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Murano, Venice - Sunday Lunch recommendations please

l
loveners Apr 2, 2012 04:59 PM

Hello knowledgeable chowhounds

We'd one your views on a suitable Sunday lunch location in Murano please. (May 2012)

We'll be celebrating our nation's Mothering Sunday so a nice lunch in nice surroundings is called for.

Many thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Loveners
30 days to go!

  1. m
    mikehunt69 May 13, 2012 06:18 PM

    We went to Busa Alle Torre Da Lele today.

    I was not impressed.

    Basically the place is a monument to the arrogance of Lele, the giant owner. He strutted about the place, greeting some of the guests (ignored us however). After a while a woman came in clutching a bass, he held it by the gills and walked around the restaurant, then it slipped outof his hand and it fell on the floor. Then he went out in his rain coat, and we didn't see him again.

    The walls of the place are COVERED in dozens of portraits of him.

    Evidently a lot of people find him charming, but I am afraid I find the suggestion that this is the sort of place local folks might come from a relaxed meal a bit laughable. It was infested with foreign tourists, three tables of English, and an American in earshot. Menu in German (always a warning sign in my experience, unless of course you are in Germany) as well as English, Italian and French.

    They brought bread, for some reason it seemed a little soggy like it had got wet, also a little bruised in places. Rather disconcerting.
    I ordered spider crab, beef carpaccio, langoustine spaghetti, I asked which grilled fish and was told 'the sea bass is very fresh', so had that, and fish ravioli. Also grilled vegetables.

    They didn't seem to care about serving in any particular order, although what we had was an antipasto, two primo and two secondo (for four diners). It just arrived, we ate, ok, fine.

    Also had vino della cassa (Carbenet Franc), it was €10.

    Spider crab was a cold, dressed crab, I assume this is the standard preparation in Venice. More expensive than I'd pay for a dressed crab in England, but it was nice. Shame the lettuce leaves it was served on were still dirty.

    Carpaccio beef was pleasant, albit the dressing showed no finesse. Spaghetti was tasty, but the langoustines were small ones (i.e. cheap) and had almost no meat in them.For the price, not really up to scratch. Fish ravioli was nice.

    The sea bass was absolutely diabolically bad, I would have sent it back in England, but this is Italy, I don't feel confident, and I had already eaten a spider crab and bits of my daughter's spaghetti. I am not sure if they had not gutted it properly, but it was absolutely awful. The grilled vegetables were cold, really not good enough.

    They igored us, as waiters tend to do in restaurants in Italy, which is fine, they aren't expecting a tip, and they aren't going to get one either, eventually we flagged one down for dessert.

    The desserts we had were tiramisu, sticky chocolate cake, Venetian biscuits, and a chocolate pear cake. The chocolate cake was the best, the biscuits a trifle perfunctory, and the tiramisu just reasonable.

    Asked for the bill, it was hand written and came to €120.50 to which they'd added €9.50, which I believe was 'service' but it wasn't explained. However I'd overheard another table say 'that must be service' when they were paying theirs. This was monumental arrogance to just tack this on the bill (as well as the cover charge), and I might have objected but I had drank most of the bottle of vino della cassa (my wife is not a big drinker) and was probably excessively mellow.

    €130 for what we got was a big waste of good euros. You can eat WAY better for the money. The place is basically a monument to the arrogance and self-importance of the strutting owner, who feels very pleased with himself, his restaurant cited in numerous guidebooks.

    I suggest you give it a miss, and eat lunch somewhere else, probably not on Murano, because while it was pleasantly quieter than Venice itself, Murano is nothing more than a tourist trap, just nothing but glass shops.

    Of course you could have a great time, if you both enjoy, and are subject to, the showmanship. One table was treated to a two minute discussion of the risotto on its way to someone else's table. Just a shame the person who ordered it was kept waiting.

    Just understand that the prices are 30% too high for what you get - it's a simple cramped place, with nothing to distinguish its decor, and poor service (not really any different from usual for Venice, but they were not making you feel special) and we were continually jostled by passing waiters.

