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Venice trip Oct 22-26

m
mandafire Oct 3, 2011 06:59 PM

First trip to Venice since my stay at a nunnery in Guidecca 12 years ago... and this time I actually have two pennies to rub together!

So... we have one dinner already with a group (required attendance, not sure where) and thus have three evenings and four full days. I'm thinking that we should make reservations for dinner and wing it for a lighter lunch. Cichetti possible at lunch, or just at dinner?

I'm between these for dinner:
Al Covo
Antiche Carampane
Anice Stellato
Alla Fontana
Al Fontego dei Pescatori
Boccadoro

Lunch as stated above, and maybe Il Refolo or Alla Fontana if we don't make it for dinner. Or maybe just a gelati-only lunch ;)

Our eating goals: good food, not overly fussy, reasonably friendly environment (I've been working on my Italian, but a couple months of Italian tapes can only take you so far). We'd prefer to not spend crazy amounts on *every* meal, but are willing to pay for good food. I'm assuming that I should make reservations before leaving the states? We tend to eat late; what is the best go-to dinner time in Venice to actually be around Venetians?

I have been so impressed by the friendly and knowledgeable people on this board, and thus thank you all in advance!

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Anice Stellato
Cannaregio, 3272, Venezia , IT

Il Refolo
Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio, 1459, Venezia 30135, IT

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

Alla Fontana
Fondamenta di Cannaregio 1102, Venice, Veneto , IT

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

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  1. PBSF RE: mandafire Oct 3, 2011 09:25 PM

    You will be in Venice during the weekend; many places are closed Sunday and/or Mondays, Monday being more so. Plan accordingly and with your list, you shouldn't have any problem finding a place for either day.
    Reservations: you don't need to reserve weeks in advance. If you are not flexible with a particular restaurant for a particular day, ie Al Covo being the only one on your list that is opened both Sundays and Mondays, you should reserve before you leave for Venice. Venice is not a night city therefore, I would reserve for the time you desire. Most Venetians reserve for around 7:30-8pm. Don't count on being around a lot of Venetians if one is dining in central Venice. You will hear Italian among the various language but more likely than not, they are visitors like you. Only areas untouched by many visitors are eastern Castello and some parts of Cannaregio. Generally, no need to reserve for lunch.
    Our eating goal....: except for a few exceptions and those in luxury hotels, restaurants/trattorias/osterias in Venice are not overly fussy and reasonably friendly. Places on your list are used to dealing with English speaking visitors though knowing some Italian is always a big plus.
    Cicchetti: one can eat cicchetti in the numerous bacari or in the front bar of many trattorias/osterias. Most bacari are closed Sundays and some close as early as 8:30pm. Venetians tend to eat cicchetti during lunch, late afternoon and into the early evenings. Many places will keep their front bar open throughout the evening but the food can get sparse as the evening wears on and the crowd thins out.
    Hope the above answer most of your questions.

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

    15 Replies
    1. re: PBSF
      m
      mandafire RE: PBSF Oct 4, 2011 04:31 AM

      Thanks, PBSF, for the very useful information. Good to know that I don't need to reserve everything before we leave.

      I have done my research on these boards, and know that there there are many opinions as to where to eat. Given my list, what are your top dinner choices?

      Thanks again for your time and thoughtful response.

      1. re: mandafire
        PBSF RE: mandafire Oct 4, 2011 08:48 AM

        Regarding to reservation, maybe I wasn't very clear. You don't need to make reservation weeks ahead and probably not for lunch. You will be there for the weekend, I would reserve BEFORE you leave for Venice if there is a particularly restaurant that you want to eat on a particular evening. Weekend in Venice gets even more crowded with all the second home visitors descending on the city. And many places are closed Sundays and/or Mondays, therefore choices are limited.
        As for your list, I have not been to Alla Fontana. Al Fontego just re-opened after a short closing this summer and I have not heard anything about it since. I have not been to Anice Stellato for number of years but it is very good the last time. Couple of my Venetian friends have been more recently and thought the same. It is less expensive than the others on your list. The food is more or less traditional with their signature use of spices (not "hot spicy" or to overwhelm). I really don't have any 'top' choices as I've mentioned Al Covo, Antiche Carampane and Boccadoro often on this board. It comes down to what you are looking for. They all serve excellent seafood with Al Covo having meat/poultry choices. And it is open both Sundays and Mondays, a consideration if you want a very good place for those days. The ambience of Boccadoro is simple modern, smaller menu and slightly less expensive.

