Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Italy >
Dec 8, 2011 06:27 AM

New Years in Venice

My boyfriend and I are spending 2 nights, 3 days in Venice for New Years. I've been 2 times before (1994 as a college student backpacking in the summer & 2002 with an Italian boyfriend from the Venice area during l'aqua alta). The bf has never been. This is going to be a completely different experience as a late 30s-40s couple. I am a New Yorker living in Bologna, and he is an Argentine coming from the States for vacation.

As a foodie, I am not usually a fan of dining on major holidays, especially in such a touristy place as Venice, but I know it's a romantic city, he asked specifically for this side trip from Bologna, and after reading the great posts by PBSF, Jen, tlubow, and livinginvenice, my appetite is whet!

Our budget is not without limits, but I think we can splurge a little. I was thinking based on the posts I read to do Fiaschetteria Toscana (ground floor) and alle Testiere for our 2 dinners depending on availability of course. Any suggestions on which to do for actual New Years eve, and which to do for the 30th? Also thinking about Promessi Sposi, da Rioba and Anice Stellato for a lunch, or others mentioned in previous postings. Are reservations needed normally for lunch?

We are staying at Ca'Leon which was one of the only places I could find with availability. It very close to the station which is not my preference, but I figure we'll just be dropping our stuff off and be out and about exploring all day and evening.

I typically like simple good, not modern food. I love that traditional Italian food is usually made with few but fresh ingredients, and the place doesn't have to be fancy. Although I am spoiled here Bologna with some of the best food, I am looking forward to a change with the seafood and other options apart from the heavy cuisine of "La Grassa."

Any feedback and suggestions are welcome.


Anice Stellato
Cannaregio, 3272, Venezia , IT

Da Rioba
Fondamenta de la Misericordia, Cannaregio, 2553, Venice, Veneto 30121, IT

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

La Bottega ai Promessi Sposi
calle dell'Oca, Cannaregio 4367,, Venice, Veneto , IT

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

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. IMO the area you are staying is not at all bad for touring - we have stayed in that general area a couple of times and it will mean that you just get a little different slice of Venice to experience than if you were near the Campo San Marco, say. It will be easy for you to get in and out of town you are convenient to the vaporetti stages to go in multiple directions around Venice, and you can easily walk (as the Venetians do) across toward the rialto Market, the Grand Canal, the Accademia, etc. You are close to Tonolo, the bars in Campo Santa Margherita and within an easy walk of the cluster of restaurants at San Barnaba (La Bitta, Furatola, 4 Feri, etc), and also Antiche Carampane, La Zucca, Da Fiore, Il Refolo, etc

    I think there is at least one thread already about New Years in Venice here -

    La Zucca (aka alla Zucca
    )Santa Croce, 1762, Venezia 30135, IT

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

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

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

    Ai 4 Feri
    Calle Lunga de San Barnaba, Dorsoduro 2754, Venice, Veneto 30123, IT

    Trattoria La Furatola
    Calle Lunga de San Barnaba, Dorsoduro,2870, Venice, Veneto 30123, IT

    Tonolo Pasticceria
    Calle de San Pantalon, Venice, Veneto 30123, IT

    8 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      Ooh. I don't know why I missed that one. Thanks! Very helpful. And thanks for making me feel better about where we are staying. I do seem to remember visiting the Accademia years ago, and that it was a nice area. I just don't know the city well at all.

      1. re: jen kalb

        If Ca Leon is a B&B, I believe it is located on the northern edge of Santa Croce, across the Grand Canal from Santa Lucia. That area is quieter and more convenient than if one is near the train station in Cannaregio. The Frari, Scuola di San Rocco, the lively Cp Santa Margherita, San Barnaba, Accademia, P. Guggenheim, Dogana, Rialto and much more are a short stroll. And you won’t need the vaporetto.

        With a couple of exceptions, just about every restaurant recommended on this board including those on your list serves traditional or a slight variation of Venetian food; nothing too modern or overly creative. Choices will depend what is opened during the New Years Eve weekend.

