We are in Venice currently.
First day made the mistake of eating lunch randomly, in a tourist trap sort of place with a set menu, opposite the Rialto Mercato Pesce. Not expensive but not good either. Next day went back to Pronto Pesce (connected to Alle Testiere?), which is next to the market, for lunch.
We sat inside, and had a bottle of Prosecco (16 euros), some squid salad (sold by weight, it was €7.80), the mixed fish (€10), 2 * mussel on a sort of tasting spoon with some unidentified green mush and a red currant (maybe €2.50 each?), and 2* langoustine on the same green mush (about the same price?), a slice of cuttlefish risotto (€?), the fish risotto (8 euros), 4 oysters, 6 raw langoustines and a slice of bread with salami (€2?).
Prices are a little high, but the staff don't seem to care about collecting the money. When i went to pay, about 40 minutes after starting to eat, the bill was for €46, but then I said we had 6 langoustines and 4 oysters from outside (the guy said to pay inside). As far as I know, this was supposed to cost €2.50 each, so €25, but they charged us €22 instead. They must have forgotten something else to reach €46, but I don't know what it was.
I am not the world's greatest oyster fan, I tend to have mine with Tabasco and onion, but these seemed very good, unadorned, albeit that unadorned oysters did not tempt me to buy any more. The raw langoustines were also delicious, so we bought more of these. The fish risotto tasted strongly of fish stock and had bits of langoustine in it, quite simple, and we liked it very much. When it was cooked, around 1pm, they just came out and placed disposable plates of it on the counter and people seemed to ust take it (albeit that we asked for a plate).
Other thna that the green mush was not great, cold mussels are never a good idea, and while the raw langoustines were very good, the citrus oil they were resting it in showed no culinary accomplishment.
The fact that the place is essentially a deli is a little off-putting - the squid salad went in the microwave, as did the mixed fish and the cuttlefish risotto. The squid salad was quite pleasant, but not really worth the price, while both green mush items were lss than pleasant. The cuttlefish risotto was tasty also but again the microwave was a little offputting given the price. I would stick to the raw (sold outside) and the fresh risotto if it arrives when you are there and ignore the deli items under the counter, as there were too many misses among the hits.
We ate last night at Trattoria La Favorita. It's in a quiet residential area, about 15 minutes walk from the main strip in Venice Lido (where we are staying). It's an occasion restaurant, not a simple place, people dress up, the water is served in fancy coloured glasses (sorry don't know what these are called), and the couple on the next table were glaring at us for bringing our two children (4 and 9)
We started with the 'Venetian favourites' and 'Selection of raw fish'. Venetian favourites turned out to be fish too.
The raw fish were nice, there were little peeled red prawns, canoce, langoustines and a thinly sliced fish that reminded me of sea bream sashimi. I did feel the langoustines were better at Pronto Pesce, but otherwise this was a nice dish.
I don't remember all the other items, but there was the white horseradish-like stuff that I've seen elsewhere, sardines in sor, and a few others.
My children both had pasta, my son lobster ravioli, which was pretty medicore, and my daughter tagliolini with prawns, which was a large portion and benefited from good stock, and was €13, quite reasonable for the class of restaurant.
My wife and I had the mixed grilled fish for two, this was €50 for two and came with grilled courgette (zucchini) and peperoni. This arrived on a silver platter and was expertly fileted table side by the head waiter using spoon and fork. There was a flat fish, round fish (sorry don't know what this was), langoustine and eel. The fish had a fantastic grilled flavour, perceptibly grilled, but subtle not overpowering like a bbq, perfectly seasoned, however they should have warmed the plates and the result was that the fish was cold before we finished eating. The grilled vegetables were nothing special.
We arrived at the restaurant just about 10pm, and by the time we had finished the fish it was 11pm, and the waiter asked if we wanted coffee, I asked for the dessert menu and he seemed unhappy, so we decided not to try dessert, I think they wanted to go home... The desserts sounded pretty good, there was some sort of souffle on there as well as the inevitable tiramisu. The bill was €155 including 4 * €4 cover charge, 2 antipasto, 2 pasta, the €50 fish for two, €12 for two tiny bottles of juice and the bottle of still water, and €20 for the cheapest prosecco. It said service not included on the bill, haha, we paid €155 by credit card and not a penny more.... Seems like a good place for dinner, and largely immune from tourist crowds due to its location.
Were going to go for dinner tonight at Trattoria Andri, at the bottom of the main side road in Lido, Via Lepanto, but they were full. Wandered back a little, and just down an alley from a sports bar/arcade on the corner we ate. Just a neighbourhood place, had a bowl of clams (simple and tasty), sardines sor with polenta (both nice), langoustine tagliolini (lots of oil quite tasty), clam spaghetti (basically the same as the bowl of clams with added spaghetti), grilled prawns (not great), and a cuttlefish stew in ink (a bit strong for my taste, but not bad) with polenta. Servers were not interested. €65 with bottle of fizzy water and no wine.
Had ice cream at the Gelateria Paolin today, on the north of the Campo Santo Stefano (north of Accademia, in San Marco district), we sat down for ice cream, which had very inflated prices, €11 for a sundae, €3.60 for a cappuccino, €12 for a litre of beer. The ice cream was very much superior, and we spent a relaxed hour sitting there watching the kids playing in the large square. If you just want to try the ice cream, go inside and get take-out - €2 for a double (no singles). One group tried to do this and then sit at the table, which resulted in a very angry confrontation. Sitting down, I think a double was €5.50, if you want to sit at the table, this will give you a better value than the pages of expensive sundaes, and also you can choose your favourite flavours - my wife chose a pear sundae, but this (poached pears) came with vanilla ice cream, which I thought a little dull.
We have an 11:40pm flight home tomorrow (Sunday), so we can fit in lunch and an early dinner. Probably not going to eat fish tomorrow, as there's no fish market. Maybe meat in a bar, not sure where though? Or pizza?
Would like to take some cheese and ham home, but the proscuitto I bought in the supermarket today was very mediocre, and haven't really seen an inspiring cheese shop.
The kids not impressed by culture, so we have not bothered with St Mark's, or the Doge's Palace.
Hideously expensive here really, €110 for water taxi from the airport, €5 for a small plastic cup of beer on the beach. Next time would try and find an apartment near the Rialto Market and buy our own fish and vegetables there and cook it ourselves.
Ok, so I've just figured out having read a recommendation for it elsewhere, that the 'tourist trap' is the restaurant Vini Da Pinto. Recommended in some places, but as I said I'd certainly take my own cooking over theirs. The seafood pizza was good, the spaghetti alla pescatore lacking flavour, the accompanying fried squid unseasoned, the ravioli tasty enough but cheap (I ordered spaghetti bolognese though?), and it came with a sort of schnitzel that was underseasoned.
Just confirms some suggestions that you really need to bring €€€ to Venice, or don't bother....