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Mar 4, 2013 02:05 AM

Sunday (birthday) lunch in Venice - advice sought

I'm heading off to Venice next month to celebrate my mother's 75th birthday. I want to take her somewhere special for lunch on the actual day – good honest food rather than haute cuisine, and a view would be nice, but not essential.

Normally I'd think of taking her somewhere like Corte Sconta or Alle Testiere, but there are two problems.

1) The birthday falls on a Sunday, when a lot of restaurants (including the two mentioned above) are closed.

2) My nephew (aged 6) is allergic to both seafood and eggs, so that rules out both seafood specialty restaurants and pasta places.

Any ideas?

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  1. Al Covo perhaps?
    note, there are not really pasta restaurants per se in Venice.
    and in italy (as here) not all pasta has eggs.

    1. If your trip to Venice is toward the end of April, there is a good chance that one can dine outside. Except for the dining rooms of the luxury hotels or those geared toward picture taking tourists, not many have view of the Grand Canal. Open Sunday lunch:
      Anice Stellato with a few outside tables next to a side canal.
      Al Covo has tables on a small campo.
      Bancogiro, with tables on the loggia, has a view of the Grand Canal near the Rialto.
      Vini da Gigio, no outside seating.

      1. Al Covo, already suggested, definitely has both meat and fish and is open on Sunday. I like it much better than the two you mention, any day of the week. Spaghetti and bigoli, two common pasta shapes in Venice, contain no eggs. Tagliatelle, tagliolini, lasagne, ravioli are likely to be made with egg dough. Just ask, but it's a non-issue.

        4 Replies
        1. re: mbfant

          Bigoli without eggs Maureen? Hmmm. Perhaps in Venice proper (am not sure because I don't spend much time there anymore), but perhaps not. Certainly no eggs in the commercially dried product. But in fresh bigoli, definitely eggs used in the rest of the Veneto and Lombardia and Friuli. That is a fact.

          1. re: allende

            Ive certainly bigoli more frequently outside of Venice than in the city - in fact the "bigoli" ive had in Venice usually has looked like spaghetti and I have searched in vain there a couple of times for a bigoli-maker.

            Its variable in the grain used and probably also in whether eggs are used, - its originially a cucina povera dish. I will take a look at my venetian cookbooks and see whether those recipes have eggs.

            1. re: allende

              Yes, if fresh, bigoli may be made from grano tenero and contain duck or hen eggs, but most bigoli on the market are made with grano duro, usually whole wheat, and water. Today the word is practically synonymous with whole-wheat spaghetti. From Encyclopedia of Pasta: Generally whole- wheat flour made from durum wheat, but sometimes soft-wheat flour, water, and salt, and often duck or hen eggs.

              1. re: mbfant

                Sorry to disagree with you Maureen.

                You said: "Today the word is practically synonymous with whole-wheat spaghetti." I don't believe that is correct.

                Bigoli is bigoli; in most places it is not synonymous with whole-wheat spaghetti. More and more, bigoli is being made with soft-wheat flour and eggs, regular eggs. If you go to country trattorie in the Veneto and Lombardia, this what is now the norm. In the past it was not so; it was mostly made with duck eggs, particularly around Mantova.

                To the OP. Be very careful about your nephew's allergy, particularly if he is subject to anaphylactic shock by eating eggs. A lot of fresh pasta, in Venice, and out, is made with whole eggs. Don't let anyone tell you differently.

          2. I second everyone's advice about Al Covo. It's definitely birthday party special.

            I'm not so sure about dining outside in April. It can be iffy, and if your mother is anything like mine, she may get chilly if the sun goes down.

            A few other places to consider, open on Sunday:
            Al Vecio Fritolin: No view, but warn and elegant dining room and delicious food.

            Vini da Gigio - Again, no view, but great for Sunday lunch.

            If you feel like doing something a bit special, like heading out on the lagoon you might consider Gatto Nero on Burano.

            Hope this helps a bit!


            3 Replies
            1. re: minchilli

              If the Lagoon is an option, wondering if there are any recent reports on Venissa? their cusine is not limited to seafood.

              1. re: jen kalb

                I've heard good things about Venissa, but also some quite bad stuff about poor service and snootiness. Although the setting sounds magical, so might go some way towards atoning for that...

                1. re: NatashaH

                  yeah, I also think that in April there will not be much doing out there on Mazzorbo. - it may be chilly We had a couple of favorable reports here, but not in a while, and it may not be living up to its original promise (pretty much all of the low ratings on TA are local italians, which does not bode well for food quality). Just hoped to get some reliable info to surface!