, I traveled around Europe and the middle east curious to see things, hear things, do things, taste things that were unavailable to me in the US, or only available in very distorted form. I honestly don't think I am such a lonely traveler. I just think it has become easier for people to market synthetic experiences to people, and harder for the people who don't market that to survive. I think most travelers still want what I want when they travel: something they can't get at home at all.

                                  I realize that sounds crazy -- and it must sound particularly crazy to someone who spends a lot of time among the tourist mobs of Venice -- but it is my conviction that people don't actually want the synthetic, but Americans in particular frown upon persistent complaining, so they make do with the synthetic and smile.

                                  I am sorry to learn that you've not uncovered a restaurant in Venice that serves exemplary, best-quality Venetian food. I will read Scibilia's book before next heading to Venice, but the situation does sound bleak.

                                  1. re: barberinibee
                                    PBSF Sep 28, 2011 03:29 PM

                                    I am sure we agree more than it appears. From my experiences, the internet forums such as this one are not a good place to discuss complicated topics as those you brought up. First of all, it is difficult to discuss issues without some base of reference. Second, the thread will eventually becomes convoluted, one sided, sidetrack, etc. Just want to put my view on couple of points:
                                    On the topic of Italy warding off the trend of internationalism: a country that has a strong enough tradition such as food in Italy will be able to stand on its own. What eventually worth preserving will gets preserved. No culture that stays pat and insulated can remain vibrant. Think back the rich history of Italy as it relates to food to the introduction of different vegetables from the New World, the spices from the east, the influences of the different cultures from their conquest, immigration and trade. What would Venice be like without the Byzantines and Austrians? Why must Italians be robbed of the chance to eat food of ‘International’ style?
                                    During my early visits to Venice in the late 70's and early 80's, I had difficult time finding good places to eat. There were no Slow Food, Plotkin or Sciblia; never heard of Gambaro Rosso. We ate at Harry's Bar, Alla Madonna, da Rafaelle, Antico Martini, Dona Onesta. None I would return today. Now, there are Alle Testiere, Al Covo, Boccadoro, Bancogiro, Al Fontego, Al Paradiso,The Met, Da Pisis; Osteria da Fiore; Fiaschetteria Toscana, Vini da Gigio and Antiche Carampane have been transformed from taverns to full fledge tratttoria/ristorante. Many of the good traditional places such as Ostario Garanghelo, Antica Dolo, Al Bacareto remain. New bacari are open that offer wines beside those from Italy. Venetian should be able to taste wines from Spain, Chile, The US, Australia. Now, there are some variety that the few Venetian friends that I have really appreciate. They eating out better (though more expensive) now than ever.
                                    Yes, they are not world beaters and most of these places no longer serve the strict definition of traditional Venetian cuisine. With a couple of exceptions, they are all run by dedicated Venetians and proud of their cuisine. Chefs should be allow to use creatively, experiences and ideas from their travels to develop new dishes. Should they be bound to make bacala mantecato, saor, risi e bisi, fegato, grilled scampi, tiramisu the same way all their lives. Cuisine declines when the chef doesn't care. There is room for both the traditional bacala mantecato and a de-constructed version I had at The Met a few years ago. Couple years back at Le Calandre in Padua, I had a veal kidney risotto flavored with curry. It would not be something that I would order but the server was a good sell. It was a terrific dish: the risotto was less soupy than typical Venetian; the tiniest kidneys were thinly sliced and arranged petal like over the rice finished with a very light dusting of curry powder around the edges. The combination and platting and would alarm the traditionalist. First of all, the dish was beautiful to look at; the first smell of the curry powder was intoxicating and the kidneys perfectly cooked by the heat of the rice. By itself, the rice did not have much kidney flavor but it picked up plenty once eaten with a piece of kidney. The curry powder helped soften the stronger flavor of the kidney and added a hint of exoticness. We also had a suckling pig with all’amtriciana sauce, definitely not a dish from the Veneto. When Chef Alajmo came out to chat, we asked him the reason it was on the menu. He simply with his charming Italian said that he loves Rome and thought he would make a simple dish from it. We should judge a dish by the quality of the ingredients, the precise cooking and the taste and not by some preconceived notion of what is worth preserving or if it falls into this genre or that.
                                    Take Spain as an example. It has some of the most avant-garde restaurants anywhere in the world and probably as many fast food joints as Italy but their strong food tradition keeps everything in balance. In San Sebastian, one can eat the most modern food at Arzak, then walk down to the old city and eat some of the best and simplest pintxos. The traditional tapas culture in Madrid and Andalusia is as popular as ever. Everybody is clamoring for Galacian seafood. Barcelona never had a tapas/pintxos culture until about 15 years ago but now places are everywhere because that is what locals want to eat. The quality of traditional Catalan restaurants had been on an alarming decline until a few years ago when a few chefs decided to open restaurants serving traditional Catalan food. They lighten up the food and change the old bullfighting decor. Now it is on an upswing. I think Italy is in the same position.
                                    The topic of what visitors want to eat, why they pick a particular place and how they interpret their dining experiences is something none of us has the ability to figure out. Venice draws just about every type of visitors from every parts of the world. It requires an anthropology project. Venice will always remain a problematic city because of its shrinking population. It is a city taken over by wealthy as a second home. Hopefully, they want to eat better food than most daytrippers. A plus is that I think visitors are getting more savvy about food.
                                    From reading your various posts, I got the impression that during your travel, you want to eat the best traditional regional food and anything less than that is unacceptable. Most diners on this board aren't like that. Food is important but for most of us, having a good time is the most. For us, we don’t worry about is the sheet of pasta rolled thin enough for the tortellini or if there is parmesan cheese in the breading for the fried sardines. Just because a kitchen put cheese in their breading for fish does not immediately make it a terrible place. Some of us might interpret it as the chef is clueless or maybe he likes it and feels it improves the dish. That stuff is for the restaurant critics. Some of the best food I've ever had was at L'Ambroisie in Paris but I would never eat there again even if someone else pays because it feels like a tomb. Not just the service was unyielding, except for a couple of tables of French, everyone else was nibbling at their food, analyzing it, picking it apart. Nobody was having a good time.

