Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Italy >
Aug 27, 2013 08:47 PM

Guidance requested re Dinner Hour in Venice

I was planning on making some restaurant reservations ahead of time for our trip to Venice. Can anyone give me some guidance for the usual dinner hour? I understand that people tend to eat a little earlier in Venice than in Rome or Florence. I usually like to reserve for 9:00 pm, and I notice that there are some places that have seatings for 7:00 and 9:00. For those places that don't have seatings, I assume 9:00 is okay for Friday and Saturday nights, but what about Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday nights? Is 9:00 too late? If we arrive at that hour, will others tend to be in the middle of or finishing up their meals? If so, I would rather eat a little earlier. Thanks for your help.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If you like to reserve for 9pm, it is not too late but you will find others in the middle or finishing their meal. It is only a problem if you don't feel comfortable unless the dining room is full. For 9pm weekday, there a chance you will be one of the last to finish. It is not just the days of the week but also what month, the weather, the area in Venice and how popular the restaurant is. Venice is an early dinner city because there are so many tourists versus locals and tourists like to eat early.

    10 Replies
    1. re: PBSF

      pbsf - thanks so much for replying. This is for 1 week from now. So for weekday meals, if we prefer to arrive when others are closer to the beginning of their meals, what would be a better time? 8:30? 8:00? And is Sunday night any different from other nights? Would Sunday be even earlier? Thank you.

      1. re: RCF

        pbsf - in addition to my follow-up questions above re Venice, what would be the typical dinner hours for Bologna for Thurs.-Sat.? Thanks for your help.

        1. re: RCF

          Sorry I am not much help for Bologna. I have taken numerous day trips from Venice but rarely stay for dinner. Since Bologna has become a very popular topic, start a new post and you'll probably get some accurate information.

          1. re: PBSF

            Sorry -our postings crossed paths again re Bologna.

          2. re: RCF

            You won't have any problem eating in Bologna at 9pm.

          3. re: RCF

            I understand you concern being the only one left in the dining room at the end of an evening service. If that is very important, my advice is to reserve for the 8:00 to 8:30 service regardless the day of the week. There is no guarantee on the restaurant being busy at 7:30 or dead by 9:30 but if it is any good or in a tourist area, it will probably get busy early and stay busy late. September is summer. warm and still loaded with visitors. Weekends will be busier because Italians who have second homes decend on Venice will need to eat out. The weather tend to be warm and restaurants that have outside seating will be crowded even at 11pm. And if the restaurant is popular and/or small like Alle Testiere, La Zucca, da Alberto etc, outside seating or not, it is will be packed throughout the evening regardless of the day of the week or if it is 7 or 9:30. From my years of dining out, We tend to eat late after 8:30 and if the restaurant have 2 seatings, we always take the second because it is usually more leisurely and the staff is more relax and engaging. For us, nothing is worst than the feeling that we have to vacate a table for later reservations. Early seating at Alle Testiere is a mad house whereas the second seating is a different experience, especially when service is winding down. Same for Vini da Gigio, La Zucca, Antiche Carampane, Al Covo, Anice Stellato and other popular places. Restaurants in popular areas (around San Marco, San Barnaba, Campo San Giacomo di Rialto, Strada Nuova, Santa Margherita, Campo Santa Stefano) will be busier later into the evening.
            Sorry to be so complicated. If the day of the week is the only factor, yes, generally Sunday evening tends wind down earlier, therefore you don't want a 9pm reservation. And 8:00 is better than 7:30 but what is half an hour. Sunday is a popular closing day for many places especially those serving seafood. What places are you considering? I might be able to give a more specific reply.

            1. re: PBSF

              La Bitta (Sat.), Osteria al Cantinon (Sun.), Alla Zucca (Mon.), Trattoria Bar Pontini (Tues.), Osteria - Enoteca Ai Artisti (Wed.)

              For all of these, we want to eat outside, if possible. They were selected in part based on non-fish items (because of my non-fish eating son) and, in certain cases, canal-side dining. I know that 2 or 3 of them have seatings, and we plan on definitely going for the 9:00 seatings, as you suggested. We arrive on Fri., but since we will be jet-lagged, we're just going to find a pizza place in the Dorsoduro area and eat on the early side.

              Since our last postings crossed each other, I will just repeat what I said above, which was that I was hoping you might also be able to guide me re dinner hours in Bologna for Thurs.-Sat.

              1. re: RCF

                For La Bitta and La Zucca, two of the most popular restaurants in Venice, it should still be busy late into the evening, therefore, 9pm reservation should be fine (better than 7pm). Also, La Bitta is located near Cp San Barnaba (there is a Grom), a very busy part of Dorsodoro. Am sure you already know that both La Bitta and La Zucca does not serve seafood and that the food at La Zucca is not very Venetian (it does have some).
                For ai Cantinon and ai Artisti, I would reserve earlier for both (8pm) if you prefer eating in a busy dining room. I know that by 10pm weeknights, ai Artisti gets pretty quiet. After ai Artisti, if your family is still energetic, have a drink outside at the nearby Cp Santa Margherita and on the same Campo is Gelateria del Doge. I have never been to Trattoria Bar Pontini but must have passed it hundreds of times during the day. It is in a very busy part of the city near the main thoroughfare to the train station with lots of activity.
                As for outside seating, La Zucca has few tables outside, nice but no canal view (view of a small bridge). We really like front dining room, much better than the back room.

                1. re: PBSF

                  Thanks so much for the feedback! Very helpful.