    I enjoyed my €25 dinner much more (and yes the cost helped) - 3 pizzas eaten while we waited for the alilaguna back to the airport. No regrets about that one..... The €130 lunch? Not something I'd repeat. We could have eaten outstanding food for just a few euros more, so why waste so much money on what we had? Yes some of it was nice, but the overall standard of ingredients was simply not there for the price, even though there were hits among the misses.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mikehunt69
      m
      mikehunt69 May 13, 2012 06:54 PM

      Just reading through some of the positive reviews for this place on Tripadvisor.

      "My husband's shrimp pasta arrived and we actually broke out laughing. These were no ordinary shrimp!! They were HUGE whole cooked prawns on an amazing bed of pasta and sauce. "
      Which is then accompanied by a photo of the same very small langoustines, like the ones they sell in my local supermarket in England (you have to go to the expensive fishmonger to get the large ones) http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Location...

      Just shows how perceptions can differ. The spaghetti WAS tasty, but those are not huge prawns!!!

      Also I should mention the grilled sea bass came with grilled (white) polenta. It was pretty bland, I don't eat a lot of polenta, but the yellow polenta we had the previous night in some random place was way better/

    2. s
      scfinson Apr 2, 2012 05:16 PM

      If you would like to go to Mazzorbo the island connected to Burano. Venissa is set in a vineyard and has fantastic food. Open on Sundays and far from the crowds.

      12 Replies
      1. re: scfinson
        l
        loveners Apr 2, 2012 09:02 PM

        Thanks scfinson - I've got Venissa lined up for another night when we are staying overnight on Burano. It looks fantastic.

        It's still Murano that is drawing blanks so hopefully others will be along with suggestions.

        Thanks for the Venissa tip.

        Lovener1

        1. re: loveners
          o
          Octavian Apr 2, 2012 10:05 PM

          I don't think there's much choice in the way of restaurants on Murano. One Italian online restaurant guide that I've generally found reliable recommends only three: two inexpensive osterie/trattorie and one higher-priced one that might be suitable for a Motherig Sunday lunch: Busa alla Torre da Lele. It's on a campo, has outdoor tables and serves Venetian cuisine.

          1. re: Octavian
            jen kalb Apr 3, 2012 05:56 AM

            Busa alla Torre is very nice and suitable for this type of occasion - casual not too high end, the kind of place the prosperous local folks will come out for a relaxed meal. Nothing much else on Murano - there are other lagoon islands offering a relaxed Sunday meal as well, which you might look into for this event. I will try to post later, or maybe others have suggestions.

            1. re: jen kalb
              jen kalb Apr 3, 2012 02:36 PM

              I have to bite my tongue and note that Michela Scibilia's latest edition reccomends a second restaurant on Murano new to me: B Restaurant, Campiello Pescheria,4, with seating both in their modern dining room and in the campiello, offering a "fresh menu"
              http://maps.google.com/maps/place?rlz=1C1LENN_enUS476&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=B+Ristorante+murano&fb=1&gl=us&hq=B+Ristorante+murano&cid=1331681732914153240&ei=PG57T4eFEqPx0gHl26yRBg&sa=X&oi=local_result&ct=placepage-link&resnum=3&ved=0CFoQ4gkwAg

              Here are a couple on the other islands - of course there is always Locanda Cipriani, but that may be a budget buster
              Il Certosino, on the island of Certosa
              http://www.ristoranteilcertosino.com/

              Da Zangrando, Isola della Vignole
              agriturismo, cooking with their own poultry and vegetables, but perhaps not nice enough for your day

          2. re: loveners
            b
            barberinibee Apr 3, 2012 08:02 AM

            Busa alla Torre da Lele got rave reviews last autumn from a chowhound poster named "guttergourmet" who generally raved about everything he ate in Venice, but cited this place for standout fritto misto and just generally solid cooking. He was traveling as part of a family that included a child.

