Recommendations of restaurants overlooking the Grand Canal in Venice
I am going to Venice in early October to celebrate my 50th birthday and I'd like to find out if the weather is usually nice enough at that time of year to eat dinner outside at 8 pm or so at a restaurant that overlooks the grand canal.
If so, I'd love recommendations of restaurants overlooking the canal that have candlelight or some other kind of light where you can see the canal. It would be a nice if there was also good food and a romantic atmosphere.
I'd also like to know how far in advance you should make reservations.
thanks so much!
Restaurants that have view of the Grand Canal falls into two categories:
1 .Restaurants in luxury hotels that line the lower parts of the Grand Canal. This is the postcard view the Canal onto Santa Maria della Salute, San Giorgio Maggiore and the Giudecca. They have a monopoly of this part of the canal. The setting of these restaurants will probably satisfy your 'candlelight/romantic' criteria. Generally, the food will be pretty good with pampering service. It will be very expensive, probably around 100euro for a 3 course meal before anything else is added. The best is Da Pisis in the Hotel Bauer: very good food, the most romantic terrace among the luxury hotels. The food at the Monaco less so and I never like the Danieli but the view of the rooftop restaurant is spectacular. Have not been to the Gritti which reopened a few months ago after an extensive redo. The Cip Club in the Hotel Cipriani located in the Giudecca has the reverse view back onto San Marco, quite spectacular. They will pick you up in a private water taxi on San Marco and deliver you back afterward.
2. Informal restaurants on the Riva degli Schiavoni, around the Rialto Bridge and just off the Ferrovia that cater to the tourists that don't care about the quality of the food. These are what we label as 'tourist traps'. Not recommended.
Two restaurants with view of the Grand Canal that have good food without the very high price are Pensione Wildner on the Riva degli Schiavoni and Bancogiro on the loggia located on the San Polo side of the Rialto bridge. The Wildner had a cover terrace and postcard view but there is usually a stream of strollers and sometime souvenir sellers going back and forth. Bancogiro shares the loggia with other restaurants with Grand Canal view but no distinguish landmarks, just the shimmering canal, warm lights and periodic harping of a vaporetto; romantic in my book.
Eating outside in early October: no problem for the restaurants in luxury hotels even in a downpour or chilly evenings as they will have cover and huge heaters.
Same for those in the second (tourist trap) category but much less comfortable. Pension Widener is covered anyway. No outside table at Bancogiro if it rains which is happens often enough in October; less chancy in early.
How far in advance to reserve; since my experience in luxury hotel dining is limited, can't be definite. My feeling is that if you are keen on a particular place for a special date, reserve once you decide. The terraces of the hotel restaurants are quite large. As for a restaurant such as Bancogiro, a few days before should be fine.
Hope the above gives a good picture of Grand Canal dining in Venice and how to celebrate your birthday.
you've got fantastic advice from PBSF - I'll just add that Bancogiro is pretty fabulous and many people go there to celebrate milestones. You might consider doing a sort of crawl where you hit some of the great bars along the canal, then have dinner elsewhere.