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Venice-Restaurants recommendations-Ombra et Cichetti

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Rialto area

My preferred small lunch places 

Wine bars (ombra et cichetti)

Giacomo Flaschi recommendations

As soon as you arrive in Venice buy the booklet "Osterie e Dintorni" by Michela Scibilia, a gastronome who cruised all over her beloved Venice looking for the best eat cafés and restaurants. Her judgment is excellent , I would even say infallible. Some have been tried out by me and by friends. 

Some of the following addresses might be known by some of you, others
not. Anyway, here a few good price/quality recommendations in Venice.

In the Rialto area
Ae Do Spade, 860 Calle do Spade, San Polo tel 0415210574
Very old “osteria” (likely 15th century), it kept its entire charm, despite the proximity of the Rialto and the hordes of tourists around. It seems touristy but in reality it's much more patronized by Venetians. You can taste here the famous “tramezzini”, small sandwiches of white or whole wheat bread, also called “paperini”. Beware, some are very spicy! The place offers also a touristy menu, with simple but well prepared plats, very good charcuterie. Excellent table service.

AL Vecio Fritoin, 2262, Calle della Regina, Santa Croce tel 0415222881
Pretence less cuisine, but fresh. Local specialities, right of the market, excellent grilled fish and very reasonable prices. Only plats du jour. The welcoming is very friendly and the place is mostly frequented by Venetians.

Ristorante Vivaldi, 1457Calle della Madonnetta, San Polo tel 0415238185.
If you want to savour local colour and see how the Venetians really eat, try this trattoria, which has some of the most reasonable prices in this expensive city.
Honest small restaurant run by a sympathetic and young team. The dining room is warm and convivial, very friendly staff. A handsome L-shaped wood bar, dark wood wainscoting, antique clocks, knick-knacks, and an array of wine bottles create the ambience of a cosy wine bar that's trendy without being coy. Wine is available by the bottle, carafe, or glass. (The house white goes down easily.). Try the tagliolini Vivaldi, black noodles--subtly flavoured with cuttlefish ink--are tossed with chunks of tomato, fish, shrimp, and chopped parsley. For a secondo (main course), the baccalà is worth trying (creamed salt cod with polenta). There's a modest coperto or cover charge, tipping is extra. It is select but without pretension, and long live its sweet prices! A good stop during a walk.

Poste Vecie, 1608, Campo delle Beccarie, Rialto Pescheria, San Polo, tel 041721822
Another one, which claims to be the “oldest” trattoria in Venice! In the 1500s there was already a tavern here, where the Venetian mail carriers sorted letters and missives over a glass of wine, but one thing is sure, if you want a table at night, book in advance!! Its décor is elegant and convivial at the same time (only Venetians can perform that), its open fire and wainscoted walls covered with paintings.
Cuisine here is synonym of fish but is very refined and the cooking calls up the tradition of Venice. The pasta is strictly homemade and fresh fish is provided every day from the Rialto fish market. Recommend the bisato in umido con polenta (stewed eel with "polenta" which is a typical corn-meal mush) and the fritto de moecche (fried tiny crabs), not to forget the real Venetian fegato alla Veneziana (liver in Venetian way).House wines are Italian white Tokay and red Merlot along with an interesting wine list.In spring and summer you can eat open air under the arbours in the garden.   

Alla Madonna, 594, Calle della Madonna, San Polo tel 0415223824
Traditional restaurant, having a good reputation in town, so you will not find only “well guided” tourists. Although too close to the Rialto Bridge not to be discovered by visitors, the Madonna is no tourist trap. The dining room has no particular charm, but if you want to savour local colour and see how the Venetians really eat, try this trattoria, which has some of the most reasonable prices in this expensive city. The cuisine is very correct, the fish is fresh–taste the fish soup and excellent seafood risotto-, boiled granseola and seafood salads can be followed by a hearty fish soup with croutons, or deep-fried eel for the more adventurous. Grilled vegetables, meat ravioli, fishless pastas, and a simple grilled beef fillet al sangue (rare) are all welcome diversions. The service is courteous, which is always a great satisfaction.

Restaurant recommendations in the Santo Stefano, La Fenice area:

I Morozi, 2801 Campo Stefano, San Marc tel 0415209003
A new restaurant on the sumptuous Campo Santo Stefano: I Morozi, which means "the lovers" in Venetian dialect. 
This address is quite chic and expensive but to have a fine diner outside on a superb terrace, lit by candles and old street lamps (soo romantic) don't be too stingy. At night it is absolutely like a fairy tale, an ideal place for the morozi. Cuisine is excellent, composed by traditional plats reinvented with imagination, very attentive staff. Let's hope it will last..... Some guides list as a gay place but I didn't see any particular, except that the decoration was done with great taste. 

Trattoria da Mario, 2610 Fondamenta dalla Malvasia, San Marco tel 01415285968
Small familial trattoria, good for a lunch ate noon for the Venetians working in the neighbourhood, where you can eat at very inexpensive price some simple plats like pastas tomato sauce, a small grilled fish served with a salad of boiled potatoes. 
It's not exactly high gastronomy, but the owner, a small fatty woman with her hand on her heart, is some personage, cook, artist and philosopher. All at the same time. A pity she speaks only Italian.....but "I understand everything!! She claims". 