            1. re: barberinibee
              b
              barberinibee Apr 3, 2012 08:05 AM

              And here is 5-year old review with extensive descriptions of food and ambience, including a possibly discriminatory policy when it comes to tourists

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/387852

              1. re: barberinibee
                jen kalb Apr 3, 2012 02:09 PM

                .the discrimination word is an ugly word, too strong for what Busa alle Torre does - we reported something like this about our visit at Busa alla Torre too - they served one of the rarer seafood items to folks that seemed to be habitues but not to us. they were friendly and it was a solid, tasty meal, and you know what? we understood because we were one-timers. Its a scarce item and probably a rational business choice for them., Im not going to resent it when the service is otherwise welcoming and we have a good meal. Also, they are the only game in town foodwise in Murano, which isnt much, really, a homelier, less impressive version of Venice. The byzantine church (santa Donata, I think) is the main worthwhile attraction there.

                1. re: jen kalb
                  b
                  barberinibee Apr 3, 2012 05:06 PM

                  jen.

                  Those are your feelings and I respect them, but I also respect the feelings of someone who takes the information of discriminatory treatment and decides to go elsewhere, maybe especially on an occasion that is supposed to be a nice day of respect for an honored guest.

                  I live in a town that sees a regular, seasonal tourist trade plus people coming in who have second homes. The local restaurant owners really depend on both the brief, well-heeled visitor trade and the year-round locals to stay alive. Us locals understand that. During the visitor season, we let the visitors have the best of everything. The best seats, the best views, the prettiest fish in the tank and the best service. The people who run those businesses are our neighbors and friends. We help them. One wonders why a chef on an island so small as Murano doesn't have an understanding clientele of locals if they are the only game on the island. (I think I can figure it out.)

                  I sat in an oft-recommended Venetian restaurant in the Dorsoduro several years at lunch and twiddled my thumbs while the chef and others on the wait-staff fawned and cooed over a woman who arrived, dripping in bling and furs. I was finally served my lunch, cold by the time it arrived. The attitude toward first-time diners in more than one oft-praised (excused?) Venetian restaurant I sat in was an appetite killer for me. Even more so if, as the previous poster reported five years ago, the establishment isn't truthful and can't even be bothered to pretend to cover up the insulting lie.

                  Don't worry that talking honestly about this kind of discriminatory treatment will dent the business of this Venetian restaurant or its reputation.

                  1. re: barberinibee
                    jen kalb Apr 3, 2012 06:01 PM

                    I just think some people flip out when you say that word. There is always some sort of differential treatment - if you think the best piece of fish or meat always goes to the one time tourist - well, its unlikely, wherever you go. Frequent visitors or friends of the house will usually get some special perks, not always obviously This restaurant was very competent and friendly, did not seat us in the corner,leave us hanging or rush us out and the servers did not spend all their time chatting up their friends. Overall it was a pleasant civilized experience and the white lie - not insulting lie- we were told was only a small mar Ion the surface of the experience, we reported it here but did not get huffy about it. Now the lie we were told about whether the service charge was included at another place in the same visit - that was an insulting lie. Life is too short,and I view situations like that in Murano as an interesting social phenomena - no skin off .

                    1. re: jen kalb
                      l
                      loveners Apr 3, 2012 11:36 PM

                      Thanks for all the perspectives, Chowhounders are amazing! I think we'll probably go for Busa alla Torre da Lele.

                      I did check out Restaurant B before posting and had emailed them to ask if I could see a menu. I got a pleasant reply (about not needing a booking) but no menu. They do have one but were obviously reluctant to provide me with a menu. I found menu references online so I think have one.

                      I think I'm put off by B's clinical modern interior when Mothering Sunday feels a bit more homely to me. Feels like a more suitable place for an evening birthday party.

                      Thanks everyone for your thoughts, much appreciated.

                      Lovener1

                      1. re: loveners
                        jen kalb Apr 4, 2012 06:06 AM

                        B does have seats out in the piazza, however. good luck and hope we hear back all about your meals!!

              2. re: barberinibee
                guttergourmet Apr 24, 2012 08:53 PM

                Loved Lele the jolly red giant!

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