        Most places will be open Saturday New Years Eve and offer a special prix fixed menu. The more high profile, the more premium they will add. Check with the restaurant when you make your reservation. And you should make reservation as soon as possible.

        Sunday, New Years Day is a major holiday. What will be open is problematic. Besides the holiday, most places are closed on Sundays. I would check on those places that are open on normal Sundays: Fiaschetteria Toscana and Al Covo are two. A few may open for Sunday lunch only. If places on your list are all closed, can repost and hopefully you’ll get some recommendations.

        Reservation for lunch is usually not necessary but if you find a good place for New Years Day, I would definitely make one.

        1. re: PBSF

          Yes. Ca' Leon is the B&B right on the Grand Canal. I am now very excited about it's location, and our small room that comes with a canal view!

          Thank you very much PBSF. I am going to start calling places in about an hour to make reservations. Maybe since FT and Al Covo are usually open on Sundays for lunch, we should do that, and try a different place for New Years Eve. We will be leaving some time between lunch and dinner Sunday, so really it's just Friday and Saturday when hopefully most other places should be open.

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

          1. re: nyc2italia

            Keep in mind that Sunday is New Years Day, a holiday. Regardless what their regular opening/closing days are, restaurants may decide to closed on that particular day. Just have to try. Friday should be normal and easy.

            New Years Even can be very expensive for high profile places. If you want to just have a good dinner rather paying a premium for the prix fixed special menu, better bets are simple places such as Bancogiro (the loggia and Cp San Giacomo where the place is located will be very lively and great Grand Canal view), Da Rioba, Ostaria Al Garanghelo, Da Alberto, ai Promessi Sposi, Alla Frasca. These places may not wow (very few in Venice will) but are good solid traditional places. Do check on their policy when you are reserving.

            1. re: PBSF

              Thanks again for all the info. I have now spoken with Fiaschetteria Toscana, Alle Testiere, Osteria Da Rioba, Al Covo and ai Pomessi Sposi. Al Testiere will be closed during the entire Christmas-La Beffana holiday. I am sad about that, because I figured that would be my special splurge meal. But I have a reservation for lunch on the 1st at FT, dinner on the 30th at Da Rioba and will probably do Capodanno at Promessi Sposi.

              The price of Capodanno dinner at Fiaschetteria Toscana is €180, €190 at Al Covo, and only €70 at Promessi Sposi for the carne menu and €80 for the pesce menu. I understand the latter is not at the same level as the others 2, but I'd rather go anyway on a non-holiday/non-fixed menu night, so I think it's just fine. And I'll have to return sometime next year to experience Alle Testiere.

              For the lunches, I will fit in what I can maybe in our hotel area or some other area where we are sight seeing, keeping the list with me of the places open (I will call first) that you have all mentioned.

              Trenitalia ticket was booked today! The holiday now seems a reality a midst my crazy work-load. Very much looking forward, even if it is only 2 1/2 days.

              Da Rioba
              Fondamenta de la Misericordia, Cannaregio, 2553, Venice, Veneto 30121, IT

              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: nyc2italia

                If you are looking for a comparable seafood place to Alle Testiere, Antiche Carampane is excellent. A little roomier, more homey and more traditional than Alle Testiere, yet the ingredients are just a pristine and the cooking exact. Price is similar except that their NYEvs prix fixed will be expensive. Closed Sunday though.
                Like you, for New Years Eve, I would not shell out 180euro, etc for either F Toscana or Al Covo where a regular meal will be less than a third of that. If you decide against ai Promessi Sposi, look into Bancogiro. The setting is wonderful even if it will be too cold to eat outside on the loggia. I have not eaten there New Years Eve (actually have never dined out NYEve in Venice, only in our apartment) but one can dined on a normal evening for about 40euro without wine. Since it is run as a bacaro on the ground floor, wines are excellent and very fairly priced. That area will be lively on New Years Eve.
                Since you are having a big lunch at FToscana on New Years Day, consider having a evening picnic by stocking up on some food such as prosciutto, cheese, wine, etc. Shop Saturday as just about all shops will be closed NYDay. There is a slight chance that supermarkets such as Billa, Coop are open for part of New Years Day. Lot of romantic places with benches to sit. Though the holiday is not the best time for restaurants, Venice is magical during the New Year Holiday. Have a great time.

