Where to Eat
Whether you’re seeking an over-the-top meal with a view of the lagoon, seafood tagliatelle at a low-key trattoria, or Venetian cicheti (tapas), these restaurants turn out the city’s best dishes.
The 22 seats at the retro bistro Osteria Alle Testiere are among Venice’s most difficult to book. Sommelier Luca Di Vita presides over the tiny salotto, outfitted with an antique marble-topped bar, where he advises patrons on how to pair the best Veneto whites. Piatti del giorno might include sautéed John Dory with lemon and orange, sprinkled with tarragon, and Luca’s homemade ginger-and-vanilla gelato.
Only those in the know will find their way to Antiche Carampane, hidden within a maze of winding alleys. Over the past couple of years the portions have become less generous, but antipasti such as sour eggplant and creamed codfish are among the best in town.
At Boccadoro, as much attention is paid to the décor as to the food: the sleek dining room has steel-blue walls and photos of Venetian landscapes by local photographer Roberta Riccio. Chef Luciano Orlandi serves regional dishes such as handmade basil tagliatelle with grilled tuna, tomatoes, and capers.
Run by Damiano Martin, son of the owners of Da Fiore restaurant, the canalside Il Refolo, with its 25 candlelit outdoor tables, is the perfect setting for sampling Martin’s savory pizzas. Try the prosciutto crudo, mozzarella, and green-fig pie, available seasonally.
If you’re planning a picnic by the lagoon, stock up on provisions at the recently opened Pronto Pesce Pronto. The delicatessen specializes in seafood to go: spiced couscous with mussels and eggplant, oyster platters, and swordfish croquettes.
Worth the Splurge
The best tables at the barrel-vaulted Da Fiore are on the outdoor balcony overlooking the canal. Just be sure to book these well in advance. Chef Mara Martin’s deceptively simple fare is the main draw here, from plates of deep-fried calamari, scampi, and zucchini to a dessert of pineapple soup with mint and fresh berries.
Chef Corrado Fasolato, at the Michelin-starred Met Restaurant at the Hotel Metropole, uses fresh regional ingredients for his innovative dishes such as a delicious pear-and–sheep-ricotta mousse with raspberry gelée and red-wine sorbet.