“There are bars that have invented famous cocktails,” writes Jay Rayner in The Guardian, and there are restaurants that have invented famous dishes. But there are a “very few places that have done both,” and Harry’s Bar, opened by Giuseppe Cipriani in 1931 on the St Mark’s bay waterfront, “is one of them.” An Italian heritage site since 2001, Harry’s Bar is a monument visited in search of the movie stars and playboys who made it their HQ. “Leave the bar below and try lunching or dining in the restaurant upstairs,” advises the Louis Vuitton Guide.
“Harry’s Bar is now the anchor to a global brand,” writes Rayner, all “positioned around the Cipriani name.” There are three outlets in New York and Buenos Aires and another in Venice, Harry’s Dolci. Some people go once and say it’s just a tourist trap, says author Jan Morris, “but if you look you soon realise that it is full of regulars who go there every week or every day.”
And there’s more, on the peaceful island of Torcello. Locanda Cipriani is also still owned by the family -- today the third generation “oversees the six-room inn and restaurant where Ernest Hemingway and Truman Capote once stayed,” writes Jackie DeGiorgio at Food Republic. “This is the place to stick to Venetian classics,” says food writer Elizabeth Minchelli on her blog. “Moeche (soft shelled crabs) if they are in season … small, baby artichokes grown on the nearby island of San Erasmus are gently sautéed with wild mint … all of their seafood pastas and risottos are pitch perfect. And I have to say that the cannochie (a type of local crayfish) were the best I’ve ever had.”
Sign up for Guidebook's weekly collection of fresh stories and useful news about Venice for travelers. It’s free.