                            2. re: barberinibee
                              guttergourmet Sep 27, 2011 11:47 AM

                              Wow. I go away for a few days and come back to controversy. I love it. Let me try to reply to various points on the thread. While Olivanera did serve some "non-regional" i.e. non-local/traditional dishes, that was very much the exception among these restaurants. Dishes which I had, often at multiple restaurants, included: granceole, fegato alla Veneziana,moleche,bisato sull'ara,scampi, canestrelli, alici,bigoli in salsa, gnocchetti, risotto di go, , risotto al nero di seppia, sarde in saor, baccala mantecato. Can't find these dishes in NYC or even elsewhere in Italy. I will continue this discussion shortly.

                              1. re: guttergourmet
                                guttergourmet Sep 27, 2011 12:42 PM

                                Scibilia's book, which smelled like cigarettes and was purchased from a used bookseller over th internet from the UK for $35 as it is near impossible to find outside of Venice and sells for upwards of $200 on other sites, was my trusted companion. (Anybody wanna buy my copy?) Also a Trade Association book called Venezia e i ristoranti dell"Eccellenza came in handy. While there, I purchased English translations of Venice, Food and Wine which is the cookbook of Osteria alle Testiere and the Osteria da Fiore cookbook to memorialize two of the outstanding meals I had. While all of the restaurants were expensive (we were 4 people including my wife, daughter and mother), that was partly attributable to the sorry state of the greenback. Average cost with wine for 4 people was 250 euros. Besides, in NYC I'm used to dropping $250 on sushi (as I did last night) just for myself. I was also happy eating mortadella and proscuitto panini at 5 euros and really enjoyed the pizza which I joked was more Staten Island than Neopolitan style. Forgot to mention unbelievable fritto misto, polenta e schie, cannocchie and, of course, tiramisu from the city that invented it.