Taverna La Fenice, Campiello Della Fenice 1938 tel 0415223856
The name tavern is much too discrete for this very famous restaurant, located near the now destroyed Fenice. Everything here is elegant, like the open-air terrace and antique furnishings, up to the fountains in the interior courtyard. . Be sure to se a lot of clients, not always eaters but visitors, artists, actors or singers who, since 1907, have been frequenting this restaurant. Mastroianni dined here and famous opera singers like Katia Ricciarelli still do. Almost exclusively Venetian cuisine with homemade like the famous tagliolini al nero di seppia e polpa di granchio (squid ink tagliolini with crab meat). Standard menu including a main course. 

Trattoria Da Bruno Calle Del Paradiso 5731, San Marco tel 522 1480. (A contribution by P.S. and wife from Boston)
Excellent trattoria, easy to find, sort of between San Marco and the Rialto Bridge. Menus in many languages. Quiet and small. Overall rating A+ Very nice waitstaff. One of the few occasions that we were made to feel at home by an exuberant waiter. We had Tagliatele of the Doge, a delicious eggnoodle with a creamy seafood sauce (A), Fishermans mussels appetizer (A++) that was perhaps the best mussels we've ever had. Living in Boston, we are pretty hard to impress. We were not only impressed, we were blown away. We also had the "Fish soup" which was not a soup, but a stew. (A). They have also menus (an experience by Ph.S. and wife from Boston)(review with the courtesy of Phil. of Boston)


Lunch places

"Alla Zucca", Santa Croce 1762, Ponte del Megio, tel 014/5241570, closed on Sunday. 
Nouvelle cuisine, with a lot of vegetables, convivial atmosphere. Since a lot of Venetians come here, it is better to reserve.

Ai Promessi Sposi", Cannaregio 4367, calle del'Oca tel 041/5228609. Closed on Wednesday. Very popular with the Venetians, regional kitchen and a lot of "cichetti" ("small glasses")

Brodo di Guiggiole", Santa Croce 158, fondamento Minotto, tel 041/5242486. More expensive as the previous one, but with the decor of a real restaurant and more refined dishes. A lot of professors of the nearby architecture faculty come here for lunch.

Arca, Dorsoduro 3757, San Pantalon-Venezia tel 0415242236 fax 0412448581 For a good pasta or pizza, in a typical Venetian trattoria absolutely not touristy and where we had lunch.

Ristorante-Pizzeria al Profeta, calla Lunga San Barnaba, Dorsoduro 2671-Venezia tel 5237466. Closed Sunday.
Quite sympathetic cadre. Apparent beams, old paintings and ambience" couples". Classic and copious dishes, tagliatelli, pizzas and excellent desserts.  

Osteria alla Pergola, Cannaregio 3318 a, fondamenta della Sensa
tel 041/720198, closed on Saturdays.

In one of the more popular, authentic zones in venice, far from the madding crowd, this place is barley known by tourist. Calm, quiet, Venetian 100 %. , not far from the Ghetto. An old, waterside bacaro, which serves an extremely reasonable tourist menu. 

Trattoria da Silvo,  San Pantalon, Dorsoduro 3818-3748 tel 5205833
A dream decor summer in a magnificent interior courtyard. Very affordable prices, always packed. Reserve in advance (especially on week-ends). The pizzas copious and delicious!

Dolce Vita,  campo Santa Margharita, Dorsoduro 2894 tel 5231115.
Closed on Monday except in the summer. Restaurant, pizzeria and pub. A great choice in beers. You compose your pizzas yourself. very origibnal. Same for the salads. Quick and smiling service. sweet prices.

L'Incontro, campô Santa Margherita Dorsoduro 3062 A tel 5222404. Closed Monday. Specialties of Sardinia. Very sympathetic ambience.

Pizzeria Trattoria al Oche,  calle del tintor, Santa Croce 1552 tel 5241161. Closed Monday.
For the youth. Always packed with Italians and very animated. It is reputed so a lot of people don't hesitate to stand in line. Better come early or reserve. A garden for the summer. Delicious salads and a huge choice in pizzas (60). Quick service.

Osteria ai Assassini, rio dei Assassini San Marco 3695. tel 5287986 Closed Sunday and August.
Don't worry, only the prices are murdered here ;-)Rustic decor. Place with a certain cachet. Taste the "pasta "of the day  and choose what you want on your pasta at the bar. No credit cards and preferable to reserve ion week-ends. (recomm. by my friend)  

Trattoria al Gazettino, calle della Acque, San Marco 4791/92 or 4997 tel 5223314. Closed Monday.
Difficult to find. Near to Piazza San Marco. Good local specialties and impeccable service.  

Bistrot de Venise, calle dei Fabbri, San Marco, 4685 tel 5236651 fax 5200431. Open 9.30-14.00. Closed on Tuesday. Only for lunch.
Local and French cuisine. You can even have “French crepes”. Vast choice of pizzas. Baguettes and “cichetti” typically Venetian. You have a piano inside on which you can play if you like. Used to be a good quality/price ratio but it tends a bit to look like an eat factory now. When you want to do too much you end up doing nothing good. A pity.