                1. re: PBSF

                  Well, we've decided to take your suggestion PBSF, and do a little picnic of our own instead. I checked with the B&B, and we will have a frigo in the room. We will have nice meals on the 30th and the 1st, but skip the overpriced 31st and just enjoy the energy of the city.

                  This afternoon, friends of mine are heading up to Venice just for the evening to tour the Bacari. I am very tempted to go for some advanced research. But, I will probably have to wait until the end of the month.

                  Thanks for all the suggestions.

                  1. re: nyc2italia

                    Just buying food from the deli on New Years Eve is the best idea. Supermarket Billa on the Zattere has a very good deli department plus everything one needs. Same for their branch on the Strada Nove. Stop by at Tonolo for pastries (probably close by early afternoon for that day). Shop early. And there is enough going on that evening without spending tons of euro for dinner. San Marco will draw a big crowd. Also check out the various bacari on Cp San Giacomo and Cp Bella Vienna (both near campi are near the Rialto market). Cp Santa Margherita will also be lively.

      2. What did you finally do on NYE in Venice ??

        We DID go to the Fiaschetteria Toscana, and despite the quite high price of Euro 170,- we enjoyed the 10 course dinner very much. Here is the menu we had:

        Flute of Spumante Brut Nature Cuvée “60” Casa Caterina with three small canapés (keta caviar, smoked salmon, goose liver pate)

        Prawn Disks with tartare sauce ( this is what they called it. The "Prawn Disks" were 2 deep fried crab cakes)

        Pigeon breast with lard and zucchini on pumpkin sauce and crescione salad

        Scorpion fish soup with croutons (delicious, with so many pieces of fish !!)

        Vegetables filled ravioli with balsamic vinegar sauce (maybe the best ravioli I ever tasted !)

        Sole fillets with spider crab and potato pie with marjoram

        Pink grapefruit and celery salad with orange sauce (just the right dish to prepare for the next course)

        Debonned duck “Valesana” style with grilled polenta

        Pistachios parfait with chocolate heart and pistachio’s sauce

        Panettone (slice served hot, the only way to eat a panettone ...)
        Flute of Champagne

        The waiters were very generous with the spumante at the beginning and with the champagne for the midnight celebrations. The food was excellent, just the duck was a little bit on the dry side. The size of the servings was quite large, and I guess nobody was able to finish the huge pistachio parfait. The ten course dinner started at 8:30 pm, and the ten courses were all served with an exact timing, all tables getting their dishes within a minute.

        After so much spumante the two of us did not want to drink white and red wine, and so we saked Roberto, the head waiter, for some light and dry red wine which could be drinked chilled. He recommended a Verduno Pelaverga 2010. This interesting wine form Piemont indeed fitted the menu, and we were surprised with the low price of Euro 22. The restaurant was fully booked, and the atmosphere was congenial and festive. The head waiter had to turn away quite a lot of people who had no reservation.

        And this is the most interesting observation we made on NYE. Venice was full of Italians who wandered form bacaro to osteria to enoteca and then dropped into one of the many restaurants, which were offering also just the usual a la carte menues and not only expensive fixed price dinners. So, when spending NYE in Venice, I would never think of spending NYE at home with some bread, cheese, prosciutto and vino. The amount of cicchetti offered at the different bacaros, enotecas, osterias etc. was remarkable, and if it had not been that cold I would rather have strolled the streets and just sampled all these wonderful small cicchetti...