                                -----
                                Osteria da Fiore
                                Calle del Scaleter, San Polo 2202A, Venice, Veneto 30125, IT

                                1. re: guttergourmet
                                  jen kalb Sep 27, 2011 01:02 PM

                                  No need to buy a used copy of the Scibilia, just use the IBS site I linked above and its easy to buy. LIke I said, itsalso possible to find in Venice, I had a bit of a time finding it the first time 6 or 7 years ago, since Ididnt know what I was looking for but there was an outdoor newspaper vendor selling it in the Campo around the Miracoli church, and I later found it in a bookstore near San Marco.

                                  On cookbooks there is a paperback Periplus cookbood by Luigi Veronelli which has a collection of recipes from Venice restaurants, with pictures - it seems pretty good.

                                  http://www.biblio.com/9789625935041

                                  Regarding your Venice eating,

                                  there is another thread asking for Tiramisu recommendations - where did you find it good?

                                  where did you have your unbelievable fritto misto?

                                  1. re: jen kalb
                                    guttergourmet Sep 27, 2011 08:41 PM

                                    Frito misto was fantastic everywhere but Al Covo and Busa alla Torre on Murano stand out. The latter included moleche and was served by the jolly red giant himself, owner Lele.

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

                                  2. re: guttergourmet
                                    PBSF Sep 27, 2011 01:52 PM

                                    Venice would like for everybody to think that she invented tiramisu. The documented believe is that it was invented in Treviso.

                                    1. re: guttergourmet
                                      z
                                      zerlina Sep 27, 2011 03:30 PM

                                      Scibilia's book (English edition 2010) is available online for somewhat less at www.bol.it to those who don't mind patronizing Berlusconi's media empire.

                                      Where did you have moleche in late August/early September? They're normally not in season before October.

                                      1. re: zerlina
                                        b
                                        barberinibee Sep 27, 2011 03:40 PM

                                        I'm not at a good internet connection right now but I think I also saw it available online -- but in Italian -- from Feltrinelli.

                                    2. re: guttergourmet
                                      b
                                      barberinibee Sep 27, 2011 04:02 PM

                                      Guttergourmet,

                                      Glad to hear that you aren't upset by all the sidebar banter and thanks for providing more details and hope you will provide more. The exchange rate got a bit more favorable from the American point of view since you left Venice, but 250 euros per meal is just shy of $400 per meal as of today's rate.

                                      I am surprised you say you can't find some of the dishes you ate in Venice in NYC -- even fegato alla Veneziana. Truth be told, the versions I've eaten at Osteria al Doge in NYC were better than the one I ate at Fiaschetteria Toscana. (Likeewise, at Il Girasole in NYC, but it is not a regular item on the menu there).

                                      http://www.osteria-doge.com/menu_pesc...

                                      1. re: barberinibee
                                        guttergourmet Sep 27, 2011 08:31 PM

                                        It is interesting how NYC has become obsessed with all things Italian. Speaking of tiramisu, Dolce Vizio Tiramisu just opened here offering 10 different varieties of tiramisu in addition to the "classic"(mango or nutella anyone?) Eataly is a Disneyesque version of Italy brought to you by Mario Batali. But you can get a bicerin or a bellini to accompany your crudo there. I have both a Grom and Amorino gelateria across the street from me. I can get culatello di Zibello on occasion at Salumeria Rosi owned by Parmacotta on the Upper West Side. And I just strolled through the feast of San Gennaro which is being revitalized thanks to two young Italian American chefs named Torrisi and Carbone. Having said that, nothing substitutes for the experience of being in Italy. I walked past a DHL delivery truck today that had a life-size photo of Venice painted on it and I desperately wanted to jump into the picture!

                                        -----
                                        Grom
                                        via del Campanile, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

                                        1. re: guttergourmet
                                          b
                                          barberinibee Sep 28, 2011 07:53 AM

                                          Even in Italy, the Eataly outlets are a Disneyesque version of Italy. I agree that it is interesting that not only NYC, but America in general, became obsessed with all things Italian. I chalk it up in part to a campaign against all things French in recent years.

                                          Also, in all this shuffle, you may have missed Zerlina's post asking where you ate moleche in Venice.

                                          1. re: barberinibee
                                            guttergourmet Sep 28, 2011 12:04 PM

                                            It was in my response to Jen above-Busa alla Torre de Lele on Murano. Cannot find moleche in NYC for love or money. While in Venice I also enjoyed bresaola di cavallo-something else I could not get back home. The world has indeed shrunk since I've been to Europe but not entirely.