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

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

        Alla Fontana
        Fondamenta di Cannaregio 1102, Venice, Veneto , IT

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

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

        1. re: PBSF
          jen kalb RE: PBSF Oct 4, 2011 04:41 PM

          Id only comment that Anice Stellato and Alla Fontana are more off the tourist track, in Cannaregio. when we are in the former for lunch a couple of years back it seemed like a local youngish crowd, mainly (people familiar to the proprietor). The food seemed like standard venetian from my perspective - any use of additional spice was very subtle.

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          Anice Stellato
          Cannaregio, 3272, Venezia , IT

          Alla Fontana
          Fondamenta di Cannaregio 1102, Venice, Veneto , IT

        2. re: mandafire
          PBSF RE: mandafire Oct 5, 2011 12:34 PM

          Oh yeah, forgot about Il Refolo. It is a fine place for either lunch or dinner. It is located in a small campo with outside seating. The main draw are their pizza, well made with nice ingredients. The small menu also has a few antipasti, primi and couple of secondi. I've only had their antipasti which are good and their pizzas. All in all, it is an expensive place. One is paying for the name and more refined ambience/service. If you are trying to stay within a budget or not overly frivolous with your euro, skip it. There are just as good pizza elsewhere: Nono Risorto (nice courtyard) and All'Anfora, both nearby. Others in different parts of Venice include Casa Mia in Cannairegio and Da Tosi in Castello, good if one is visiting Arsenale.
          If you happen to be sightseeing near Il Refolo, I would go to Al Prosecco, a good bacari with simple food and outside sitting on Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio, just a hop from Il Refolo.

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          Il Refolo
          Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio, 1459, Venezia 30135, IT

          Al Prosecco
          Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio, Santa Croce 1503, 30135, Venice, Veneto 30135, IT

          1. re: PBSF
            m
            mandafire RE: PBSF Oct 5, 2011 04:55 PM

            Thank you to both of you for your very helpful responses. We are staying in Cannairegio, so your comments are especially pertinent. I think we'll stay away from Il Refolo and go for another of the places that PBSF recommended. For dinner, I think we'll do Anice Stellato and Al Covo (to accommodate my husband, who like his meat; for myself, I am having fairly constant dreams of moeche...), and I have yet to decide on the third night.

            And if I can impose on the two of you with one more question: we get in at 9am on Saturday morning. I was thinking cicchetti early on and then a simple dinner... would hate to do something like Al Covo or Anice Stellato when we might be kind of loopy with jet lag. Opinions?

            Once again, thank you so much. I will make sure to report back after our trip!

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

            Il Refolo
            Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio, 1459, Venezia 30135, IT

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

            1. re: mandafire
              jen kalb RE: mandafire Oct 5, 2011 07:58 PM

              Anice Stellato and previously mentioned Alla Fontana are very simple, not at all posh like Al Covo. I think they would be fine for a night if you are jet lagged, since they are not loud and boisterous, yet you could be served in a quicker way.Or maybe some of the places down by Ca'd'Oro?

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              Anice Stellato
              Cannaregio, 3272, Venezia , IT

              Alla Fontana
              Fondamenta di Cannaregio 1102, Venice, Veneto , IT

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

              Ca' d'Oro Alla Vedova
              Ramo Ca' d'Oro, Cannaregio 3912, Venice, Veneto , IT