        6 Replies
        1. re: Sturmi

          Well, we did do the picnic/bacaro/San Marco sq thing. It was perfect. Stopped into a bunch of Bacaro for pre-NYE Spritz, wine and cicchetti. One favorite was the polpette at a place called Osteria Alla Ciurma which was actually the first Bacaro we had walked into the day we arrived, right off the Rialto Bridge. There we also tried crostino di bacala and one other, but their selection was limited due to the crowds. The wines were numerous and cheap, and Lo Spritz were the best we had. Lots of locals who obviously knew the owner came in on both occasions which made us feel like we had made a good choice. We ended up buying a bottle of wine for 10 euro to take with us on our picnic which we did in a little side street ending in a small canal not too far from Piazza San Marco. It was quiet and private, and a perfect calm before the storm of the spectacle on the Square.

          We had a very nice meal on the 30th at da Rioba. Not amazing, but very good. I loved Cannaregio. We ate the scampi in saor for an appetizer, a tagliatelle with scallops and cipolline. And then a secondo of coda di rombo done ver lightly over a bed of fresh baby spinach with the cippoline in agro dolce and pomodorini secchi. Skipped desert. Drank prosecco, a local red (sorry, I forgot), and Ribolla Gialla.

          Or favorite meal however, was at Ca' d'Oro Alla Vedova. We had passed by on the 30th at 2:15, but the kitchen was about to close, and they were packed, so we had no choice but to make a reservation and come back the next day for lunch. We had the mixed seafood appetizer, and then spaghetti alla bussara and seppia con polenta bianca. House white and red topped it off. When I went to pay, they offered us a grappa. great experience overall.

          We skipped lunch on the 1st at Fiaschetteria Toscana. Honesty, I would have liked to go, but we were kind of tired of Venice. We had seen most areas a few times, and wanted to get back home to Bologna. Sorry Venice. I would definitely go back for the bacaro, lo spritz, and cheap good seafood at places like alla Vedova, but otherwise, it is overcrowded and overpriced.

          Last night in Bologna we had an incredible meal at my favorite trattoria with 3 primi (forgot to order the lasagna so had to add it), liter of wine, 1 secondo, 2 deserts, and only, lots of attitude (the good traditional kind), locals, easy going atmosphere, and amazing food for only 43 Euro total for the whole meal.

          off to the polleria to buy chickens to roast tonight for a dinner party, Need a break from eating out.

          Happy New Year all!

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

          Osteria Alla Ciurma
          Ramo Galeazza, Venice, Veneto 30125, IT

          1. re: nyc2italia


            Which is your favorite trattoria in Bologna? I seem to recall your liking Il Tinello, but I'm not sure that's your favorite.

            1. re: barberinibee

              I figured you would ask. It's one of those that I love because locals go there, and I don't want it to become touristy. But, I'm sure there are other expats who know about it...Trattoria da Vito. Outside the center. Have you been? Totally no frills. Even with rules like, "Don't ask for a second glass." They only give you one for wine and water. But the lasagne bolognese and gramigna con salsiccia are some of the best in the city, as well as the stinco di maiale.

              1. re: nyc2italia

                Thanks for sharing! I promise not to tell anybody.

                I do know where it is (you can actually dig up youtubes of it) and it has been on my radar for some time. I have also heard that one of the best pasta shops in the city is Boutique de Tortellini in via Libia 50/2, so twice the reasons to stop by that neighborhood.

                1. re: barberinibee

                  Just an update on Trattoria da Vito.

                  I finally went and I really disliked it, especially the lasagne bolognese. To me, it was all like diner food.

                  1. re: barberinibee

                    Wow. Sorry. It seems you have had the opportunity to dine at some of the finer restaurants in the area, which I have not, besides Antica Corte Pallavicina. So I am comparing to other simple cheaper places in the center. True, it is not the best I have had, but I always liked experience. Espeically because I was brought there by Bolognesi.

        2. The original comment has been removed