                                            1. re: guttergourmet
                                              livingvenice Sep 28, 2011 12:20 PM

                                              Been here 7 years and still can't get myself to eat horse meat no matter how bresaola'd, but soft-shelled mo'eche crabs are just coming into the short fall season and you should be able to find them at any reputable fish-serving eatery around town (poor dears).

                                              1. re: livingvenice
                                                h
                                                hmast Sep 28, 2011 01:38 PM

                                                Will the mo'che crabs be around the first week of November?

                                                1. re: hmast
                                                  livingvenice Sep 28, 2011 01:53 PM

                                                  Yes, yes, they certainly should be.

                                                2. re: livingvenice
                                                  jen kalb Sep 28, 2011 04:54 PM

                                                  I dont much like the single dried version of the horse meat I had some on a salad in Bergamo this summer, it reminded me of all manner of other dried meats- from chipped beef to commercial bacon bits - I am sure it was an inferior versin - but I had a wonderful horse-based stew in Verona which changed my mind a few years back, a wonderful sweet beefy taste. But my husband wouldnt try it.

                                                  I had moeche at Da Fiore in Venice - they were good but not spectacular - I actually got bored and didnt finish my dish. I like the French or Chinese treatment of softshells better, guttergourmet.

                                                3. re: guttergourmet
                                                  b
                                                  barberinibee Sep 28, 2011 03:42 PM

                                                  Guttergourmet,

                                                  Sorry I missed your earlier answer.

                                                  Even if you could find mo'eche, moleche or moeche for love or money in NYC, I don't know why you want to eat them there. I would think it impossible not to compromise them by shipping them such a distance.

                                                  I agree with you that the world has yet to shrink entirely. I enthusiastically think that is why some of us still travel -- even though I've no desire to eat cavallo, which I don't see in Liguria by the way, let alone moleche or other Venetian foods. Having made risi e bisi for many years from recipes in my own kitchen, I hope someday to taste an authentic version in Venice and learn what there is to be learned. Sorry to continue to beat a dead cavallo, but to accuse travelers in search of original local food as arrogant or retro or ignorant, especially on a food forum for Italy, seems to miss the reason some people take an interest in eating out in Venice.

                                                  1. re: barberinibee
                                                    guttergourmet Sep 29, 2011 04:02 AM

                                                    Let me take a stab at some of these issues. Being born and bred (another cavallo pun?) in NYC, I find this thread very interesting. Were a tourist/traveler to come to NYC and tell me he or she wanted to experience the "local" cuisine, I would eschew the recently opened Peruvian, Malaysian, Spanish, Indian, Mexican and even Italian restaurants (all of which I will be eating at) in favor of lox and bagels, pastrami on rye and New York style pizza. Of course, like Venice and every other major international city, NYC's " local" cuisine is a product of immigrant influences and I simply identified the oldest. Waves of new immigrants continue to shape NYC cuisine and traditions so that I now, in addition to being a stone's throw from Manhattan's Chinatown (not to mention the newer and vastly more interesting Chinatown in Flushing, Queens) and a revitalizing Little Italy (not to mention the. Little Italy in the Bronx), I also live in a neighborhood yet to officially be christened "Little Japan" and work 10 blocks away from Koreatown. British ex-pats have colonized NYC recently as the Irish did before them and thank God French cuisine continues to thrive. All of these cuisines, whether traditional, authentic, fusion or molecular co-exist and I love them all. If I had not visited NYC before, or for 18 years as was the case for me with Venice, I'd probably stick with lox and bagels, pastrami and "local" pizza. That is what I tried to do in Venice. Of course, most people, unlike me, do not book their restaurant reservations ahead of their plane and hotel arrangements and most prefer Fodor's to Slow Food and "Local" food guides. But those folks are not the ones who make this site so fascinating like you, my fellow Hounds.

                                                    1. re: guttergourmet
                                                      h
                                                      hmast Sep 29, 2011 05:30 AM

                                                      Where's the like button?

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