              1. re: mandafire
                PBSF RE: mandafire Oct 5, 2011 10:45 PM

                If you get in at 9am on Saturday, THE place to go is the Rialto market. Packed with shoppers and just about everyone else. Go to the various bacari around the market: L'Arco, do Spade (only one with seats), Al Merca, do Mori is historic despite the sometime cold owners. Muro dish out a Saturday special plate around 11:30am at their outside stand for around 8 euro including a glass of wine. There is outdoor seating. Might be a seafood risotto, some sort of pasta, or a fish soup. Pesce Pronto does the same but no seating and no wine though food is generally better. Neither is gastronomic heaven but it is in the spirit of the market. The pescheria closes around 12:30pm and the produce shortly after. Make sure to visit the shops around it. If you get into Marco Polo at 9am and the transport to Cannairegio goes smoothly (not always the case with Venice, especially for first time visitors), there should be a little time left for the Rialto market before the pescheria closes. Transport advice if you are staying at central or western part of Cannaregio: walk to Strada Nova and down Ca' D'Oro to the Grand Canal, take the traghetto (half a euro and a gondola ride to boot) across the Grand Canal to the market. If you are on the very eastern Cannaregio, faster just walk to the market.
                If you decide to stay in your area, Cannairegio is also very lively as Saturday is the big shopping day. There are good bacari or trattoria that serves cicchetti off Strada Nova: La Cantina, alla Vedova, La Bomba, ai promessi sposi are just a few. Unlike those near the Rialto market, they don't open 11am or a little after. Do try to make it to the Rialto market if you can. Sat morning is the best time to visit.
                For first evening simple dinner: in Cannairegio besides jen kalb's recommendation of Alla Fontana and Anice Stellato; even simpler are Alla Frasca, sit down at ai promessi Sposi, Bea Vita, Da Alberto (front bar cicchetti also). Should be able to get a table if one shows up early enough. Otherwise eat cicchetti at their front bar.

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                Anice Stellato
                Cannaregio, 3272, Venezia , IT

                Alla Fontana
                Fondamenta di Cannaregio 1102, Venice, Veneto , IT

                Bea Vita
                Cannaregio 3082, Venice, Veneto , IT

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

                1. re: PBSF
                  m
                  mandafire RE: PBSF Oct 6, 2011 08:31 AM

                  And, palms together, I bow to you both.

                  Good to know that it's worth getting to the market on Saturday if possible rather than waiting until Tues or Wed. I'll be making my dinner decisions in the next week and will make sure to fill you in after I return.

                  And if I may (it seems my questions never end)... I realize this is not a general travel group, but it is worth it to bring some wellies? I know we'll be edging in on acqua alta season. If not necessary, I'd rather not lug rain boots around, but if they'd make my life markedly easier, let the lugging commence.

                  Thanks again; I wish I could treat you two to an ombra for your help. Do know, at least, that I will raise multiple glasses in your honor.

                  1. re: mandafire
                    jen kalb RE: mandafire Oct 6, 2011 09:31 AM

                    Id just recommend checking the forecasts before you go to see whether you will need raingear.. Acqua alta is dependent on tide/moon cycles, wind direction and other factors.
                    Here is one link with continually updated info, http://www.comune.venezia.it/flex/cm/...
                    wunderground, which has long term forecasts and historic info should also be good.
                    looking forward to hearing all about your trip!

                    1. re: mandafire
                      PBSF RE: mandafire Oct 6, 2011 09:31 AM

                      If the morning of your arrival is tight, don't need to rush to the Rialto. Tuesday or Wednesday morning are fine. Better to have enough time than run around because the area gets quiet by 1:30 in the afternoon. Cannairegio is great on a Saturday, my favorite area for that day if I want to mingle and people watch. I love the bacari early afternoon on Saturdays.
                      Acqua Alta: If if were me, I would not lug a pair to Venice. Easy for me to say as we have pairs in our apartment. Only once during our stays in the early part of October that we ever needed them. If you are staying in a hotel, good chances that they will have a few pairs to lend out. In most cases during October, it is just an inconvenience for a couple of hours. And if it is a severe case, you will have great photo ops and lots of stories to tell. For a stay of only 4 days, I would chance it. And thank you for the glass of ombra. The weather have been great and October is a wonderful time.

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

                  2. re: mandafire
                    livingvenice RE: mandafire Oct 24, 2011 07:03 AM

                    Just to add a couple more options, I'll recommend Cantina for more than their crostini cichietti (which are lovely, Francesco's own, made on-the-spot and not ahead of time) -- for dinner you'll find the freshest fish and some of the best meat in the city, if not elsewhere. The wine list is always choice (lots of turnover as they stock only ten or twenty cases of anything), and the beer they brew has just got picked up by Calandre and the Alajmo brothers (wondering if it will appear at the Quadri eventually...).