"Da Carla", San Marco 1535, corte Contarina tel 041/5237855, closed Sunday . 
Hidden by a sottoportego, just behind piazza San Marco, a place where tourists and Venetians come. Decor and cuisine are very simple, but radiate the "venezianità" of the female owner. 

The best ice-creams

Al Todaro, piazza san Marco. Just in front of the Doge palace. You will not want to eat any other ice creams after having tasted these. No comment J

Caffe Lavena, piazza San Marco, San Marco 133/134. Opposite the café Florian. Very, very expensive if you sit down on the terrace (warning!), but at the counter good ice creams for quite sweet prices. Sitting on Piazza San Marco is an adventure for billionaires.

Il Doge, campo San Margherita, Dorsoduro 3058 A. All house made and sweet prices. Excellent place for tasting.

Millevoglie, salizzada San Rocco, San Polo 3033. Just behind the FRARI church. According to my Venetian friend,  the best ice creams of Venice!!  Great choice in perfumes. Is worth a detour .

Giacomo Flaschi recommendations

Venetian restaurants are not particularly reputed but Giacomo Flaschi
has his ideas about a few personal addresses. He is 100 % Venetian and
contacted me through mail after having read the Venice pages on my web
site. "What you write about my town is all true and not true, Venice
is a city you cannot define. But I like the way you show Venice in all
its glory and decay and I offer you my help to give you me better
hotel and restaurant addresses. Tell your folks that I apologize fir
the rip-offs they are victim of but unfortunately our modern society
is only interested in money. I flee Venice in the summer, since I
cannot endure the constant exploitation of our wonderful churches,
monuments and streets. Come and visit us in the fall, winter or early
spring, yours truly Giacomo Flaschi".
Now that's what I call an honest human and helpful personality. Let's
all take profit from its generosity

If there was only one to recommend, it would be this one:
Lucia e Michele, Calle della Testa tel 0415237691 where you can savour
tasty Venetian food served by a waiter, big opera fan, in a
sympathetic cadre.  

Unfortunately highly recommended by the "New York Herald Tribune":
Fiore, calle delle Botteghe 3461 tel 0145235310 is flooded lately by
American connoisseurs reading the gastronome pages of the N.Y.Herald
Tribune. But the cuisine stays "d'attaca'. Hurry before it becomes a

A dive in the "real Venice" is where the inhabitants of the area are
gathered around a good table. 
Tre Spiedi da Bes, at Calle San Cancian tel 0415208035 is such a
place. Menus are entirely depending on the arrivals on the daily
Rialto market.

Inevitable, everlasting, unequalled, maybe too famous:
Despite the tourists and the curious,
Harry's Bar, Calle Vallaresso
tel 0415285777 stays an unavoidable mythic place to drink a "bellini"
(unique cocktail of peach alcohol and spumante) or have a regal of
refined food. But very expensive!

Ombra et Cichetti (Wine bars)

Venice has a lot of places called "Ombra et Cichetti" which means "a glass of wine and snacks". Here are three in the Rialto area. 

All' Arco, 436 Calle do Mori, San Polo Tel 0415205666
This is an "osteria" (small restaurant, bistro, eatery) for amateurs of authenticity. But it seems to attract English-speaking people. You can taste an "ombra" (a glass of wine) accompanied by "cichetti" (snacks usually served in bars). Purely traditional food like veal rumen or black pudding. I never found the toilets, I doubt there is one. You find also vegetarian pizza Prices are modest, food reasonable but don't expect cordon bleu. 

Antico Dolo, 778 Calle Ruga Vecchia, San Polo tel 0415226546
This miniscule "bacaro" (wine bar), exists since 130 years! Always packed, but don't miss the t-entrance, it is so small. You are warned. It's like a sardine can. But the dish, wine and ambience are worth it. You can nibble on some "cichetti" standing at the counter, with a good glass of wine, or sit at a small table (book please!!) and taste the specialty of the house: tripe! In Italian, tripa rissa, it offers an enticing counter covered with bruschette, canapés with vegetables, polenta e bacalà. One can eat maltagliati (oddly shaped pasta) with clams and radicchio trevigiano.

Cantina do Mori, 429, Calle dei Do Mori, San Polo tel 0415225401
In business since 1462, this tiny bacaro has an extraordinary selection of wines available, many of them difficult to find elsewhere in Italy. Paradise of the "cichetti " and other Venetian dishes and a rather indulgent ham, cheese & truffle sandwich.." the only problem is to choose because everything is delicious. You will discover the "francobolli (postage stamps), which are in fact very small sandwiches, super stuffed and delicious. The décor of old, brass cooking pots hanging from the ceiling is very convivial but beware: no way to sit down, no tables, you nibble and drink standing. Closed Sunday, and Wednesday afternoon.
For more about Venice and its recommendations, log on my web site. 

Copyright © Giacomo Flaschi