                    Another Cannaregio option is Promessi Sposi, option for dinner daily, closing for lunch on Wed, I think, with some marvelous cichetti choices (the place will be jammed with locals at 18:30) and a lovely menu of fish, meat, and homemade pasta dishes, etc.

                    And of course Orto dei Mori is good to remember for being open on Mondays, particularly.

                    Don't bring boots -- your lodging will provide (you can check with them); or you can pick up any of the pairs that will line the streets on the first sound of the warning sirens. ;)

                    1. re: mandafire
                      livingvenice RE: mandafire Oct 24, 2011 07:08 AM

                      Will also second PBSF on al Prosecco, wonderful wine selection and meats, cheeses, salads, etc. If the weather's fine it makes for one of the great people-watching posts in all of Venice.

                      1. re: livingvenice
                        m
                        mandafire RE: livingvenice Dec 30, 2011 07:47 PM

                        Hello All! Sorry it's taken me so long to write this review.

                        First of all, thank you so much for your recommendations. We had an amazing time in Venice, and truly enjoyed being there long enough to start to get a feel for the rhythm of the city.

                        Okay- first day. We grabbed some nondescript coffee and pastries for brunch. For dinner, we met Nan McElroy with the Venetian Vine (venetian vine.com) for a wine class at Cantina. The class was great- she introduced us to 6 different wines specific to the Veneto (3 red and 3 white), which we drank along with some amazing cichietti. The class was a really nice experience and served us well during the rest of our trip. We ended up staying afterwards and ate a full meal (and another bottle of wine...). The owner made an amazing platter of different fish for us. Oh my- the most amazing, sweet, and tender octopus I have ever had. I'm still dreaming of it. And his tuna was so fresh and dressed with the most perfectly suited olive oil. Even my husband, who doesn't really care for raw fish, was blown away. Amazing meal. Service was good, though not particularly warm. No problem for us.

                        Second day
                        We grabbed lunch at a little place in Guidecca called Trattoria Ai Cacciatore. I had a very nice bigoli in salsa e sarde in saor. Yum. My husband had a lasagna in a b├ęchamel sauce which he is still swooning over. Good espresso at the end. Simple but good wine, good service.
                        Dinner was at Anice Stellato. Another wonderful meal. Probably the best service of all of our meals. We started with a vegetable and raw seafood platter, which was excellent. For the main course, I had a frito misto, which was huge and very good, though it did not blow me away. My husband had their lamb three-ways, which he loved. Desserts were not particularly memorable, coffee was nice. All in all, a very good meal in a nice setting with a helpful and warm wait staff.

                        On the third day, we went to Trattoria Da Romano on the island of Burano per a friend's recommendation, as we were spending the day on the islands. As we walked in I had a bad feeling about it, and should have trusted my gut. Nothing special, overpriced, bleh. Thank goodness we had Al Covo for dinner that night. I had a lovely spider crab pasta, and baked cod with cauliflower. My husband had some salumi, and lamb again. He was very pleased with his meal as well. For dessert, we had a very tasty chocolate cake. We really enjoyed Al Covo- the service and food were great. However, it seemed to have less the feel of Venice about it; I felt as if I could be in a fine restaurant in any city.

                        Our final day we went to Promessi Sposi, which was just around the corner from our hotel. It was great. We started with some fabulous cichetti, I then had great squash ravioli and creamed salt cod. Nondescript dessert. Coffee was very good. Service was attentive.

                        I know I'm leaving out some courses (sorry! I waited too long to post!), but the short of it is that we had a wonderful time eating our way around Venice. Thanks again for helping to make it possible!

                        1. re: mandafire
                          PBSF RE: mandafire Dec 30, 2011 10:25 PM

                          Thank you for taking the time to post your dining experience in Venice. Glad that most of it is good.

                          1. re: PBSF
                            m
                            mandafire RE: PBSF Apr 11, 2013 12:19 PM

                            I just picked up a new cookbook on Venetian cuisine (Polpo), and was transported back to my time there. Thank you again for all the great assistance in making it such a wonderful trip.

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